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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Virginia's Bright Day

June 25th is an important date in Virginia's history. It was on June 25th 1788 that Virginia ratified thee U.S. constitution and was admitted as the 10th state of the Union. Previously located in the state of Virginia were several Indian tribes. The Powhatan, Monacan, Manahoac, Nahyssan, Occaneechi, Susquehanna, Cherokee and Nottaway were present when the first European explorers arrived. 
Sir Walter Raleigh was granted permission from England's Queen Elizabeth I to establish a colony in 1584. Several early expeditions to the New World would fail because they were not adequately prepared. King James I charted thee Virginia company to create a colony in Virginia. Virginia would be the first permanent english settlement in America and it would begin in Jamestown in May 1607. 

Log cabin Day

Log Cabins were the early homes for those who faced the hardship of the land. They were build to be strong and sturdy out of logs that were carefully notched together. In between the logs a caulking agent like mud or clay was used. Log cabins were built to stand the test of times. The roof was the part that needed to be changed occasionally.  Frontier days during the American migration west made log cabins most popular.

The log cabin society (yes there is such a thing) strives to make the Log Cabin Day popular. The Bad Ax Historical Society has been involved since the beginning as well. Yearly groups try to preserve historical log cabins so they can be maintained for the future and hold onto artifacts and memories that have helped make them important. The American colonists who supported the American Revolution known as the Whigs created log cabins to be humble and to go along with their simple life appearance.

Tall sturdy timbers could easily be used to create log cabins. The wood museum in Trondheim hosts several forms of log cabins. The northern Europe area built log cabins in a grand variety of styles. At times they were even built with flat walls to make siding or wall paper easier.

Catfish with Hush-puppies and Tartar Sauce

4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillets
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Vegetable oil for frying

COMBINE cornmeal, flour, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.
COAT catfish with mixture, shaking off excess. Fill a large, heavy skillet half full with vegetable oil. Heat to 350° F.
ADD catfish in a single layer, and fry until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes, depending on size.
REMOVE fish from oil and drain on paper towels.
SERVE with Hush-puppies and Tartar Sauce.


1½ cups self-rising cornmeal
½ cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup jalapeƱos, finely chopped (optional)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

PREHEAT oil to 350° F. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine jalapeƱos, onions, buttermilk, egg and cheese. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Drop batter by
heaping teaspoons into heated oil and fry, turning hushpuppies to cook evenly, until golden brown.

Tartar Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons sweet pickles, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
3 tablespoons green onions (use white bulb of onion), finely chopped; reserve green leaves for making hushpuppies)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

COMBINE mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, capers, green onions, lemon juice and parsley. Mix well. Add salt and pepper. Chill before serving to allow the flavors to marry

Use Those Leftovers

One of my major household cost is feeding the family. It takes a lot of money to feed our family with several on special diets it is also at times to come up with a menu plan. It seems at times as junk food is cheaper than real food. If you are like me and would love to save some money here are a few of my tips that I use.

Cut down on waste.
The average American family throws away $1300 in food a year. That is not only a lot of money but a lot of food that we are throwing away. That does not mean that we should eat food that is old or expired it means that we should use up food before it goes bad or gets tossed out. Using our leftovers gives some people a definite nod of no others think they are great and can think of lots of ways to use them. The truth is using our leftovers offers us a chance to get creative in the kitchen and saves us money as well.

Leftovers were something often found on our family table. Our mother was not that creative and this often made my sisters and brothers and I eat with an attitude of "Not that again" But there are some great ways to dress up leftovers. A few of these include:

Fried Rice is great to make from leftover rice. You can use any veggie or meat or you can go meatless. Its a great meal you can prepare in minutes and best of all it uses up leftover rice. It does not matter what rice you use brown, white, quinoa etc...

Salad Rolls allow you to use up leftover meats, veggies, rice or pasta. Using leftovers are easy when you make up salad rolls.

Soups are a great way to use up leftovers. Chowder or beef stew are great to use up leftovers. You can make up your own soup using different veggies, meats, pasta or rice will allow you to be creative and use leftovers for your family and save money.

Rice is usually easy to make up meals using leftover rice. Rice with milk, dried fruit make an easy breakfast. Chicken and rice soup is great for leftover rice.You can easily freeze rice to use later as well.

Omelets and quiches are perfect for leftovers. Use a basic recipe and throw in whatever leftovers you may have. Eggs, cheese and veggies are perfect to use.

Cake Balls are perfect to use with leftover cake that has become dry, crumbly or just simply leftover. Using canned frosting to make up cake balls. You can use many different flavors to make these little goodies.

Freezing leftovers is great as well. Bananas, ginger, pureed pumpkin, applesauce and citrus can be frozen and used later. Most veggies can be frozen to use in soups, stews, chillis at a later date. Cookies and muffins freeze well as well.

Do Not Freeze: cream sauces, custards, high water content vegetables (like lettuce, cucumber, tomato), sour cream, mayonnaise, fried foods, anything with gelatin.

  • Chill the food completely in the refrigerator before freezing. This makes smaller ice crystals and less textural damage to the food.
  • For small items (like meatballs, cookie dough, or fruit pieces), freeze while spread out on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag once solid. This prevents the pieces from clumping.
  • Make sure there is room for air to flow in the freezer, which will help maintain proper temperatures.
  • Label and date your food. LABEL AND DATE YOUR FOOD.
  • Freeze in smaller portions when possible. This makes foods freeze faster and reduces the need to thaw more food than needed.
  • “Shop” your freezer on a regular basis to stay on top of your inventory.

What is your favorite way to use leftovers?

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

4 cups cut rhubarb
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup sliced strawberries
3 1/2 cups sugar
Boil about 15 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Set off stove. Smash with potatoe masher or blend in blender. Add 1 (3 oz) package strawberry jello. Seal in Jars.
(If you like your jam a little more tangy, use 5 cups rhubarb and omit the strawberries .)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Grilling Time Sweet Southern Pork Tenderloin

The pork tenderloin is a great cut of pork. Flexible in that it can be prepared many different ways. It is also very affordable and yet a great taste as well. A very lean cut of meat so be careful not to dry it out. Brining or marinating is very important and if possible should be done over night. Be sure to cook the meat to temperature as well. The marinade will help pull moisture into the meat and help enhance the flavor as well.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Marinade

1 cup quality bourbon
1/2 cup sweet tea
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
1 clove fresh garlic chopped
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper

Bourbon Peach Glaze

3 whole peaches chopped
1/2 cup bourbon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 sweet tea
3 tablespoons molasses
pinch of salt
pinch of cajun seasoning (optional)

First prepare the tenderloin by trimming it up, and removing the silver skin if still attached and placing it into a gallon sized ziplock bag.  In a mixing bowl whisk together all the of ingredients for the marinade and transfer it to the ziplock bag with the pork and move to the refrigerator up to 48 hours.  When you’re ready to cook, remove the pork from the fridge and let it rest coming to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and decided about a direct cooking technique.  If grilling preheat the grill to its hottest setting, or place a cast iron skillet over high heat adding a little canola oil (avoid olive oil it will burn).  Using either method, quickly sear the outside of the tenderloin, turning twice to get even color on the tenderloin.  Once you have a decent browning, or grill mark transfer the tenderloin to a warm cookie sheet or pan, insert thermometer probe, and place into the oven.  Remove the tenderloin when the internal temperature is 150 degrees (it should be slightly pink).  Tent the pork with alluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While the pork is cooking prepare the glaze.  Start by adding the butter to a sauce pan and bringing it up to medium-high.  Place the peaches, brown sugar, molasses, sweet tea, and bourbon in the sauce pan and begin reducing the peaches down.  When the glaze begins to bubble turn the heat down to a simmer and add the salt and cajun seasoning.  The sauce will continue to darken and become richer the longer you cook, taste as it simmers to keep it from burning.

After the pork has rested, slice on the diagonal and serve with the warm glaze over the top. Enjoy!

Meatloaf with Coca Cola Glaze

Southern Meatloaf with Coca-Cola Glaze

Meat Loaf

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef  80/20
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 large white onion finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbs salt
1 tbs ground black pepper
1 tbs cajun seasoning
2 large eggs beaten
1 tbs butter unsalted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor add enough fresh whole wheat bread to make 2 cups of crumbs.  Then in a hot pan saute,in butter, the yellow bell pepper and onion till translucent.  In a large bowl combine all ingredients and with your hands work it together.  Only work the meat and ingredients until it is well blended, but be gentle and don’t turn the meat into paste.  Move the meat to a lightly greased cookie sheet and hand mold the meat into a loaf.  Cover the meat in a heavy coat of the Coca-Cola Glaze and cook in the oven until the middle of the meat reads 160 degrees on a thermometer.  When the meat reaches the correct temperature, remove from oven and cover with foil (it will carry over to 170 as it rests). If you want more of a crust, add more glaze and place under the broiler till crust is formed, being careful not to burn.  Slice, Serve, Enjoy!
Coca-Cola Glaze
10 ounces Coca-Cola
1 tbs spicy mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 clove garlic minced
On medium-high, use a sauce pan and reduce the Coca-cola, after 10 – 15 min of reducing add the ketchup, mustard and garlic.  Lower the temp to a simmer and allow to continue for an additional 15 min.  The flavors will become rich and sweet, and the texture will be almost syrup like.  Remove warm and cover meat loaf.

Oh So Good Pralines

The date of June 24th is normally a sweet day. It is the day that pralines are celebrated. Pralines
are confections made from nuts that may or may not be ground combined with sugar syrup. The term
pralines may also refer to chocolate cookie that contains ground powder nuts or nuts.

French settlers brought their recipes with them into Louisiana. Both sugar cane and pecan trees were plentiful in this location in Louisiana. The chefs during the 19th century substituted pecans for almonds and added cream to a thickened confection. From their pralines were created. 

New Orleans Praline Recipe
recipe from here

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light cream
1 ½ cups pecans, halved
2 tablespoons butter

Combine sugars and cream in a heavy 2-quart saucepan and bring to boil over 
medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until mixture forms a 
thick syrup. Add pecans and butter and continue to cook over medium heat, 
stirring frequently. Remove saucepan to a heatproof surface (such as a wire rack)
 and let cool for 10 minutes. Use a tablespoon to drop rounded balls of the mixture
 onto sheet wax paper or foil, leaving about 3 inches between each ball for 
pralines to spread. Allow to cool.
Makes about 12 candies. 

Na-Na’s Pecan Pralines

1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups pecan pieces

Melt butter over medium heat. When melted, add sugars, milks, and salt.  Slowly bring to a boil, whisking occasionally to prevent/monitor scalding.  When the candy thermometer reads 230-235 degrees, remove from heat and stir in nuts.  Quickly scoop out batter onto wax or parchment paper.

Tip for easy cleanup boil the kitchen utensils you used inside the cooking pan all should come off easier 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pecan Sandies

Pecan Sandies
*Adapted from
(Halved from the original recipe – yields about 3 dozen cookies)
   1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped pecans plus extra for the tops of the cookies
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, white sugar and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla.
3) Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice and stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the pecans.
4) Take 1 tbsp of the dough and roll  into balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.  If you’d like, place a whole pecan in the center of each dough ball.
5)  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

National Pink Day

I totally love pink and so does my grand-daughter. The funny thing is one of my oldest friends loves the color pink as well. Yes , he is a boy and that just goes to show that every one can love the color pink.

One of my favorite cartoon characters the Pink Panther sports the color pink quite well.

October or any time pink can be used to bring awareness to a great cause. Breast cancer Awareness

Pink popcorn is an awesome tasty treat and yes it is pink. You can make your own as well

2/3 cup popcorn kernels , popped
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup half and half
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
6 drops red food coloring (or any other color you'd like)

Pour popped popcorn into two very large mixing bowls, set aside. In a large saucepan whisk together sugar, half and half, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Heat mixture to 232 degrees, stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat and pour in vanilla and food coloring. Drizzle mixture over popped popcorn. Gently stir popcorn until mixture is evenly coated and coating begins to dry (you'll notice the popcorn kernels separating). Pour mixture onto waxed paper and allow to dry about 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from here.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is very important. Our bodies depend on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies need water to work. Everything from regulating temperature, removing waste and lubricating joints requires good hydration.

Because our bodies require water we should make a habit of drinking it every day. It has been advised that an average of 6 to 8 8oz. glasses of water should be enjoyed every day. Drinking water and other fluids when thirsty will help keep normal individuals hydrated. Some may require less than 8 glasses others may need more. One good test to see if you are drinking enough is the color of our urine. The darker in color the more dehydrated one is.

Water is best but other drinks and foods can help us stay hydrated. The problem is that many drinks offer extra calories and sugar as well. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, teas, coffee, and soda can help us stay hydrated. For normal individuals a few cups of caffeinated drink should not hurt us, however, it is best to limit them. Foods such as watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce can help put water back in our bodies.

Useful tips to stay hydrated include:
keeping a bottle of water in possession. Using a reusable water bottle can help cut down in cost.
A slice of lemon or lime offers some excitement to plain water
water is a known appetite suppressant.
put your self on a drink schedule. taking a drink when you wake up, at meal times and before going to bed will help you stay hydrated
water is normally free at restaurant so order it to stay hydrated rather than your regular drink

Signs of de-hydration include:
little or no urine
urine that is dark in color
dry mouth
sleepiness or fatigue
extreme thirst
dizziness or light headiness
no tears when crying

It is important not to wait til you see symptoms to take action. Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water

People who exercise at high intensity or in hot weather, those with medical conditions, people who are sick, pregnant or breastfeeding women, those trying to lose weight, and older adults may all be more susceptible to dehydration.

Our bodies use up lots of water and because our bodies are more than 1/2 of your body weight it is important to re-hydrate. Going to bathroom and sweating are just 2 ways our bodies use water. In the summer time our bodies will need more water than normal. Replacing the water you use or lose is very important so that our bodies do not get dehydrated.

Public Service Day

June 23rd of each year is the day that the United Nations Public Service Day. The U.N wants to bring attention to the competent civil service that democracy and successful government is built on. Each year the U.N. rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions world wide. The spotlight is shone on the roles of the different public services. 

A public service is a service that is provided by the government to the people who are living in the area or country. Regardless of income, physical ability or mental acuity public services should be available to all. The government offering public services can be dated back to the late nineteenth century. Gas and water services may have been among the earliest after that other services such as electricity and healthcare were added. Public services offered often has to do with how developed the country is. 

Some of the public services offered have to do with

Education, [e.g. state (public) schools, public universities, etc...]
Emergency services, (e.g. Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, etc...)
Environmental protection
Health care
Postal service
Public bank
Public broadcasting
Public library
Public security
Public transportation
Social services, (e.g. public housing, social welfare, food subsidies, etc...)
Urban planning
Transportation infrastructure
Waste management, (e.g. wastewater, solid waste, recycling, etc...)
Water supply network

International Widows Day

For years there has been a population of individuals that has when unnoticed by authorities and society. The population is that of widows you know those that have lost their husbands. Many of these have dramatic struggles that are often invisible. The population of widows in countries around the world will face differing situations. Some countries will deny widows their inheritance and land rights. This practice is not only degrading but also life threatening. While mourning their husbands and facing burial time the country you live in persecutes you only for being a widow. 

Often because their husband has been the major bread winner widows are evicted from their homes. At times they may become abused physically or possibly killed by others that are to protect them. Many countries look at the husbands status to define his wives. When the husband dies the status is gone and many believe the lady has no place in society. Social status can only be regained if and when the widow wife marries again. This may be something that they would choose not to do but have no real choice. 
Some countries look at a widow woman with shame. There are those that believe a widow woman has been cursed in cultures and may be even considered witchcraft. Such thoughts lead widow women to not being accepted by society which could have terrible outcomes. Not only can it affect the widow's life but also her children. Emotional and economical problems may occur. Some children are forced to go to work early to help support their family. Over 115 million widows live in poverty struggling to survive. Many widows and their children are malnourished and exposed to disease. Around the world 1.5 million  children of widows will die before their fifth birthday. 

International Widows Day was created to bring awareness to the rights and recognition of widows. There are approximately 245 million widows and over 500 million children who suffer in silence worldwide. More research and stats are needed to show exactly what widows life is. Children of widows face horrors such as child marriage, illiteracy, loss of schooling, forced labor, human trafficking, homelessness and sexual abuse. The Day is to bring awareness to government and what can be done to ensure the rights of widows. The group strives to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and rights of children. 
Part of the issue is that the justice system look over the rights of widows. Programs and policies for helping widows and their wives from having a life in poverty, striving to educate all and supporting all widows no matter what age is needed. Their are groups to help with peace building and reconciliation to ensure that families stay together as well. In addition, widows should be given help to find adequate healthcare, education, decent work, full participation in decision making and public life. The goal is to find lives free of violence and abuse after the period of bereavement.