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Saturday, August 13, 2016


One of my childhood friends grew up in a house with a mother that loved sunflowers. Each year she would plant her garden and include sunflowers in the garden as well. The sunflowers would grow up and stand up proud and tall. I will never remember how tall those sunflowers grew as they towered over us as we played and worked that garden.

Not all sunflowers are alike. They vary in size and color where some are tall and produce one flower and others not as tall but produce several blossoms that bloom on branched stems. 

The sunflower named "Fun in the Sun" has plants that stand tall over 15 feet tall. These giant plants produce a beauty all of their own. 

Sunflower plants known as Hallo are not as tall as they stand around 5 feet tall only a 1/3 of their super giant size cousins.

If you did not know this deep burgundy colored sunflower is known as a Chianti. A velvet like plant that will stand at full growth around 4 to 5 feet tall.

Sugar Donut Muffins

These sweet Sugar Donut Muffins will be great as we head back to school. A breakfast that can be made ahead of time and ate on the run. There will be days as we return to routine that we will not feel like making breakfast or getting off of the schedule finding ourselves needing to eat a quick breakfast. Enjoy!!

Sugar Donut Muffins

-3/4 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-2 tsp baking power
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-3/4 cup milk (low fat is fine)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp butter, melted
-1/2 cup sugar and some cinnamon, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract. Divide batter evenly into muffin pans.
Bake for 15-18 minutes for standard-sized muffins or 11-12 minutes for mini-muffins.While muffins are baking, melt butter and pour remaining sugar into a small bowl, add cinnamon to taste (about 1tsp worked well for me).
When muffins are done, lightly brush the top of each with some melted butter, remove from the pan and roll in sugar. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Salt It Was A Great Commodity

Southern Illinois is a place of diversity and many secrets. I am sure that there are many places that may have a history that is not spoken well about. My friend stands here by the sign the describes the work of the salt mines. Yes, there are many that know about the salt industry it just does not come up in every day talk. It was full of so much good, bad and yes even evil. 

Recently while doing a bit of research for our history I came upon a page about salt mines in other places. As a foodie as I read I was intrigued about the food in other areas as well. It seems that in NY there was a salt mine and the industry was as vast and full of history as that in southern Illinois. I want to share the history of the "salt potatoes" here with you today

Hearing about these wonderful "Salt Potatoes" and the story about the salt mine under western NY reminded me of our Southern Illinois rich history as well. In NY you would find the Irish working the mine in the 1800s they would make a lunch of potatoes by boiling the salt water. The salt water would make the potatoes come out creamy, salty and yummy Salt Potatoes are still available in NY ready to boil. For all of you not in NY here is the recipe just for you

New York Salt Potatoes

8 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of kosher salt (add another cup if using the Diamond Crystal brand)
3 pounds well-scrubbed small red or white potatoes, as uniform in size as possible and with skins on
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
1. Bring salt and water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Drain potatoes in a strainer and place pot back on stove over medium heat and add butter. When just melted, after about a minute, add potatoes and, if desired, herbs and black pepper. Toss and serve immediately.
Go for it this weekend. Grill yourself a nice steak and boil up some corn. And try these potatoes. Then come back and tell me what you thought.
Have a good weekend, all. And thanks Ca-Joh for reminding me that I need to make these before the summers out!

Jiffy Tamale Pie

  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 TB. butter or margarine
  • 2 15-oz. cans chili (with beans)
  • 1 12-oz. can corn, drained
  • 3/4 cup black olives, chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 package corn muffin mix
from Better Homes and Gardens Jiffy Cooking (1967)
In large skillet, cook onion and pepper in butter until tender. Stir in chili, corn and olives, bring to boil. Add cheese and stir to melt. Pour into baking pan. Prepare muffin mix according to package directions. Spoon dough in diagonal bands across top of casserole. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes.
This one seems very much like a tamale pie, although named differently. Note how no additional spices, even salt and pepper, are required ... I guess that's what makes it "jiffy" cooking.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Harvest season will be here before you know it. Until it reaches us enjoy the garden veggies in any way you choose. Perhaps you will choose to enjoy them in a sandwich. Not just any sandwich though, a grilled vegetable sandwich. Applying heat to food allows the sugars in the foods to caramelize. Oven roasted vegetables and grilled vegetables both caramel while cooking. Many years ago the Hard Rock Cafe served a grilled vegetables sandwich. I hope you enjoy this sandwich and include many veggies from your garden. 

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches 
Makes 2 sandwiches with some grilled veggies left over for snacks

4 Tbs mayonnaise
1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley (dried works fine)
pinch dried oregano
pinch salt (All measurements for mayo seasonings are estimates. Add more or less to taste.)
1 red or orange bell pepper—washed, seeded and quartered (or sliced into large-ish slices that won’t fall through your grill grates)
1 small zucchini—cut off top and bottom, then slice lengthwise into thin strips. (Preferably thinner than 1/4th inch.)
1 yellow summer squash—prepare just like you did the zucchini
1 eggplant—cut off top, peel, and slice lengthwise into thin strips (Again, go thin or it’ll be hard to bite through.)
olive oil (I’ve been known to use Pam spray or olive oil in a mister bottle for ease and convenience.)
2 sandwich rolls (Sourdough is really good.)
1 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
6-8 red onion rings (about one slice of a red onion separated into rings)
3-4 slices tomato (1 medium tomato)
2 leaves Romaine or red leaf lettuce–ripped into sandwich sized pieces
  1. Preheat your barbecue or stovetop grill. (I’ve used my George Forman when it’s too cold to grill outside.)
  2. Put the mayo into a small bowl and add the seasonings. Mix well and then stash in the fridge until you’re ready to make the sandwiches.
  3. Brush all of the vegetable pieces with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle lightly with salt. (This is where the sprayer comes in handy if you have one.)
  4. Cook the red pepper on a hot grill for 2 to 3 minutes. At that point, add the remaining vegetables to the grill and cook everything for 4 to 5 more minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and start to turn golden. (Be sure to turn them halfway through the cooking time.)
  5. Cut your two rolls lengthwise to make sandwich buns.
  6. Spread your mayo mixture on the tops of each roll. (I usually make 5 or 6 Tbs of the mayo and put it on the top and bottom.)
  7. Place the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash on the bottom of your bun. Put your red pepper pieces on top of that.
  8. Sprinkle the Parm over the peppers if you’re using it.
  9. Stack on the onions, lettuce, and then tomato.
  10. Add your top bun, stick toothpicks in both ends to keep it together, and slice diagonally before eating.

Easy Garden Soup

Summertime does not seem like the perfect time to make soup until you take into consideration the conveniences that we have today. Concentrated chicken stock tubs that makes 3.5 cups of broth. Keep them on hand for easy to make meals. My daughter in law brought some over the other night and so I think I may just make her up a pan of soup using veggies from the garden. 

Using whatever we have on hand from pasta to the garden veggies anything can be added in. Looking for a protein kick add in some beans, looking for something to help ease your allergies then add in noodles and a few chopped up carrots. Soup is better the second day so make up a batch put it in the fridge and reheat as needed.

Easy Garden Soup
Serves: 4
Total cook time: 6 minutes

Two tubs  concentrated chicken stock
7 cups of water
1 cup frozen diced carrots
2 cups small pasta

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer for 6 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping.

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Meal Idea Chhicken Taco Salad

Its hot out there this yummy dish will make your mouth hot but your kitchen will stay cool

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
 2/3 cup light sour cream 
1 tablespoon minced chipolata Chile 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 teaspoon chili powder 
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice 
1/4 teaspoon salt 

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce 
2 cups chopped roasted boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts) 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado 
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained 
To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently Serve immediately.

David Bonom, Cooking Light 
AUGUST 2006 

Peach Crunch Cake

Each year our area has an annual peach fest.  So in honor of this little town in Illinois doing all they can to keep peaches yummy and fun I share the following recipe

Peach Crunch Cake

24.5 oz jar of sliced peaches in light syrup

1 package yellow cake mix

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 16 pieces

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Layer ingredients in a 13 X 9 dish, in order starting with the peaches.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

Serve warm or cold… with or without ice cream.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Catfish Month

Here in southern Illinois we are not to far from the river on either side of us. The great thing about that is that there is always awesome restaurants located near the river. One of my favorites in Hardin, Illinois is the Barefoot bar. There you will find delicious food and a great view of the river. Remember to enjoy.

Closer to home, well not to far away from me you will find the little town of Elizabethtown Illinois. While small in number this little town has a river boat restaurant that offers a bit flavor. The catfish platter is our favorite. By the way, the view can not be beat. 

If you have visited annies home before then you know that we love to share great recipes. Why not share adelicious cat fish recipe that you can make at home. Thisrecipe found here will allow you to stay at home and still get that delicious catfish taste.

6 catfish filets, boneless and skinless
Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
3 cups fine-ground cornmeal
Canola oil

1. Generously season the filets with salt and pepper. Set out two shallow bowls. Mix the beaten eggs with the milk in one bowl and put the cornmeal in the other. Dip the filets first in the eggy milk, then dredge in the cornmeal.

2. Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat to 350˚ on a candy thermometer. In batches, gently slide the filets into the oil and fry for 6 minutes. Turn the pieces over with a slotted spoon and cook an additional 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season well

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Deal on Cat Litter

Printable $2 coupon available at Clump and


One of my favorite plants is a flowering shrub known as Hydrangea. These beautiful perennial bushes come with huge flower heads and around here are often nicknamed snowballs. These deciduous bushes are native to North and South America, Himalayas and Central and Eastern Asia. I recall the beauty of Hydrangea in a bush like fashion many times used like a sectional border fashion

These beautiful bushes come in the colors of white, pink, blue, lilac, purple and other shades within these colors. Some even may have what appears to be two tones. The flower heads of Hydrangea are composed of made up of two types of florets. There are the ray florets that form the large, colorful sepals on the outside of the flower head. The fertile florets have both sex parts and are found in the center of the cluster.

Hydrangea bushes have attractive foliage during spring thru fall. The plants can grow between 3 and 10 feet tall. There are some varieties of hydrangea that can grow up to 25 feet tall. Most varieties desire full sun to partial shade.

As the weather turns cold the leaves of the plant will fall and the leafless bush become less attractive clump of stalks and stems that are normally cut down until the following spring

Hydrangeas are grown from cutting starts. Starts are available to cut between april and august. A new growth should be cut about 6" to 8" from the end of non-flowering stems. The cutting should have two to three pairs of leaves. The bottom leaves should be removed when the plant is planted in sandy soil in a shady location. Cover the cutting with a glass jar or clear plastic til the roots form. 

while there are no real lazy days for parents, grand-parents and care givers but like everyone else we love to goof off just a bit. Not every day has to be a work day while there are things that we will need to do we decided to take the day off and just relax a bit. With the weather hot and muggy it is a great time to kick back and be lazy for a day. Spend the day on a hammock, sitting on the deck or like we did in the pool. Enjoy your summer beverage and have a lazy day.

We loved our lazy day and while celebrated prior to national lazy day any day you have a chance you can enjoy a lazy day. National Lazy Day occurs on August 10th each year. It is a day to just relax and do little to nothing.

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Our Lazy Day

while there are no real lazy days for parents, grand-parents and care givers but like everyone else we love to goof off just a bit. Not every day has to be a work day while there are things that we will need to do we decided to take the day off and just relax a bit. With the weather hot and muggy it is a great time to kick back and be lazy for a day. Spend the day on a hammock, sitting on the deck or like we did in the pool. Enjoy your summer beverage and have a lazy day.

We loved our lazy day and while celebrated prior to national lazy day any day you have a chance you can enjoy a lazy day. National Lazy Day occurs on August 10th each year. It is a day to just relax and do little to nothing.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9th Through The Years:

This date in history has held many first and other important dates here are just a few that caught my interest. You may want to do some research to see what else might catch yours

  1831: the first steam locomotive began its first trip between Schenectady & Albany, NY. 

Alva Fisher helped to make the slave chore of washing clothes easier with the first electric washer

Betty Boop dixie dishes appeared in 1930

1973 - The U.S. Senate committee investigating the Watergate affair filed suit against President Richard Nixon. 

1974 - U.S. PresidentRichard Nixon formally resigned. Gerald R. Ford took his place, and became the 38th president of the U.S. 

1981 - Major league baseball teams resumed play at the conclusion of the first mid-season players’ strike.

What was your most remarkable moment on this date through the years?? 

National Rice Pudding Day

National Rice Pudding Day occurs on August 9th every year. So on this date try some rice pudding or better yet make up some rice pudding and share with family and friends. You may find it to be amazing as it can be served both hot or cold. It can be dressed up in many different ways as well.

1/2 pound long grain white rice, cooked (still warm)
1 quart milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup milk (additional)
1/2 cup raisins
1. Add the milk to the warm rice, mix thoroughly.
2. Add sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Mix well.
3. Melt teaspoon of butter, add 1/4 cup milk. Heat through but do not boil.
3. Place rice mixture in an oven safe dish and pour butter-milk mixture on top.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F and bake for 25 minutes or until browned.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Happy Birthday Odie

Today is Odie Day. Odie you ask who exactly is that?? Well, Odie is often out shined by his friend Garfield. But all the same Odie is the a fictional character in a Jim Davis comic strip titled Garfield Odie has been featured in shows like Garfield and Friends, and The Garfield Show. Loved by many as Garfields loyal sidekick a wire haired dachshund / terrier mix that Garfield refers to as a "purebred clown"

Jim Davis the creator of Odie came up with the idea after writing a car dealership commercial. Odie in the commercial was a village idiot. Since Davis liked the name Odie he used it again. However, when Garfield was first submitted to those in charge the part of the dog was called spot. It was changed after he found out that a fellow artist had used the name spot for a dog in another piece of work. Odie was introduced in the cartoon strip August 8, 1978.  The human character Jon in the cartoon strip adopted Odie at a veterinarian center.

Happiness Happens Day

Recently we posted on the many reasons we are happy and decided that you too should admit that you are happy. Each year on August 8th you can enjoy another day devoted to happiness. This time it is Happiness Happens Day. Think about the many things that make you happy and enjoy National Happiness Happens Day.

What is it that makes you happy?? Is it your family, your spouse or friends, your house or place you work or is it something you like to do?? So many things in life make me happy and best of all not only happy but blessed. I have a feeling that I have a wonderful family, great job, awesome friends, and oh my I love to be out doing things with all of them. No matter what it is that makes you happy I hope that the joy that it provides puts a smile on your face. 

Recognizing the happiness in every moment of life is worth living for. Moments in life that make you smile are filled with glee, joy, delight, and pleasure. Take time to enjoy happy moments in your life. 

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