Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ah, Divine Divinity!

Christmas Musical 2010 004

I must confess, this time of year all I want to do is bake! I'm not afraid to tackle "the impossible", to me nothing is impossible! I'm not saying EVERYTHING I bake or cook comes out as cuisine refinement, I just don't let those trivialities stand in my way. Take yesterday for an instance, if you could have been a fly on the wall in my kitchen, you would have thought I was cooking for a show named Catastrophe Kitchen, or maybe, Cooking Catastrophe! I was making divinity. Now I feel I must give myself some justification here, I have only made it once before. Yep, just once. I believe that the lively lips of several ladies I know has kept me in fear of ever being able to make a good batch of divinity. I hear the horror stories ranging from "it just won't stick", "you can't make divinity on a cloudy or rainy day", to "I overcooked it." Well yesterday I conquered my fear! That's right, I charged into my kitchen like Wonderwoman (minus the outfit) and got my baking on. Now, I decided to make this divinity for my husbands office employees. Yes, they were to be the ginuea pigs. I searched through my lofty recipe box and found that secret of secret recipes, yep, the one I copied from the church cookbook a decade ago! You must stay with me here! There is NO deviating from the sacred divinity recipe! Once you get a tried and true one, stick with it! Mine was tried and true from that sweet little church lady. I decided since I was making a vast amount of this culinary confection, I would triple the recipe. I gathered all of my ingredients and pre-measured each one into seperate bowls. I followed the directions and used the candy thermometer as a back-up precautionary method. This little gadget really is a handy tool and in my book, essential if you are making candy over the stovetop. Now, is where you must use your inner visionary skills and imagine you are the fly on the wall in my kitchen.
The candy has started boiling, I am eagerly awaiting for the temperature to reach 245 degrees, which it seems in no hurry to do. I have my handy candy thermometer in my syrup as it is steadily boiling. I also have the cup of water for the hard ball testing, which I do several times. Now, I do not recommend tasting the syrup, for not only does it scold your mouth, but also will temporarily glue your teeth shut! Yes, this happened to clumsy little ol me! When I tried to walk away from the boiling candy pot, I also realized I was glued to the counter by my shirt. In my haste to unstick myself I knocked over the candy thermometer onto my hand, which I might say burned like the dickens! So, here I am teeth glue shut, stuck to the counter with a nasty burn on my hand. So, I did what any self-dignified Southern lady would do....I cried! I kept telling myself, "This is why I don't make divinity!" It is dangerous! Then, God's sweet voice came into my thoughts and told me not to give up. I trudge on, and to make a rather long story somewhat short, It turned out to be some of the best divinity I ever have had!

What did I take with me from all this you might be asking. Well, in one afternoon's cooking experience I was reminded of how we may go through what seems a disasterous experience at the time, but if we perservere and refuse to give up, we will reap the rewards. It might even hurt. I love how God opens little windows for us to peer through, He taught me such a valuable lesson that day.

I even am going to pass along this Devine Divinity recipe and will pray that your cooking experience will be far less catastrophic than mine was!
Christmas Musical 2010 003
Devine Devinity

4 cups Sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
3/4 cup Water
3 egg whites
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 cups. chopped Pecans (You can toast if you like)

* Cook sugar, syrup and water in a broiler over medium heat. Stir until clear. Cook without stirring until mixture forms a hard ball when dropped in cold water, or if using a candy thermometer, it reaches 245 degrees. Beat egg whites until they are a soft stiff consistency. pour hot syrup mixture into egg whites while beating at high speed. Be careful, mixture is scalding hot! Beat until mixture is stiff. Stir vanilla and pecans into candy. Drop by teaspoons onto waxed paper.

I tripled this recipe, which I was made to fear I couldn't do! Don't be afraid to make divinity, if I can do it so can you!

Praise is God's plan for making our character more like his
.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It is the most wonderful time of the year! This is the time to celebrate our Savior, Jesus Christ's, birth! I am a Christian and Christmas is VERY special to us. Most Americans easily are raptured up into the shopping frenzy, trying to purchase their holiday gifts and can easily loose site of the TRUE meaning of this special holiday. I must admit, I have fallen into this trap before. This year, I am making every effort for our family to focus on Christmas's significance. My favorite story to read our children is the real story of Christmas, that of Jesus's birth. I have often pondered, as a mother myself, what it must have been like to be Mary. A virgin. To have an angel come to tell her that she would give birth to the son of God! Can you imagine?! How timid and afraid she must have felt at first, especially since she was to marry Joseph. But what faith and perserverence she had! Wow! If you are a mother reading this, can you imagine walking in Mary's shoes? What if this was you, how would you respond? What an honor to be chosen to be the one woman in all the world to carry the child who would one day save the entire nation! I wonder at what went though her mind. She had to be a strong woman, we know that. She had to have a pure heart that was full of so much love, but most of all, she had to have trust in our Lord that all would work out according to His will. In other words, she was in a sense going on blind faith. Isn't that what we do today as Christians; trust in Him no matter where it takes us? We have the reassurance that He has a greater plan, one we cannot possibly see, but know that all be for the greater good.
This Christmas, as you prepare for your holiday traditions, stop and take a moment of reflection, thanking the Lord for sending His son into our world and saving us from it's stony grip.

I couldn't possibly leave you all without a recipe, now could I?! If you have been like me, in a whirlwind of frenzy, then you too have had a challenge making sure your family has a great meal every night. It has been so cold here in the South lately that I have been making a plethora of soups and sandwiches, chili and casseroles! Good comfort food! But, it doesn't have to be murder to your waistline! Here is a recipe that I adapted from the Abs Diet. Of course I had to make it my own by giving it a few tweaks! This sandwich has become a favorite of my hubby! It really doesn't take too long and your tastebuds will reap the rewards!


b-birthday 002
Meatball Sandwich
For the Meatballs:
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sleeve whole wheat crackers, crushed really well
1 tbs. protein powder
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

* Mix together beef and next seven ingredients. (The salt and pepper are for your taste, seasoning with the amount you like). Roll beef mixture into balls. In a saucepan over med heat, heat the olive oil, careful not to burn it. You may need more oil as you continue to cook the meatballs. This depends on your saucepan. Place the meatballs into the pan and cook, rolling onto all sides, til brown and done. You may have to open the meatball to check for doness, but most of the time you can tell. Drain onto a plate covered by some paper towels.

In the meantime.....

For the Sauce:

2 cans basil, garlic and oregano tomato sauce (I use Hunt's)
1 can tomato paste
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning ( I use McCormick's-in the grinder)
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar

* Heat all the above ingredients in a sauce pan over med-high heat. Place the meatballs in the sauce and cook for about 10 minutes, or until heated thouroughly.

For the Sandwich:

4 whole wheat hoagies
mozarella cheese, shredded
Meatballs in sauce

* To assemble, warm the hoagie (microwave works wonders here), spoon the meatballs and some of the sauce onto the hoagie and sprinkle with the mozarella cheese. Serve with a salad. Yum!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roasted Bone-in Pork Loin Tenderloin w/ Whipped Citrus Sweet Potatoes

Yummmmm....it is that time of year again! Festivities galore and delicacies sure to delight your tummy! This is the time of year that I get excited and afraid at the same time. I'm excited because the holiday season officially kicks off and afraid of what can happen to my waistline if my eyes become bigger than my stomach! Say la vie! Many of you may be traveling to fellowship with family or be experiencing the frenzy of preparing your home for guests. Whichever it may be, I hope and pray each of you have a truly blessed and festive Thanksgiving! If you are in a pinch deciding what to serve those guest and family members here is a delicious Roasted Pork Tenderloin with the bone in. For a great side, try the Whipped Citrus Sweet Potatoes. J'espère que vous apprécierez! (I do hope you enjoy!)

010

Roasted Pork Tenderloin w/Bone In

4-6 lbs. cut Pork Tenderloin w/bone in (You should have the butcher cut the pork according to the ribs to determine how much you need, so if you are serving 4 people, have him cut four ribs.)

1 sweet onion, diced
1 cup baby portabello mushrooms, diced
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp. olive oil

2 1/2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. white balsmic vinegar
1 tbsp. white cooking wine
*Both of these can be found in with the vinegar in your grocer.
1 tbsp. Italian Herbs ( I used McCormick Italian Herbs)
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
goat cheese with herbs
Cooking twine

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

First you want to wash your meat. Then cut off any fat on the top of the pork. You should then have the exposed tenderloin and "chops". Make a slit through the tenderloin part of the pork. My slit should have been deeper and more of a downward angle. Pay attention where you cut, unlike myself who had a cranky 6 yr. old expressing he was STARVING and couldn't possibly wait a second longer for food.

001
002

Season the meat with 1/2 tbsp. of the salt and pepper. Sprinkle with some of the Italian herbs. I just used the grinder that the herbs come in and liberally spread it over the pork.

Next, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over med-high heat. Saute the onions, mushrooms and garlic until tender. Remove and drain. Set aside.
003

In a seperate bowl, mix together 1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar, Italian herbs and both vinegars. Using the same saucepan for you onion mixture and medium heat, pour the brown sugar mixture into the saucepan. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally to keep from burning. It will still be thin. 004
Add the onion mixture to the brown sugar mixture. Cook for 3 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.
005

Remove the onion/brown sugar reduction. Now the fun part! Spread liberally the goat cheese into the pork where you made your slit. Spoon the onion reduction over the goat cheese. Close the pork back up and wrap the twine around it and tie it to keep from opening. Take the remaining brown sugar and any leftover "bits" of the onion reduction and spread generously over the pork, rubbing even the boned areas. Grind some more Italian herbs over it and pop that baby into the oven!
006
007

Cook for about 1 hr and 30 minutes. The pork will be juicy and tender. Don't forget to remove the twine before serving! For the side here are the Citrus Sweet Potatoes:

Whipped Citrus Sweet Potatoes:

3 Sweet potatoes, cooked til tender and peeled. (Microwave or oven, your choice)
1 1/2 tbsp. orange juice (pulp or no pulp, your choice)
1/2 tbsp. cinnammon
1/2 tsp. salt

In a mixer, combine the sweet potatoes, orange juice, cinnammon and salt. Blend until "whipped". C'est aussi simple que! ( It's that simple)
Serve along with the pork.

009

And here is our oldest who begged for a photo op:

011



* This recipe may not be published or re-printed without my consent.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Morning Smoothie

I can't speak for any of you, but I detest mornings. It just takes me too darn long to wake up! I usually have to pump about two cups of java into my bloodstream before my brain becomes a functioning organ once again. The thought of cooking a nutritious breakfast eludes me and quite frankly I do not even entertain the thought most mornings. Thankfully my husband is in charge of nutrition patrol for the boys' breakfast each morning!

Just the other day while pouring myself a cup of coffee, I was obviously still in a sleep induced state, I proceeded to return the coffee pot to the cabinet above. I didn't discover this fas paux until I went to retrieve the second cup and couldn't for the life of me find the pot of coffee! I swore my husband had to have done something with it, but seeing he was out on a run, I was unable to chastise him for it. Lucky me, I would have been eating crow!

So suffice to say, I don't do mornings! I mean, can you imagine me cooking in this state of mind?! No, No. Which brings me to this morning's simple recipe. This is one for all of you who do not like a large breakfast, are too pushed for time to prepare one, or are just in the mood for a smoothie. This smoothie is one of my absolute favs and very simple. It is a Double Chocolate Cherry Smoothie.
Yes, double chocolate. Allow those words to roll off your tongue slowly...
Sounds unhealthy, right? WRONG! This smoothie has very few ingredients and packed with protein and powerful antioxidants. You will start your day off nutrtionally right. If you suffer from any type of inflammatory disease or have trouble with imflammation in your body, this is a "good food" for you. The cherries that are in the recipe are a great anti-inflammatory food. Ok, enough waiting and reading, here is the recipe:
001


Double Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

1 cup Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (I use Silk)
2 tbsp. Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1 scoop of Chocolate Protein Powder
1 cup frozen pitted Cherries

In a blender, blend all ingedients until smooth. Pour into a glass add straw and enjoy! You can even add other fruits such as bananas or add almonds for a nutty flavor. Explore any way you would like.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Handmade Fan Jewelry

I am excited to do today's blog. You see, I have this friend who is making fan jewelry. Her name is Beth Anne Arcement. I have known Beth Anne for a very long time. Her story begins pre-Katrina in New Orleans. She started making the jewelry as a hobby and quality time with her mother-in-law. After Katrina, her husband and she relocated back to the Eastern Shore. Work left little time for her hobby, as life so often does. Once her brother started playing college ball, she noticed that the stores lacked designer fan jewelry. Now Beth Anne sells her jewelry in several stores also specializing in kids jewelry. She can make any team jewelry requested. She also can repair old jewelry, restrict pearls and make a set to match any outfit! You don't have to just choose from sports jewelry!

I have already ordered my Auburn necklace and know I will be the "Belle of the Ballgame"! Take a moment to check out these pics of some of the jewlery she has done. Because she is still in the beginning stages, BethAnne does not have a website. If you would like some really unique and stylish fan jewelry or jewelry for your child, please e-mail her at: arcemente@hotmail.com
For those Tiger Fans: (Auburn, that is ;))


photo[1] (4)

photo[1] (3)

photo[2] (3)

And for those other Tiger fans (LSU):

photo[3] (2)

These are two Saints Necklaces:
photo[3]

photo[2] (2)
For all you Alabama fans:

photo[1] (2)

Or you might like this one better:
photo[1]


And for Christmas, here is a fabulous necklace that doesn't look like you raided grandma's closet!:
photo[2] (4)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tailgating Around the SEC...LSU and Crab Boil Recipe

LSU Pictures, Images and Photos

I write this to you all as I sit here sipping my morning smoothie out of my AUBURN cup! Oh, how it pains me to write positivly about a rival! But I want all you non-southerners to see all that the SEC (South Eastern Conference) has to offer when it comes to tradition and football. We southern girls love our football! So, while I have muzzled my pride, let me tell you about this rambunctious and fun school nestled into the heart of Louisiana.


Welcome to Death Valley, as Tiger Stadium is known to all. This is one one the largest college football stadiums as well as one of the loudest. Fans come from all over Louisiana on gameday in order to cheer their Tigers on to victory.

Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the school was once located in Pineville, Loiusiana and led by Col. William T. Sherman! It was later relocated to Baton Rouge.

The school colors are purple and gold and have arguably been said to have been chosen because these are also Mardi Gras colors. Whatever the reason, fans come out in droves on gameday decked in the school colors to fill the 92, 400 football stadium and celebrate like it is Mardi Gras.
Mike the Tiger is the school mascot, please do not mistake for Tony the Tiger- he belongs to Kellog's...Whaa-Whaa-Whaaa!
The current football coach is Les Miles. Lsu has had their boast of victories with 3 national championships, 10 SEC titles and have made about 39 bowl appearances since 1935. Not bad.

Did I mention how LOUD it is here? Well, back in 1988 in the game against Auburn, it was so loud the Geology dept. registered the ruckus on a seismograph, that was just the LSU fans making the noise. This game became known as the "Earthquake Game". Sadly, I must confess, Auburn lost that game. Speaking of Auburn, the rivalry between these two schools has become something in its own. Tensions mount when these two titans meet each season.

Want to know how to have a good time? Just ask these fans. I can truly say they know how to party! Actual festivities can begin 24 hrs. prior to gametime, and I'm not just talking about the college students! When you come to tailgate at an LSU game you had better bring your "A" game (and your appetite), your gonna need it! Bourbon is the drink of choice and Low Country food is on the menu. Louisiana food is among some of the best cuisine in the world and you get no shortage here. Choose from crab boils, crawfish etouffee, jambalya, boudin and the list goes on.....

Whichever team you plan on cheering for this weekend, or even if you are "fan spiritually challenged", and hey, that's ok too, try a little Louisiana fare; your taste buds might thank you!

Here is a recipe for crawfish etouffee. If crawfish is to difficult or impossible to get where you are, I have tried this with shrimp and it is still fabulous! Click on this link.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hotty Toddy!

Ok, I must admit, I am venturing out of my element here. But because I am doing a tailgating series as they say, "The show must go on." .....

The #1 Auburn Tigers face the Ole Miss Rebels this Saturday. I myself have never graced the lush grounds of The Grove at Oxford, Mississippi. I once read that Sports Illustrated ranked Ole Miss as the best place for tailgating, so I thought this is an appropriate place to start.

Ole%20Miss%20Stadium


Let me give you a little background on the Rebels. The Ole Miss Rebels mascot was Colonel Reb, but recently has been replaced by the Black Bear. (Um, I think I'll keep my thoughts to myself with this one.) There school colors are crimson and navy blue, which are a combination of the colors of Harvard and Yale. The football team has made 33 bowl appearances and has 6 SEC titles. The current coach is Houston Nutt.


On gameday, fans gather under the oaks at The Grove for tailgating , fellowship and a special treat from the players as they walk through the middle of the grove to the stadium. (Reminds me of Auburn's Tiger Walk.)
The cheer Ole Miss Rebel fans are mostly know for is Hotty Toddy.
Ok, I must admit I had NO clue what Hotty Toddy meant. I have heard them saying it for ever and have been oblivious to what it meant. Low and behold it is a cheer. A rather vivacious cheer with many profanities throughout it. If your curious mind can't be subsided and you just have to know it here is the link, scroll down till you find the cheer.

There is also a drink called a Hotty Toddy and I think would be embraced by many a tailgaters on cold, frigid gamedays. Hey, it could even be a good cold remedy!

hot toddy

Hot Toddy

Ingredients:
•1 oz brandy, whiskey or rum
•1 Tbsp honey
•1/4 lemon
•1 cup hot water
•1 tea bag
Cinnamon stick

Preparation:
1.Coat the bottom of a mug or an Irish coffee glass with honey.
2.Add the liquor and the juice of the lemon quarter.
3.On the side, heat water in a tea kettle and add the tea bag to make hot tea.
4.Pour the steaming tea into the glass and stir.
5.Garnish with cinnamon stick and a lemon wedge.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tiger Eye Salsa

"Let the good times roll!" Isn't that what they say in the midst of revelry and fun? Well, that is exactly the way I feel during college football season. I simply love it! Being blessed to be born a female, I often get quizzical looks from my fellow gender at the zest I have for this physical sport. That's ok. I am comfortable in this atmosphere. I get the game, which I believe attributes to my liking of it.

Today's football is physical, analytical, emotional and if you look under the surface, inspiring. Each of these players has their own story, which I think can add to the love of the game. When you hear or read about their story, it allows you to become caught up in the sport all the more.

I think it is safe to say, I really like this game! And what goes along with football? Why, my true passion, FOOD! Now, I really don't need an excuse to cook or prepare little delicacies, but hey, I'll take one!

Tailgating has become an art of it's own. Men and women alike silently compete to see who has the best fare.( My husband and I are just two of those people.) So what do you do if you are "grub challenged"? Well, that is why I am here! I'm going to be offering you some great tailgating recipes over the next few post in hopes at your next gathering you will prevail as "Top Tailgater".

This is my obsolute favorite salsa to make. I have made many versions and called it many different names, all through trial and error. I have finally settled on just one, my TIGER EYE SALSA. Easy to make and great to eat. It gets its name because our house is an Auburn home. We love our Auburn Tigers! Through the good and the bad, that is what being a fan is all about. Here is the recipe and what you will need:


003

Tiger Eye Salsa
(You may want to double if serving a big crowd)

1 can black-eyed peas , rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can whole kernal corn, rinsed and drained
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small red onion,peeled and diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
4-5 limes, juiced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

Bag of tortilla chips

*In a bowl mix together the vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, pepper, salt, chili and garlic powder. You may need to add more salt or pepper depending on your taste preference. Allow to sit and the flavors to marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

In a seperate bowl, mix together the black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and garlic cloves.

Pour the lime marinade on top. Refrigerate 2-3 hrs. for full flavor, or you if you can't wait, dig in! If serving a large crowd, you mights want to fill tortilla scoops with the salsa to make it go further, otherwise serve in a bowl along with tortilla chips of your choice.

Variation: Add 1 tbsp. tequila to the marinade for a fiesta kick!



* This recipe is an original by me and is not to be reprinted or reproduced in any form without my permission.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Halloween Crafts

I have had several inquiries as to where I got the little black pumpkin cats I have perched on my front porch. Hold onto your seats, folks ...... I made them! Now, I must be fair here, I saw them in the October issue of Good Housekeeping. Such a cute idea, and if you click onto the link I provided, you can do this yourself too! I did do a little different on each craft. For instance, the cats are made out of faux pumpkins that I carved and the tails are black fuzzy pipe cleaners.I was able to purchase stips of gems that was used for the eyes,ears and collar. Here is the cat display. I think it turned out cute!

001




The black lace covered pumpkins is another easy do. I purchased six faux carvable pumpkins about seven years ago and have used them every year! Sure beats buying real ones year after year! (We do get one real one for the kids to carve). All I did was cover each pumpkin with some black lace purchased from the fabric store, pushed some straight pins in to hold and Voila! Then I bunched up some tuille to make it more frou-frou. I had also carved stars and moons into these when I first got them. I ran some orange lights up through each pumpkin before covering them, so at night they illuminate.

004




The witch I also copied from GoodHousekeeping. Mine is not as cute as theirs, but I tried to use what I already had on hand without adding too much cost, i.e. the cape. Of course I veered off the given track, but that is no surprise. Instead of using the website's template I just printed the picture and free-handed the witch onto the vinyl. I found the vinyl at the fabric store and chose the sturdier, thicker one. This is inexpensive. One thing I did notice, other than my front door needs replaced, is that GoodHousekeeping does a poor job describing the how-tos for their projects. I found myself winging most the crafts. But that is neither here nor there. If you are not good at drawing, I would have the template enlarged a little, according to your door size.I used some chalk to draw the witch onto the vinyl. Here is my witch after I drew it:

014


For the cape I just cut some fabric and sewed a running stitch across the top where I had bunched it together. Add a big sparkly gem and put a border of grosgrain ribbon at the bottom. Place some glitter for the band across her hat. For the broom, I purchased a cheapy from Target and spray painted it gold. I made her arm slightly longer so it could be wrapped around the broom to look like whe was "holding" it. Now as far as mounting the witch, you really should have another person help you. My eight year old worked great! Using some sticky 3mm mounts, lots of them, and some hot glue, she's up now! F.Y.I: hot glue will peel right off glass for easy removal. Now I'm not suggesting you do this unless you are VERY sure that your glue won't be too hot to crack your glass. Do this at your own risk! I am not liable should you try it and it crack your glass. This is what worked for me. I'm just saying..
Ok, so here is the classy good witch:


006

I'm still working on the decorations, my kids keep begging me to put the rest out! So for now I hope you find these to your liking and let me know if you try your hand at any of these! Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mission: Kid-Friendly Snack

I can only speak for my family, but I have noticed a repetitive pattern when the kids come from school. Trying to appease their bottomless pit bellies, they grab the quickest snack they can find; which is usually the bag of chips or pre-packaged cookies. Well, enough is enough I say! As if I don't have plenty already on my plate, I realized it is up to me to be the food saver. I can choose to show them good food choices or I can continue to allow them to spiral down the path of substantial fat and calories laced with high sugars! This requires a little more work and prep on my part, not something I WANT to have to do, but something I NEED to do. (Remember the whole "want" versus "need" speech your parents gave you when you were a kid?) My children's health and eating lifestyle are based on what they see and have influenced upon them. Not to mention, it helps me in the long run too. No more mindless snacking of their unfinished foods.

037
Today's mission: to get more fruit and dairy into their diet and meet their sweet-tooth satisfaction. I baked up some cinnamon tortillas, sliced some strawberries and made a dip to go with it. The boys shoved all of it into their pie holes so fast I was barely able to sneak a few for myself! I think we can suffuse it was a successful mission! Here are the "how-to's":

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips w/ Fruit Dip and Berries

For the Chips:
6 round Flour Tortillas, cut into 8 segments (like a pizza)
1/4 c. Sugar
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
Spray butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spray chips with spray butter and sprinkle over chips. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until chips are golden brown.

For the Dip:

1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. Low-fat Sour Cream
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill till ready to serve.

Slice some strawberries, raspberries, bluberries, bananas, kiwi or any other fruit you would like. These would also work to serve as Fruit Nachos.
This can be a great snack to send to school!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Citrus-Herbed Roasted Chicken with White Wine Sauce

Occassionally inspiration will hit me. This is a rare occurance, as I admit most of my ideas are stemmed from other's creative minds! Cooking seems to be the one exception. As I have once stated before, healthy eating is a necessity in our home. Not that we eat healthy all the time , (thanks a lot Gutherie's, you are my one weakness since college). Last night I created a recipe for a roasted chicken that was so good it needed no dipping sauce. Chicken can be so boring! One summer, before I went off to college, I stayed with my mom ( my parents are divorced and have been so since I was five years old). We had chicken every night, in every way you can prepare it. I say this with sarcasm, just the memory of those chicken meals makes me shutter. Needless to say, it was a VERY long time before I would eat chicken again. This is probably why I have such a love for Gutherie's , it was the first chicken I ate since I spent that summer with mom. Well, those days are behind me and now I enjoy chicken, every now and then. I served the roasted chicken along with some herbed potatoes, yum!

Don't forget to click on the printer friendly button if you would like a copy of this recipe. Bon Appetit!


kaylees dedication and food 076


Citrus-Herbed Roasted Chicken with White Wine Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Whole Chicken, neck, giblets and all the other yucky stuff removed
1 large lemon, sliced
1 lime sliced in half
4 fresh rosemary stems, 2 stripped and chopped
6 cloves garlic, 3 minced
1/2 cup white wine (your choice)
2 tbsp. melted butter
pepper
salt
8 dried bay leaves

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Time to get friendly with your bird! Remove all the giblets, neck and other repulsive stuff from inside your bird. Wash him thoroughly and pat dry. You will need to lift the skin from the body of the bird, but be careful not to tear through the skin, like I did in some places. Some places will not give, so do the best you can. If I can do this, ANYONE can! Now you are ready to season it. Notice I did not give measurements for the pepper and salt. If I had to guesstimate, I would say about 2 tablespoons of pepper and 1 tablespoon of salt.

kaylees dedication and food 071

Rub the salt and pepper all over the outside of the chicken. Top and bottom and into crevices.



kaylees dedication and food 069

Next, stuff the lemon slices, bay leaves, some pepper, minced garlic and the rosemary under the skin. Do this all over the bird, even under the skin of the legs. Take the halved lime, remaining garlic cloves and 2 rosemary sprigs and stuff them into the bird. You should feel like you have violated this bird by the time you are done! We want him seasoned to perfection!

After the bird has been seasoned, ( and you've washed your hands), mix the white wine and butter together in a bowl. Pour over the bird.

kaylees dedication and food 070

Cook the chicken at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Drop the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 45 minutes more. You want the outside nice and crispy and the inside tender and juicy.

If you want to add the potatoes, you will need red potatoes, chopped rosemary ( I used what was left from the chicken), salt and pepper and olive oil. Slice the potatoes into quarters. Place into rotisserie pan. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake with chicken the last half of baking.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gameday Chili

I think as moms we tend to overload our plates. Not literally, I'm talking about our life plate. Within our being, God made us nurturers. With that comes an everlasting need to "take care" of pratically everything for those in our family, mainly immediate family. I am an "over-nurturer". I admit it! I have witnessed all too often how women tend to place too much pressure on themselves and the result is usually a mental smack-down. As I strive myself to learn balance within my own personal life, those of my husband and children, I have reached a place of peace. Peace coming from the Lord above because it can only come for Him. Lately my heart has been heavy for my fellow lady friends and aquantainces whom I have seen wrestle with life's daily struggles and inner battles. But, I am at peace knowing God hears their hearts and minds. He is sufficient and His enduring love can heal those who call out to Him. I just felt I needed to reach my readers with the reassurance that though life WILL knock you down, there is peace and rest in Christ Jesus. Surround yourselves with loving family and supporting friends who love you no matter what. And remember, if you think your not worthy, Jesus does, he gave his life for you.

Now that that is off my chest, did I mention: It's Football Season!
Whoop! Whoop! Primarily, college football! If you don't know by now, our house is an Auburn house. We love our Auburn Tigers! War Eagle! My husband and I, along with our 6 yr. old, enjoy watching college football. It doesn't matter who is playing. Of course we are partial to the SEC, but those other teams are enjoyable too. Now, you must understand, where I live, you are either an Auburn fan or an Alabama fan. We don't care if you went to another SEC school, you had better pick one of the two! It is fine if you want to pull for say, Georgia on Saturday, but by golly, you had better choose who you are going to cheer for between Alabama and Auburn. It really is a great rivalry. Both my mom and dad are Alabama fans, bless their heart, and I and my sister are for Auburn. Seeing I am 11 yrs older than my sister and she worshipped the ground I walked when she was a child, I made sure she knew which side to pull for! I sealed the deal when a guy I was dating while at Auburn, who happened to be on the team, had the team sign a football for her. Strategy people! Anyhow, as you can see, Saturdays are big days whether at home or tailgating. There are so many great foods to eat, because that's what you do, eat. Which, brings me to this post, Gameday Chili. This is one of those "eb=verything but the kitchen sink" kind of recipes. There really is no one way about making it, matter-of-fact, I never stick to just one recipe, some of the same ingredients, but I do like to mix it up! This is great served with sour cream, cheese and sliced avacado on top, or if you're in for more calories, (like my hubby likes it), spread on top of a hot dog for the ultimate chili dog! Whichever way you serve it, I'm sure you will like it, if not, then something is wrong with your taste buds, please see a doctor immediatly!

*If you would like a printed page, click on the "Printer Friendly" button at the top right of page.
Gameday Chili (my latest version):
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced

* Place the olive oil in a dutch oven, (or large pot), over med. heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic. Toss until well coated in the olive oil. Sautee' for about 2 min.

1 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder ( I like the mexican kind)
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp. garlic powder

* Mix all these together in a bowl and pour on top of your veggie mixture. Mix well to get the spices blended with your veggies.

6 oz. coke (yes, real coca-cola)
1 cup B-BQ sauce, good quality - I like KC Masterpiece or Sweet Baby Ray's
3-4 cups of low-sodium beef (or chicken) broth
1/4 c. worchestershire sauce

*Pour all ingredients into the dutch oven and lower heat to med-low. Simmer for about 20 min.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 lb. of smoked shredded pork (this I used from a previous night's leftovers. You can purchase some from your local b-bq joint.)
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. red wine vinegar

* place meat and bay leaves and red wine vinegar into the dutch oven with everything else and simmer on low for 2 hrs.

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

* place beans into chili about 20 min. before serving.

Enjoy! Oh, and War Eagle! I would love to hear from my readers their favorite teams. Give a shout out to who you root for in the comment section.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

End of Summer Salad

This past week has been most inhospitable! (I say this with lots of emotion). My body has been wretched from one end to the other. It all began last week when I thought I might have been having an heart attack. Yes, you read that right. Fortunately, by God's infinite grace and mercy, I wasn't. My potassium was low and I have been blessed by the Pleurisy fairy once again. For those of you who are not aware, low potassium can mimic a heart attack. The symptoms are virtually the same, at least they were in my case. So needless to dawdle on, I spent a majority of an afternoon in the emergency room being poked and proded AND developing an allergic reaction to some meds. You know they say you can go into the E.R. ok and come out in worse shape. That's what happened to me. My eyes swelled into bulbous flesh! Simply not flattering. So back onto the prednisone (to ward off the pleurisy) and some potassium to help boost that back to normal levels. Then, FRED, (you ladies all are graced with his presence- at least one a month), visited and sent my body into a Lupus flare and to put the cherry on top, no pun intended, I now have come down with a terrible cold/sore throat! I know, I know, you all wish you could be me right now. Please, contain your jealously. Envy will get you no where.

So after my heart scare, it really did help me to focus on better health; starting with what I put into my mouth. Obviously, I like to eat. Not only do I like to eat, but I also like food that taste good! So, I have promised myself to find healthier, tastier meals to share with you all. Maybe I can help keep you out of the E.R......

This is a salad that I made the other night. Taste really fresh and light, but yet it is filling. Good protein, healthy fats and veggies are just some of its benefits. You can add whatever veggies you like, there really are no guidelines for it.

005

Summer Bean Salad

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or is it drained and rinsed)
1 each red/green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small cumcumber, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
fresh parsely (about 1/4 c. chopped)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. balsalmic vinegrette
1 pkg. dry Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
Juice of 1 lime squeezed


Mix together the olive oil, balsalmic vinegrette, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt and lime juice. Stir with a whisk until well blended. (You may need to adjust the olive oil and balsamic according to your taste). In a small bowl, mix beans, bell peppers, onion and cucumbers. Pour vinegrette over and toss in parsely. Serve as a side or stuff into a pita!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Almond Tiramisu with Beach Tales on the side!

I feel like I should explain myself since it has been over a week that I have blogged. I have been on a sabatical. My family and I ventured down to our beaches here on the gulf coast for 5 1/2 days of some fun and relaxation. We had such a wonderful time, my mom and grandmother, (Nanny), also came and shared several days with us. It was incredibly hot, so we didn't make it onto the beach much during the day. Our nights were spent scouting for sand crabs, ( I mostly was looking out for them so they didn't run across my toes!),and on one occasion M. (my husband), found a blue crab whom was very full of eggs! I have a picture of her below, and yes, she does look pretty angry! We even ended up adopting two tree hermit crabs, which I am now determined will have to live to a ripe old age before dying, seeing as to how much I have invested in their little "crabitat"! F.Y.I.: Always ,ALWAYS research an animal (of any sort) before you purchase! I cannot stress this enough. Do-Do me was mindfully out to lunch when it came to their long-term care. I did find a fabulous website with an abundant amount of information. Here is the link should you be interested in investing in an hermit crab:


Summer Break 2010 096
Looks rather perturbed, doesn't she?


Summer Break 2010 034
This opulent looking thing with freaky eyes is a sand crab. I almost stepped on him and kuddos to mom who scooped him up with her bare hands, and threw him into the bucket!


Summer Break 2010 047
This sweet little angel of mine was on a shell mission. No shell unbroken was to be left behind!


Summer Break 2010 044
Our oldest busy at work. God bless him, he had no shell preference, which meant anything was admittable.



Summer Break 2010 086
Every once and awhile, I am caught in a pic with my boys!





Enough about our vacay, onto the recipe! I have been craving Tiramisu ever since I tried Starbuck's Tiramisu Parfait-SINFUL! I know that a lot of desserts have "seasons", I don't think tiramisu does. It is one of those desserts that if it was an entree' it would be a comfort food. The creamy decadence of the marscapone compliments the soft, spongy cookie perfectly!
I have never been to Italy, but those Italians have got it going on! My version, which I am sure is not as wonderful as the true Italian versions, and I am not pretending as such, is a Southern twist on this wonderful dessert. Whenever life gives you lemons, you must make lemonade! Well, that's what I did with this recipe, as it so happens I had to settle for Americanized marscapone cheese and lady fingers. I was also fresh out of Cognac and Brandy(J/K-don't care for the stuff!) and refused to buy a bottle for one recipe. I did check with my hubby to see if we still had any of the Irish whiskey, which being of Irish decsent I do not turn my nose up to! Nope, us lushes drank it all! Hey, I'm Irish, what do you expect?!! (Note: we really are not lushes, but do delight in a glass once in a while). I did find a bottle of Ameretto aged 8 years, see we don't revel in alcohol much. How did I become so sidetracked on convincing of our lack of revelry?!!
There my idea for Almond Tiramisu came about. It really is good and a bit different. This would be great for a dinner party or to share with a special soemone with a cup of coffee. Hey, the coffe tasted pretty good with the ameretto and sugar, just saying....


Ingredients:

8 oz. mascarpone cheese
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 pkgs. lady fingers
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. amerreto liquer
1/4 heavy cream
1 cup strong espresso, cooled
1 tsp. almond flavoring
3 egg whites
1/4 c. crushed almonds
1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Summer Break 2010 111


Summer Break 2010 112
Beat cheese, egg yolks, 2 tbsp. sugar and 2 tbsp. ameretto.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add cream and almond flavoring to a bowl. Beat until whipped.

Summer Break 2010 114
Fold gently the yolk mixture, egg whites and cream.

Mix espresso with remaining sugar and amerreto.

Summer Break 2010 116
Dip lady fingers into espresso, being very careful not to soak- they WILL break off! Seriously, these are little sponges. Take a quick swing of liquored cofee (j/k), only if you continually cause several ladyfingers to break off!

Summer Break 2010 117
Line serving dish with coffeed ladyfingers. Pour cream mixture and alternate between ladyfingers and cream mixture. Top with sifted cocoa and crushed almonds.

Summer Break 2010 118

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Beautiful Day

This past Friday morning, my husband roused the kids and I out of bed awfully early. He informed us there were doughnuts and coffee waiting in the kitchen and the boat was hitched and ready to be taken out. He wanted to go fishing. Our bay waters have recently reopened in light of the threat of oil. Shrimpers were given the green light to cast out their nets once again. Honestly, it is a sigh of relief. Us locals are aware that we are by no means out of the woods, per se, but a reprieve is always welcome.

We had a wonderful time, once we managed to get the boat launched! You see, it takes our family quit a bit of effort to arrive at any given destination. We couldn't locate one of the kids lifejackets and ended up purchasing a new one. The bait shop was out of shrimp at 5:30 a.m., so we had to wait an extra hour. My youngest had to do his "daily constitution", twice. You see where I am going with this?! "Snake Bit" as my husband claims, that's what we are. My oldest, who is only seven, has perfected the art of complaining. For fours hours all we heard from him, "When can we go home, I'm sleepy.", "It's hot!", "I can't catch anything, I quit!". I wished I had a mute remote for him on more than one occasion! All in all, the day turned out to be magnificent! We were fishing for speckeled trout. So were a lot of other fishermen. It has be years since I have been fishing, but it is like riding a bike, you never forget. My husband did have to untangle the nest I created with the rod, his fault for giving me the cheap rod! Of course he had to hook the shrimp for the boys and I, ( I have issues spearing something alive), and cast the lines too.

There were no signs of oil, just several boons placed about. Many "spotters" anchored together and chilling under there umbrellas. There were several fisherman out, and surprisingly, not many shrimpers.
As we rode from one spot to another, I took some time to take in my surroundings. The skies, though slightly cloudy, were blue, the water was perfect and inviting. Nature was alive all around us. The pelicans perched on posts and patiently awaited their next snack, as well as the sea gulls which loomed overhead and occasionally dove to retrieve a fish. My husband, with his keen eyes, spotted a family of porpoises. They put on quite a show for us. The male, I am assuming, was enormous. I do not believe I have ever seen one that big! It was something like you would see at Sea World. He would shoot straight up out of the water and then flop down onto his side. This happened several times. Absolutely spectacular! God has such a creative hand. It was as if the Lord was speaking to me and reminding me that he created this for us to enjoy and appreciate. How we take it for granted. We can become so caught up in our own personal world that we forget to look what is all around us. This time on the water took on a greater reflection for me. It is like a whole seperate world, all to its own. An escape for me.

The oil may not stay out of our bay, that we cannot change. What is done is done, fingers have been pointed, the blame has been layed. God has loaned us this world for the time being, it is up to us to appreciate it and care for it. We cannot change the course of our future, His return is inevitable. We can appreciate what He has given us. We can find our own place for reflection and inspiration. God has created an enormous piece of art called, our earth. What will you look at it and see? Are you a glass half empty or half full?

You might wonder if we actually caught any fish? Why yes, I did. Key word, "I". M, my husband, had his line bit through twice, and both the boys had several nibbles but were to trigger happy and lost them. We finally figured out what was biting through his line when the boat next to us caught a shark! Of course they released it, but our suspense was confirmed. Yes, alas, I the only woman in the family had to hunt for our food. No, I did not clean it, I had done all the hard work! We did enjoy one 3 lb. speckeled trout for dinner, though. M fried him up and he was soooo good! Here are a few pics I took while out on the boat. Notice our youngest is holding up the fish I caught. I'm a little too girly-girl when it comes to live slimy things!


blackberry photos 089

blackberry photos 090


blackberry photos 093

blackberry photos 088
The grey blob you see is the porpoise performing.

blackberry photos 092

blackberry photos 094
I do not know if anyone lives in this house, but I can see it ,all cleaned up, with my family living quite comfortably in there!
There was an error in this gadget