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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Halloween Recipe : Sugar Cookies

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400.
Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
Add butter to mixer, and mix until whipped.
Slowly add the sugar, and mix until combined.
Add the egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
Lightly flour working surface.
Roll out cookie dough, cut out with shapes, and place onto baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick you make the shapes.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Decorate with favorite frosting (I used buttercream).

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Right Or Left Brain

Have you ever heard the sayings like your heart made you do it or if you had only thought about it. Those words may have been said to or spoke about someone who thinks with their right brain. When they think with their feelings there is a tendency to miscommunicate and misinterpret what is trying to be said. Those who think with the left brain demand facts for explanation while the right brainer tries to understand how everyone would feel.

Individuals who think with their left brain seem to reason with creativity or intuition to find explanation. The world of the world with someone who thinks with the left brain is the life similar to a scientist. Individuals who think rather with their right brain have enough talent and are determined to look into science after finding the answer first.

Individuals who are right brain thinkers hold their beliefs strong. They could be called stubborn They are hard to sell new thoughts to and often can foretell the future. They choose to control their own destination. Right hand brain thinkers are inspirational, do not get writers block and can come up with shocking original statements out of the blue. Perhaps bloggers are mainly right brain thinkers as well??

Those who think with their right brain do not like to be constrained. They will battle against supervision and would rather choose to be their own boss. Regardless of what you offer an individual with right brain thinking they will choose to walk away rather than work constrained with opinionation, overwhelming policies or micromanaging.

What side of your brain do you think with??

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What is Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is one birth defect that affects the spine and spinal cord. The two do not go together and is part of the neural tube defects where embryonic structure that eventually develops into the baby's brain and spinal cord and tissues between them.

The neural tube forms early in pregnancy and by the 28th day it closes. Babies develop spina bifida when a portion of the neural tube fails to close properly or develop. The result is a spinal cord defect or bones in the spine. The defect can range from mild to severe all depending on location, complication, type and size.

Polish American Cooking

Jamestown, Virginia the first Polish settlers arrive in 1608. The first ever Polish American heritage month was celebrated in 1981. The first Polish settlers were among the first skilled workers in America. Prior to that it was celebrated in August. It was President Ronald Reagan who in 1987 recognized Polish Americans and their importance in the United States.

This classic recipe is remarkable for its hearty flavors and adaptability because it pairs really well with just about any meat.  We like it best with braised pork or kielbasa, and of course with a glass or hearty red wine, Polish beer or glass of ice-cold Polish vodka.

• 1 ounce dried mushrooms, washed  (or 4 ounces fresh mushrooms)
• ½ cup water
• 2 pounds sauerkraut, drained, well rinsed and drained again
• 2 small onions, sliced
• 6 slices bacon, partially cooked, and the bacon drippings
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• salt & pepper to taste

Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 45 minutes.  Drain but keep the mushroom water because it has all that good flavor.  Rinse the rehydrated mushrooms in fresh water to make sure no sand is left.  Drain well and slice thinly.  Note:  if using fresh mushrooms, they should be washed, quartered and sautéed in butter or oil.  A little mushroom bullion, available in Polish or Russian delis, can also intensify the mushroom flavor.

Bring the sauerkraut to a low boil and then simmer.  Sauté the sliced onions in butter or oil until they are just golden and add to the pot.  Cut the partially cooked bacon slices into one-inch pieces and add to the pot along with the bacon drippings.  Mix in the flour and sugar and simmer some more.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Let the mix stew for another 30 minutes or so, just making sure the pot does not go dry.  Add water or stock as needed.

This sauerkraut can be served after an hour of stewing but the flavors will be more pronounced if made a day early, cooled and reheated for at least 30 minutes.  One variation which we like a lot, is to add well browned pork chops or a small pork roast to the pot and let the meat braise until fork-tender. One-inch pork chops take about 45 minutes and a small pork roast can take up to two hours.  In either case, as the sauerkraut stews, the flavor actually becomes a bit milder.  And there’s no need to wait until tomorrow.

Energy Awareness

Wow!!! If you have visited my blog before you know that there have been several special days in October all ready. If you have never visited, take a second and look around. Today, is no different as I bring you another great awareness event that takes place in October. This time the cause is Energy Awareness.

October often brings thoughts of  bonfires, hay rides, pumpkins and so much more. But as you switch your warm weather clothes for your cooler weather ones think about how you can be more aware of how much energy your family uses.
Get your family involved by inquiring with them what they think energy is.

Inform your children that energy comes in a variety of forms. Heat, light, motion, and chemicals are all forms of energy. From the supper that is cooked using energy from gas, electricity or even charcoal grill. The food that we eat is even full of energy. Our bodies stores until it needs it to help your body work and put you in motion. Other ways our family use energy include:

  • The form of transportation that we use to get around depends on energy use of gas or electricity. 
  • Our clothes are washed using energy as well. The machines run on gas or electricity.
  • The games, t.v. , stereo and more are all ran on one energy source or another. 
  • Using the fire pit when wood is being burned chemical energy is being used
The list of ways that energy used is limitless. 

Christmas Seals

Christmas seals are labels placed on mail during the Christmas season It is a way to raise funds and bring awareness to many charitable programs.Causes such as that for lung diseases, child welfare and other good and decent causes. They are not postal stamps or related to them

History of Christmas Seals
The early 1900s found a fear of tuberculosis with good reason. Einar Holboll a postal clerk came up with an idea to add an extra charitable stamp on holiday greetings that were being mailed. The money raised would be used to help sick children who suffered from tuberculosis. The King of Denmark as well as the postmaster thought well of the idea and Christmas seals were created.

In the first year of Christmas seal over 4 million were sold. The early years of Christmas seals made enough money to build a sanatorium in Kolding in 1911. It would not take long before Sweden and Iceland followed Denmark and created their own Christmas seal program. Christmas seals have remained popular in every major Scandinavian country in Europe.

In 1907 Emily Bissell introduced Christmas seals to United States. The hopes was to raise money for a sanitarium in Delaware. Bissell's idea would grow and come to be administered by National Association for the Study and Prevention of T.B. and the American Red Cross. The Red Cross would later bow out of the Christmas Seals.

Christmas seals in America today benefit the American Lung Association and other lung related issues. Tuberculosis remains one of the most common major infectious diseases in the world.

Enter to win a Snack Crate

Would this not be great on a cold winter night. I am not sure about where you are but Illinois winters can be cold and the perfect time to sit by the T.V. or computer and enjoy a few snacks. The review is offering a giveaway for those that are like me and think this is the perfect winter item

Information about giveaway:

Three readers will each receive a SnackCrate Original Size Box ($26). This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on 10.31.18

Country Ham and Buttermilk Biscuits

One of my husbands favorite treats is a good country ham. Nearly every holiday we will serve a country ham. A country ham is a ham that is found in southern states of Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland and other close states. The special methods used to cure and smoke the ham is one that we enjoy.

Country hams are salt-cured for an average 1 - 3 months. Hardwoods such as hickory or red oak are used to smoke the ham but there are a few varieties of country ham that are not smoked. The country ham known as the Missouri uses acure mix made with brown sugar and is less salty and milder than other styles. Cured hams can be aged for up to 3 years as they are not fully cooked but are preserved thru the cure.

Country hams can often be seen packaged in rough cotton bags with identifying markings and stamps. The hams do not require refrigeration and can be cooked in a number of different ways. From simply slicing and pan frying to baking whole or even simmering in a bath of water several hours a country ham can be a tasty treat.

Because of the salt cure country hams often have to be soaked in a bath of water and scrubbed.

Country Ham is commonly served with Red Eye Gravy and Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 c. buttermilk (the cheat version is okay)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold water, divided*
1 stick cold or frozen butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.
Create a well in the middle of the bowl. Add the buttermilk, egg, shortening, and 2 tbsp of the cold water into the well. Use a wooden spoon to start mixing and "cutting" to form a dough. Take care to not over-mix.
Add the cubes of butter, and use your hands to knead the butter into the dough (no more than 7-8 times). Some of the butter will incorporate to help moisten the dough, but mostly you want the butter to REMAIN in small chunks throughout the dough. This will make the biscuits fluffy.
Turn dough out onto a non-stick surface (use cooking spray if you need to, but try to avoid using flour which will dry the biscuits out). Press into a 1 1/2 inch layer, making it as level as you can.
Use a round cutter to cut biscuits out. Place each one on the prepared cookie sheet, edges touching each other.
Sprinkle salt over top of the dough.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until outer edges start turning golden brown.
Serve warm! Or store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 2 days. However: best fresh!

recipe source here

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Potato and Cheese Casserole

4-5 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
½ medium-sized sweet onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint heavy cream, divided in half
2 ¼ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup Asiago cheese, grated
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish hot paprika, divided in half (I use Savory’s)
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes, divided in half
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
½ grated Parmesan cheese (you can also use Parmesan/Reggiano)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.** Spray a 1½ quart (or larger) casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish and dot with half of the butter. Place all of the onion slices and minced garlic on top of the potato slices, and then pour half of the cream on top of that.

Mix the cheddar and Asiago cheeses together and place half of it on the potatoes. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of parsley, salt and pepper to taste on top of the cheese

Add the rest of the cream, cheese, paprika and parsley. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Bake for 30 minutes and then sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top.
Bake for another 30 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is bubbly. I like to broil this for a couple of minutes so the top gets nicely browned.

recipe resource here

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Roast Pheasant and Gravy

1 pheasant (substitute for Cornish hen)
3 shallots, coarsely chopped (or 1 onion)
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
2 potatoes
1 sweet potato
Fresh thyme
Fresh sage
Salt and pepper
Grape seed oil (or any oil you choose)

4 slices of bacon (optional)

Pre-heat oven 400
Chop all vegetables into chunks. Cut garlic cloves in half. Place all vegetables on bottom of roasting pan. Drizzle vegetables with oil and mix.
Chop herbs finely and have them ready.
Wash and oil pheasant.
Place pheasant in the center of roasting pan, ensuring the pheasant touches the bottom of the pan.
Salt and pepper the bird and vegetables.
Rub pheasant with generous amount of sage and thyme. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining herbs.
Place bacon on top of pheasant.
Uncovered, place roasting pan in oven. Cook 15 minutes until bacon is cooked.
Remove bacon from top of bird, and put in with the vegetables.
Cover and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until bird is done.

Pheasant or Hen Gravy
Drippings from your roasted pheasant or chicken
Cracked pepper
Vegetta (vegetable bouillon)

Put drippings in pot. Add water to thin out fats, until the desired volume of gravy is reached.
Add cracked pepper, and vegetta to taste. Thicken with flour.
To thicken, dissolve flour in water before adding to the gravy.

recipe resource here

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Selecting, Cutting and Making a Yummy Pineapple Recipe

When searching for that perfect pineapple do you know what to look for?? I can tell you one thing , external color does not indicate ripeness. The best bet is to choose fresh looking pineapple with green leaves and a firm shell.

Whole pineapples should be stored at room temp and eaten within a few days. If you need to keep it longer put it in the fridge. For even longer use time cut the pineapple up and freeze it, but beware freezing pineapple may cause it to lose some flavor.

Slicing pineapple:

  • Cut off the top crown and bottom of pineapple.
  • With pineapple on but base start to cut away the peel in strips. Cuts should be deep enough to remove the eyes

  • Cut pineapple in half lengthwise and then in half lengthwise again. 
  • With pineapple in quarters it should be easy to cut out center of pineapple
  • Chunk up pineapple 
  • enjoy

1 butter cake mix or yellow
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup pineapple juice
4 cups blueberries
8 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs
1 16 oz. can crushed pineapple - drained - reserve juice
1/2 cup butter - melted
3 cups confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl dump the cake mix, egg, 1.2 cup melted butter and pineapple juice. Mix until it is thoroughly combined. Press on the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Sprinkle the blueberries over the base. Press them down lightly into the batter.
In another bowl combine the cream cheese, 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined. Make sure the crushed pineapple is well drained. Add to the cream cheese. Mix until combined and add the confectionery sugar. When mixed pour over the blueberries.
Bake at 350 (325 if a glass pan) for an hour. Check several times before that. A tester should be clean when you check it. If in doubt leave in another 5 minutes.

recipe resource here

Reuben Dog

When I was a kid, on special occasions we would go to the local drug store where they also had a small diner and enjoy lunch. I can recall the great reubens that they would serve there. This reuben dog helps bring back those great childhood memories 

4 polska kielbasa-style sausages
Homemade Russian Dressing (recipe below)
4 pretzel rolls, split down the middle with “hinge” intact
4 slices Swiss cheese
1 cup sauerkraut

Heat your outdoor grill until nice and hot (or you can even use an indoor grill pan, if you prefer); add the sausage and grill for a few minutes on all sides until nice and charred and smoky; set aside and keep warm.
Turn off the grill, and place a foil-lined baking sheet onto the grates, and close the grill to keep it hot (you will need the heat to melt the cheese once the rolls are assembled).

-To assemble the “rolls”, generously spread some of the Homemade Russian Dressing onto both top’s and bottom’s of the toasted pretzel rolls, and add in the Swiss cheese; place the rolls onto the foil-lined baking sheet inside the grill, and close the grill to allow the cheese to melt in the residual heat; add the sausage, and top with about ¼ cup of the sauerkraut.

Homemade Russian Dressing 

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon very finely minced onion
1 ½ tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
Dash or two hot sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish (optional)
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper

-Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and whisk to combine; use immediately, or store in fridge in a covered container.

recipe source here

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Monday, October 15, 2018

October is Pizza Month check out these Great Halloween Month

In 1984 October became the month to observe National Pizza Month. Most of North America will observe National Pizza Month. Many, an estimated 94% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month. To feed all those individuals pizza there has to be a lot of pizzerias, an estimated 60,000 + exist in the United States. A hefty amount, nearly 23 lbs or 45 slices of pizza a person is consumed by each person in the United States in a year.

The love of pizza started like many other things do. It was brought home to the United States by American soldiers who were based in Italy during World War II. While there they fell in love with the taste of pizza and brought this love for the treat back home to those they love in America.

During the month there should be lots of great deals, sales, new pizza combos created and a grand variety of themes as every one celebrates National Pizza Month.

Try some of these great pizza ideas for halloween

These fun spider pizzas look hauntingly fun check them out here 

how about a great jack o lantern pizza found out more here 

or create your own the way you want to. Find this great post here 

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Farmhouse Sandwich

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup sour cream
1⁄4 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 cup sauerkraut, drained (1/2 of an 8-oz can)
3⁄4 tablespoon butter, melted
12 slices country bread
18 slices swiss cheese
6 slices ham (thinly sliced)
pickle (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, seeds & pepper; stir in kraut; set aside.
On a foil-lined baking sheet, place six slices bread--first brush each with melted butter (save some for the other half of the sammie); top with a slice of cheese, then 1/6th of the kraut mixture,then a slice of ham and two slices of cheese--do this on all six slices of bread.
Brush remaining six slices of bread with melted butter; place on cheese--with butter side up, to make six sandwiches.
Bake for 10 minutes (cheese is melted, bread is lightly browned)--turn once during that time.
Remove from oven; slice diagonally, serve with pickles.

SEPTEMBER HARVEST: Remember Johnny Appleseed by placing a few thin slices of apple between the ham and cheese.

NEBRASKA REUBEN: Salute Omaha's claim to fame and use thinly sliced corned beef instead of the ham.

CRUNCHY BITES: Add a few sunflower kernels to the sauerkraut mixture and honor those hardy souls in North Dakota who raise huge fields of sunflowers!

BOOST YOUR PROTEIN: Stir about a 1/4-cup of cooked edible soybeans (edamame) into the sauerkraut mixture and thank a South Dakota farmer!

recipe source here

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Safe Sleep Prevent SIDS and other Sleep Issues in Babies

Each year in the Untied States there will be 3,500 sleep related deaths among babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that this number is an accumulation of all sleep deaths including SIDS. Thus creating a safe sleep area for babies is very important.

Some tips that may help you prepare that safe sleep area include:

  • Babies should sleep om their backs at both night time and naps. A babies gag reflex will prevent them from choking while sleeping on their backs. Babies sleeping on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS. 
  • Babies should sleep on a crib mattress or other firm, flat sleep surface. Softer surfaces can increase the risk of sleep related deaths.  The firm sleep surface helps reduce risk of SIDS and suffocation. 

  • Baby should sleep in same room as parents for the first 6 months years of age, some recommend the first year. Allowing the baby to sleep in caregiver bed may make unsafe sleep surfaces or lead to suffocation or strangulation. 
  • Blankets, pillows, bumper pads and soft toys should not be in babies immediate sleep area. Babies head should not be covered when sleeping. Blankets and comforters can increase heat and lead to suffocation. 

Pear Season

The USA is proud growers and suppliers of many crops both fruit and veggies. One fruit grown in the United States is pears. There are ten varieties of pears grown in the states. Each type of pear has its own color, flavor, and texture. With the great climate and growing season in the United States pears are in season year round. Pears offer fiber, potassium, antioxidants and vitamin C.

When serving pears consider using winter spices to dress them up. Ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise. For a simple dish with lots of taste slice up a pear, sprinkle with a mix of cinnamon, ginger , nutmeg and cloves and roast in oven 10 to 15 minutes

Poached pears make a delicious dessert. Poaching liquid can be anything from red wine, beetroot, or ginger syrup. Pears also go well in tarts and pies. Pears are delicious served with wild game bird. Pears can be roasted along other veggies such as carrots, garlic and shallots to be served along side the game bird.

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is the name that an English recipe writer Hannah Glasse named the grand old dish that had been around for centuries. Previously the dish had been known as dipped pudding or drip puddings The recipe cooks to marry wheat flour and meat dripping. Dripping puddings, which did not rise up where they were to be and thus were flatter became known as Yorkshire puddings

Yorkshire pudding is an eggy , puffed up pancake dish The dish is traditionally served before the main course with gravy and meat drippings. In effect it is sort of a meat donut. The original pudding was flatter and and cooked in a tin under the mat. The meat was roasted on a spit over a fire so the pudding caught all meat drippings. The human body requires some dietary fat to facilitate the absorption of some vitamins.

Yorkshire pudding in the past centuries was made up in large tray pans but today they are commonly found in small amounts. It is common to find Yorkshire pudding served with meat and onion with gravy before the main meal to help fill up in order to serve less meat and veggies in the main meal.

The ingredients in Yorkshire Pudding are often staples found in every kitchen. Eggs, milk and flour are the main 3 ingredients add a little bit of lard and they are a bit tastier but oil can do the job as well. Common Yorkshire Pudding style dishes include Toad in the Hole. Tips for cooking Yorkshire Pudding:

  • never use self raising flour, baking powder or any raising agent. These ingredients will achieve flat, soggy puddings
  • the mix should be a little thicker than unwhipped double cream and as smooth as possible. 
  • Heat the fat until hot and smoking a bit before adding batter
  • Leave the oven door closed for 10 minutes at the start of cooking. Allow the pudding to rise and go brown without collapsing

For the Puddings:
4 large eggs (measured in a jug)
Equal quantity of milk to eggs
Equal quantity of all purpose/plain flour to eggs
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons lard (or beef dripping or vegetable oil)
For the Gravy:
2 medium onions (peeled and thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
750 milliliters beef stock
4 teaspoons corn starch
4 teaspoons water (cold
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Pour the eggs and milk into a large mixing bowl and add the pinch of salt. Whisk thoroughly with an electric hand beater or hand whisk. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Gradually sieve the same volume of flour (as the eggs) into the milk and egg mixture, again using an electric hand beater or hand-whisk to create a lump free batter resembling thick cream, if there are any lumps pass the batter through a fine sieve.
Leave the batter to rest in the kitchen for a minimum of 30 minutes, longer if possible - up to several hours.
When ready to cook your Yorkshire puddings, heat the oven to the highest temperature possible, however, do not exceed 450F/230C or the fat may burn.

Meanwhile, make the gravy
Melt the oil and butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the onion and cover with a lid. Cook slowly for approx 10 mins or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar to the onions and stir well. Cover with the lid and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the stock and boil gently uncovered for 5 minutes.
In a heatproof jug or bowl mix the corn starch/flour with the cold water to a thin paste. Pour a little of the hot gravy into the starch mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the starch mixture back into the gravy, raise the heat to high and boil for 10 minutes or until the gravy is slightly thickened. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Cook the Puddings
Place a pea-sized piece of lard, dripping or a tsp vegetable oil into your chosen Yorkshire pudding tin, or a 4 x 2"/5cm hole tin or 12-hole muffin tin and heat in the oven until the fat is smoking. Give the batter another good whisk adding 2 tbsp of cold water and fill a third of each section of the tin with batter and return quickly to the oven.
Leave to cook until golden brown approx 20 minutes. Repeat the last step again until all the batter is used up.
Serve on hot plates drenched in delicious onion gravy.

recipe source here

Yummy Spinach Dip Recipe

1 (10 ounce) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (8 ounce) block of Philadelphia cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1-1/2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces) - reserve 1/2 cup
1 package of Knorr vegetable recipe mix or dry Ranch dressing mix
1 (14 ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except set aside 1/2 cup of cheese. Spoon mixture into a 2 quart casserole, top with the 1/2 cup of cheese.
Bake 35 minutes until hot. Serve warm with corn chips, tortilla chips, or crackers. Can also place into a chafing or warming dish and wait to top with the extra 1/2 cup of shredded cheese then.

Cheesy Spinach Dip with Bacon: Substitute 1 pound of cubed Velveeta for the Monterey Jack and reduce cream cheese to 4 ounces. Omit the artichokes, add 6 slices of cooked and chopped bacon and a can of Rotel diced tomatoes.

Spinach and Onion Dip: Dice two Vidalia or other sweet onions and saute in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, cooking until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Combine with all remaining ingredients above, except omit the artichokes, and bake as above. Include chopped, cooked bacon if desired.

recipe resource here

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Venison Sausage Chilli #Recipe

10 oz. hot bulk venison sausage (or any ground meat)
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked kidney beans (or 1 can)
1 cup cooked chickpeas (or 1/2 can)
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup chicken or veggie stock
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until veggies are tender and sausage is browned. Drain off any fat, and pour this mixture into a medium-sized crock pot (I used a 3 1/2 quart one). Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, stirring occasionally if possible. Serves 4-5.

This was tasty, but make sure to start this on a day when you don't plan on spending much time in the house. It smelled so good while it was cooking that I ended up snacking all afternoon. I wasn't even that hungry by the time the chili was ready, but I definitely ate a bowl of it. I don't know that I liked it as much as the black bean and sausage chili or quinoa and black bean chili that I've made in the last few months, but it was still quite good (hmmm... perhaps I prefer black beans in my chili!). It's perfect if you're looking for a very traditional chili, and the recipe couldn't get any easier.

Sausage Pinwheels

Whether you serve these at breakfast, at break or even supper these little bites are super tasty. Enjoy!!!

1 can Crescent Rolls
1 pound sausage
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
½ small onion chopped
2 tablespoons bell pepper, chopped

Cook sausage, onion and bell pepper until meat is browned.
Drain fat and mix the meat mixture with the softened cream cheese.
Unroll the crescent dough onto a large pan or cutting boar, leaving the full sheet intact.
Press seams together and roll out slightly.
Spread the meat/cheese mixture over the sheet of dough.
Start at the long end and gently roll the dough into a roll.
Place the rolled dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to chill (dough will hold and cut better once chilled).
Remove from the fridge and preheat oven to 375º F.
Use a sharp knife and with a sawing motion - cut the roll into into 1 inch pinwheels.
Place each pinwheel onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 375º F oven for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.

recipe resource here

Two Important People In My Life

Beef Stew Perfect for Fall and a Kitchen Tip

4 to 5 pound blade beef roast
4 tbsp canola oil
2 cups burgundy wine you can substitute any full bodied red wine of your choice
4 cups low sodium beef stock
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves minced garlic
2 large onions roughly chopped
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 bay leaf
2 pounds carrots cut in chunks
1 pound parsnip cut in chunks
3 pounds baby red potatoes washed and unpeeled

Cut the roast into large chunks about 1 ½ inches in size. Salt and pepper the raw meat to season. Toss the beef chunks in regular flour to coat.
In a large heavy bottomed skillet heat the canola oil.
Brown the beef chunks on all sides, working in small batches so as not to crowd your pan. When all the beef is browned transfer it to a large roaster.
Add to the roaster, along with the beef, and all of the other ingredients except the carrot, parsnip and potatoes.
Stir all the ingredients in the roaster then cover well with aluminum foil and the roaster cover. Cook slowly in a 300 degree oven for about 1 ½ to 2 hours before adding the carrots and parsnip.
Return to the oven for about a half hour before adding the potatoes.
Return to the oven for about half an hour to 45 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly fork tender. Add 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with freshly baked bread, biscuits or Yorkshire pudding.

recipe source here

Kitchen Tip:
Be careful when cooking that juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects do not accidentally touch cooked or ready to eat foods such as fruits or salads. If the dirty and clean do mix it is known as cross-contamination Cleaning correctly is important so that harmful bacteria will not have a chance to live. It is a great idea to have separate cutting boards for meat only, gluten free only, veggie only and another for anything else needed. Avoiding cross contamination is important

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Halloween Eggy Eyeballs

6 green olives
4 black olives
2 tbsp tomato purée
125g mozzarella pearls

Carefully cut the green olives into 1.5cm-wide discs. Slice small circles from the black olives to fit inside the green olive discs.
Use the tomato purée to stick each green olive on to a mozzarella pearl, then attach the black olives on top of the green olives with a little more tomato purée if needed. Use a thin piping nozzle to pipe wriggly tomato purée lines all over the mozzarella.
Transfer to a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Pass the Salt

In the medical world we often hear about low sodium diets. The reason is that many processed and prepared foods are filled with sodium, not to mention the extra salt we add to our food. The result of too much salt is high blood pressure, water retention, dehydration, premature aging, hair loss, and dull taste buds. However, salt is needed in the body to help balance out electrolytes.

Table salt that is most commonly used is the chemical compound sodium chloride rather than salt that appears in natural source. Table salt is reduced only to have a combination of sodium and chloride.

  • Iodine is added to table salt to help prevent goiter as well as additives such as magnesium carbonate or sodium silicoaluminate are added to salt to prevent clumping 

Sea salt contains a total of 84 elements that the body needs. This is salt is produced by evaporating sea water Tips for finding the best sea salt include:

  • 100% natural with no additives. The sea salt should be harvested and processed by organic methods, unrefined and free of pesticides, herbicides and chemicals
  • Grey salt is organic French sea salt, moist and unrefined and high minerals. The salt is light grey, almost light purple color The salt is collected by hand using traditional Celtic methods
  • Himalayan crystal salt comes from Pakistan. This salt is viewed as food and considered holistic, wholesome, unaltered, natural salt 

Benefits of Sea Salt:

  • Sea Salt contains 60 different essential trace elements and minerals. 
  • Sea salt prevents excessive dehydration and balances body fluids by adding sodium and potassium
  • Sea salt is an excellent source for electrolytes Sodium, magnesium, potassium are all electrolytes found in sea salt. Electrolytes play a role in heartbeat regulation as well as helping muscles 
  • Sea salt helps synchronize brain, muscles and nervous system to function to work together
  • Sea salts help regulate health of digestive tract 

Pumpkin Jam

1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree*
3/4 cup apple juice, apple cider or orange juice
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
sweetener to taste*
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine pumpkin, juice and spices in a large saucepan; stir well. Give it a taste and sweeten as needed.* Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Makes lots! Great on toast, biscuits, pancakes, etc. Can for yourself or pour into small decorative jars to give as seasonal hostess gifts.

*Or use 1 1/2-2 cups of your own cooked/baked/steamed pumpkin, pureed.
*Choose natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave syrup. If using honey, choose unpasteurized and stir in after jam is cooked and cooled down slightly.

FOR CANNING: Spoon hot pumpkin mixture into hot, boiled jars, filling to within 1/4 inch from top. Remove air bubbles by firmly tapping jar on the counter. Wipe jar rims and cover tightly. Finish off by processing in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Or, simply spoon into an air-tight jar or container and store refrigerated for up to a month.

recipe resource here

Baked Apples

3 red apples
1/4 cup oats or flake cereal
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Wash and core the apples (I used a vegetable peeler to cut and scoop out the core). Place a few pieces of walnuts at the bottom of each apple cavity. In a small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients, then spoon into each apple cavity, and top with a few walnut pieces. Place in an oven-proof dish and bake 30 to 45 minutes (30 for firm but cooked apples, and up to 45 for soft, melt-in-your-mouth apples). Top with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cardamom. Serves 3.

FAT-FREE or VEGAN: omit butter and replace with 3 Tbsp apple juice
EXTRA DECADENT: serve with vanilla frozen yogurt :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy

one meat that my husband loves is a good old country ham. Country ham is produced by following an old method of curing and smoking a ham. In the United States Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, and other nearby states prepare country hams.

Many Americans only know the kind of ham that is glazed and baked. These hams are very sweet. But there are many ways to make hams. But first, what is a ham?? It can best be described as the preserved leg of pork. The most common ways of preserving are smoking, salting and brining. Ham flavor range from only salt and pepper to gourmet spice blends and glazes.

A country ham is traditionally dry cured in salt. At times other preservatives are used. The ham is then aged for a few months. After aging country hams may be smoked but this is not something that has to happen. Most country hams are only flavored with salt, sugar and pepper. The ham is one of the saltier styles of ham. Country hams are not fully cooked, but preserved via a cure. Sold in stores unrefrigerated as whole, bone in hams packaged in rough cotton bags or presoaked, sliced, vacuum packed and ready to cook.

Cooking a country ham can be completed a few different ways. one of my husbands favorite methods is slicing and pan frying. The hams can also be baked whole and simmered for hours in flavored water. If cooking the ham whole it should be scrubbed and soaked for several hours before eating to remove salt cure and mold.

Baked or boiled country ham is sliced paper thin and served with buttermilk biscuits and butter. Fried ham is often served in sandwich or alone. Leftover trimming and scraps, cooked bones, and sawn off hock can all be used to flavor greens while cooking.

2 slices ham steaks (each 1/2-inch thick)
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup brewed black coffee - cold
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Place butter in a large skillet and place over medium heat. When butter foams, add ham steak. Cook until nicely browned on both sides. Remove ham to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add brown sugar to pan, stirring until dissolved. Place coffee in a jar with a tight fitting cover and add flour. Shake vigorously to remove lumps then add to pan. Bring to a boil and stir until gravy thickens. Reduce heat and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.

Return ham slices to pan to re-warm and slather with gravy. Serve and enjoy.

recipe source here