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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. 

shared this informational post at
silver pennies sunday
really crafty party

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Country Cooking

June is country cooking month. What exactly is that you may ask?? Well, it could mean many different things. To me it means good old cooking like my mother, grandmother, mother in law and so many others in my life cooked. Others may think it means good recipes and home made meals. Some may even associate the term with being frugal and knowing how to get the most for your cooking dollar. There may even be some that think of fatty, unhealthy foods or cooking methods. You may be surprised to know that country cooking can mean a bit of everything but I want to change the thoughts of those who think it to be unhealthy. 

Country cooking month is in June and you may be surprised to see that how much good old fashioned cooking goes on in the warm summer months. The home gardens, grilling and the amount of meals that are made simply make up that June is a great moth to host this event. Canning and freezing also makes up a lot of country cooking time. 

To those of you who think that country cooking is unhealthy this is not always true. The old artery clogging, fat filled meals that were made with lard using vintage recipes has changed. Health needs and options for cooking has changed and country cooks have altered recipes to accommodate new cooking methods, foods, seasonings and serving ideas. The awesome flavor still shine out in these delicious country cooking meals. 

In the next few days be watching for many great country cooking recipes shared here. 

Take a Hike

June 20th is take a hike with a geek day but any day  is a great day to unplug from technology and get out there and take a look at nature. Southern Illinois has some beautiful paths to take a hike on. 

Cherry Tart

June host National Cherry Tart Day. Cherries is one fruit that grows on nearly all continents. Some areas they have shorter season than others. Cherry tarts are best baked with fresh cherries. Frozen and preserved cherries will not taste as good as fresh ones.

The Cherry Festival in Michigan is where the National Cherry Tart Day began. A tart is like a pie, flan and quiche all at the same time. While America claims the pie as our favorite and the tart is a french invention and if you make a savory tart then you will end up with a quiche. I know confusing right?? Simply omit the top crust of your pie and you will have a tart.

Ingredients (one 6″ x 10″ tart):
2 cup cherries, pitted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 piece thawed puff pastry, around 6 x 10 inches
1 egg, lightly beaten

To prepare filling, combine the cherries, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for 10 minutes.
Mix cornstarch and a tablespoon of water into paste. Add the mixture to the cherries. Keep cooking until it thickens. Allow the cherry filling to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400F.
Roll the puff pastry to enlarge it a little bit. Spoon the cherry mixture on top of the puff pastry sheet, leaving one inch boarder. Roll the boarders inward to create a dent.
Brush the pie with the beaten egg.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry puffs up and turns golden brown.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Or sprinkle some icing sugar and serve it plain.

Cuckoo Warning Day

Did it rain today where you are at?? There is a reason I am asking. Today is Cuckoo Warning Day. While cuckoos tell great time they do one other thing, they warn of wet summers. If you hear a cuckoo on this day, the first day of summer, your summer will be a wet one. 

Yes, it does sound like the groundhog day warning. Like groundhog day this day started many years ago in the middle ages. Europeans have always had the belief that if cuckoo sing on the first day of summer then the summer will be a wet one. 

Cuckoo Trivia

Did you know that roadrunners belong to the cuckoo family. 
Cuckoo birds will lay their eggs in other birds' nests and let those birds take care of the cuckoo chicks The chicks of cuckoo birds are no better behaved as they will demand care and kick the parent's real chicks out of the nest
Europeans most likely enjoy hearing the first calls of the cuckoo bird as it is thought to be a sign that spring has arrived. 
Male cuckoos make the recognizable call but females do not as their calls are different and quieter. 

an Acquittal and a Meatloaf Recipe June 20

Many will think of only the murder performed by Lizzie but there was another side to her as well. While Bridget Sullivan and Abby Borden may have been in charge of cooking most meals at the Second Street house Lizzie did don an apron from time to time and one of her favorite recipes was meatloaf recipe. The recipe had been saved by a good friend of Lizzie and Emma Borden. Emma and Lizzie parted ways around 1905 but since that time this meatloaf recipe found its way to the local society newsletter.

Lizzie’s Version
1 pound steak, 1/2 pound pork steak, 1 egg, 1 small onion, 3 soda crackers, herbs, salt, pepper.  Grease tin, cover loaf well with hot water and bake about one hour.
A modern approach: One pound ground sirloin (15-20% fat for flavor), 1/2 pound ground pork, one large egg for a binder, one small onion (red or vidalia), 3 Uneeda brand soda crackers pulverized into crumbs (or soup/chowder crackers will work), 1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan or spray with PAM, mound thoroughly mixed ingredients into the pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake one hour.  Good served with a little ketchup on top, or catsup as it was spelled years ago.  November is a good month for comfort food.  If this recipe is too much trouble- Almac’s Diner on President’s Avenue in Fall River has superb meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, luscious enough even for The Hill clientele of the 1920’s!

American Eagle Day

The bald Eagle is America's animal, America's bird and appears on our state seal as well. 

The national bird was at risk at the end of the 20th century as it started to fade away from the continental United States. On July 12, 1995 the species was removed from the United States Federal Government's List of Endangered Species and was placed on the list of Threatened species. June 2007

Spitting Time

With the fourth of July approaching my mind travels back to some of the good old days. My dad would come and visit my children in the summer time and often bring a water melon with him. He is the reason they spit their seeds even now as grown ups. I often wonder what my dad would have seen as a child as I never saw a water melon spitting contest in person.

Many states and fairs do host the spitting contest. When I was a kid there was a contest for the most water melon ate here at a local festival. I found the next photo super adorable

Do you enjoy spitting water melon seeds Have you ever been to a contest where they do just that??

Happy Birthday West Virginia

Today, June 20th is the birthday of the state of West Virginia. June 20th 1863 is the date that West Virginia officially became a state. It was officially the 35th state allowed in the Union. 
West Virginia. It's where the Appalachian, Blue Ridge, and Allegheny Mountains converge, and where a fiercely independent spirit, forged during the Civil War, still lives today. From a legendary resort that hid a top-secret bunker to a futuristic facility exploring the mysteries of the universe, to thrill-seekers riding the Class-5 rapids and climbing its famous bluffs, this flight across the state's towering peaks reveals why John Denver called it "almost heaven."
The civil war drew differences in the stat of West Virginia. The state would split in two during the civil war over the same dispute that was pulling the United States apart. Slave holding plantation owners in the eastern part of Virginia held power in the state's economy and politics and the self sufficient farmers who lived in the rugged western counties where slavery was not as much present. This left many in the west part of the state feeling ignored. The state of Virginia would join the confederacy in April 1861 but the western part would keep their loyalty to the Union and state would begin to separate.

Did you know that the state of West Virginia was nearly named Kanawha?? This was the name of an honored Native American tribe and a major state river. In 1862 the constitution of West Virginia was finalized in 1862 and included the states name as West Virginia The original capital of West Virginia was Wheeling. In 1870 the capital was moved to Charleston however, would be placed back in Wheeling in 1875. The residents of the state would finally vote the capital of the state to be Charleston in 1885

Did you know that the final straw that split the state of Virginia may have been the civil war. Tension had been building in the state for many years stemming back to the American Revolution. The residents had asked the Continental Congress to form a 14th colony known as Westsylvania. The request was denied then and again in 1783 when permission for a 14th state was requested. 
Rural mail was first provided in West Virginia. Farm families before that time would have to travel to distant post offices to retrieve mail or hire private companies to deliver. The RFD service began in 1896. The first five RFD carriers began service on October 1, 1896. 
There was once a top-secret bunker for Congress in West Virginia to protect congress in case of nuclear war. The height of the cold war in 1958 would be the energy to construct a bunker under ground. The bunker would open in 1961 and be used as a nuclear fallout shelter. The Washington Post would share the secret in 1992 and the bunker would be decommissioned and is now open to the public.

easy vanilla milkshake

The original "milkshake" was a healthy style eggnog drink made with eggs and whiskey. By the 1900s this had changed to where the milkshake was known as "wholesome drink made with chocolate, strawberry or vanilla syrup" that was added to ice cream. The milkshake was a favorite drink at malt shops.
The Walgreens drug store in Chicago Illinois is credited for adding malted milk powder to the milkshake. An employee known as "Pop" Coulson was making milkshakes with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream when he added a bit of "Horlick's Malted Milk" This drink would become one of the most popular drinks. 

  • 1 Quart Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 cup Half & Half (or whole milk)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a blender combine ice cream and half-and-half. Add vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Old Fashioned Summer Time Favorite Made Better : Ice Cream Soda

2 cups non-fat frozen yogurt, soft
1 1/2 cup hulled strawberries
2 cups chilled club soda

  1. Blend 1½ cups frozen yogurt and strawberries in a blender. Divide between 2 tall glasses and add 1 cup chilled club soda to each glass. Top each with ¼ cup nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt.

Happy First Day of Summer

Happy First Day of Summer to you. This day is known by many as summer solstice and occurs each year between Jun 20th and June 23rd. In 2017 the day is today June 20th. Summer occurs each year when the earths axis tilts toward the sun from June to September. Warmer weather and longer days will be present during this time period as well. However, for those folks who live in the Southern Hemisphere or the other side of the world from North America will have colder weather and shorter days.  

Today, the first day of summer will be the longest day of the year. There will still be 24 hours in the day but the day will enjoy more sunlight longer than any other day of the year. On average 15 to 20 hours of sunlight will be enjoyed. Ones location will determine exactly how much sunshine will occur. 

Throughout time the first day of summer has been celebrated in many different ways:

The ancient Romans would celebrate a festival of Vestalia from June 7th to June 15th in order to prepare for summer. The festival honored Roman goddess of the hearth Vesta. All women not only virgins were allowed to enter the Vesta shrine during the time period of the festival. 

Traditions from ancient Sweden included setting a tree up and having villagers dance around the midsummer tree. A festival with a  banquet of food that included pickled herring and new potatoes would be enjoyed. Women and girls would give up their bathtubs and wash in the local river. The tradition was thought to bring rain for the crops. 

The Natchez a southern US native american tribe worshiped the sun. They believed their ruler came from it and every summer they hosted a fruit festival. The corn could not be harvested until the festival was over. 

No matter how you enjoy the summer time get out there and do something. Make some memories. What are your summer plans?? Ours have all ready began with a road trip and looking forward to so much more .