Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Orleans Pork Gumbo

  This weeks new recipe is a hearty bowl of the South that can be brought to your very own house, I absolutely loved how this dish was bursting with robust, fresh, flavors and lots of juicy pork, and even though my list keeps growing, I just have to make this meal again!

  New Orleans Pork Gumbo

1 pound pork loin roast
1 tbsp margerine
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup water
1 can (16 oz.) stewed and drained tomatoes
1 package (10 oz.) frozen succotash
1 package (10 oz.) frozen cut okra
1 beef bouillon cube
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf

Slice your pork into 1/2 inch cubes and then coat the inside of a large Dutch Oven, once heated over a stove add the pork and cook and stir for 4 minutes or until browned, remove the meat from the pot and then melt the margarine in the same dutch oven and stir in the flour. Cook while mixing until the roux (a fancy name for a flour and butter concoction) has browned, then mix in the water until very well incorporated, add the meat and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, once you have brought it to a boil cover and cook for 15 minutes. Throw the bay leaf away. And the only other thing you have to do is feel proud of your marvelous cooking while enjoying your meal.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Harvesting Clouds

     As a little girl I used to love when my Mom read poems to me, all those delicious sounding words all strung together were always sure to please me, and the one day my Mom told me the most marvelous poem that described so perfectly how I felt when I looked at the clouds floating in the sky.

  If I had a spoon as tall as the sky
  I'd dish out the clouds that go slip-sliding by,
  I'd take them right in and give them to cook
  And see if they tasted as good as they look.

  And of-course as a little girl I used to dream of being able to walk up into the sky and sleep on clouds and not having to worry about food since I had mounds of delicious fluffy clouds right beside me. Sadly as I grew older I realized that's not a possibility. However with a camera, a willing assistant, and some fluffy clouds I can at least make it look like I'm fulfilling a childhood dream of harvesting clouds.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something pink?

  My favorite something pink is a long, lacy scarf I had crocheted.

2. What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?

  I actually don't have gym class, but I do love all the little activities I get to do outdoors during school season, like playing tennis, and baseball, but I think running is my absolute least favorite form of exercise, and honestly I don't think people mind not having to see me tripping and running like a wounded chicken.

3. What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

  Oh the marvelous smell of roses!

  I still remember my Dad giving my Mom a lovely bouquet of roses as a surprise when she returned home from a lengthy hospital stay.

4. Do you prefer to read or write?

  Reading has been my favorite thing to do ever since first grade.

  Writing is also one of my favorite things to do, though it is mostly in my beloved binder that I call my "Idea Book."

5. Sam Keen is quoted as saying, 'Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.' Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

 I don't think that there is ever a proper time to be lazy, and I would most definitely not call it respectable.

  I will relax this summer by reading lots of books and taking long walks with Diane.

6. The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast...which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

  I would love to go to a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast just because it sounds like the dreamiest place to go in the summer.

7. What question do you hate to answer?

  Somehow this answer popped readily into my mind,"Do you like Me or Janet better, and I won't take both for an answer" (the names of course, aren't the names of anyone I know)

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  When I was much younger I used to think that being a teen would be dreamy (like living in a musical) I used to have visions of running through fields of buttercups, reading a book under our huge maple tree in our yard, wading in our creek with long draping skirts, and magically love tea so much I should have a destined teatime each day.

  Though none of those things have happened to me I still find my self entranced with the beautiful singing of  birds, and the feeling of  wonder every time I stand on our top porch when rains with the wind whipping through my hair. My teen years might not be filled with the glories of elegant things you see in musicals but at least I can see and feel the beauty of what life brings to open eyes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Spicy Pork Stir-Fry

  In my household every cook strives to make a dish for my Dad with just the right amount of spice, and so often the main issue is not enough heat (spice wise), so for this recipe I had my hopes high that it would have the perfect amount of spice.

  When I made this meal my Dad admitted that it had just the right spices to give it the heat he wanted, but beware, if your taste buds are weak and heat tolerance low, you just might faint when you eat the broccoli (that is where lots of the spice likes to cling).

  Spicy Pork Stir-Fry

1 can (about 14 oz.) chicken broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 pork tenderloin ( about 10 oz.)
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced carrots
1 tsp Szechuan seasoning
6 cups cooked rice

Mix together 1 1/2 cups of your chicken broth, soy sauce, cornstarch and orange peel in a medium sized bowl, make sure it is smooth. Cut the pork lengthwise in half then crosswise into thin slices.

  In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp peanut oil, once heated add the pork, sesame seeds and garlic, fry and stir for three minutes or until the pork is just pink in the center, remove from the pan and heat the rest of the peanut oil in the same pan until hot, add the broccoli, carrots, Szechuan seasoning and the rest of the chicken broth. Cook while stirring for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, add the pork and chicken broth and stir well, cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened. Spoon onto the rice and serve.

  I thought this was delicious and will make it again someday. They say your heat tolerance grows stronger as you age, right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. June is National Great Outdoors Month. Have you spent any time appreciating the great outdoors this month? If so where, and if not do you have any plans to enjoy the great outdoors before the calendar turns?

 Yes I have, considering that it was really rainy lately, I can be found on our top porch just staring out at the rain. I love the way raindrops fall onto one leaf and drips onto the one beneath it.

2. What's a current hot button issue for you?

   The fact that some technology is making that  I's written as "i" is now approved as proper grammar just bugs me beyond belief, take this for example:  i think we should have our picnic today because i have plans tonight that make that i can't come over later this evening. i love and miss you all, Thelma.

3. What's a food or treat that 'disappears like hotcakes' in your house?

 Let's just say that cooled chocolate chip cookies do not exist in my house.

4. How hot is too hot?

    Oh my, anything above 75 degrees is miserable, and my curly hair agrees.

5. Do you have an artistic outlook on life? What does that mean to you?

  I do think that God gave me the ability to see the beauty in all of His creations, even the thorn bushes fascinate me.

6. What's one question you'd like to ask your father, or one you wish you could ask your father?

  Even though anyone reading this might think that I would ask him a deep question, in reality I would love to ask him if his shaving stubble bothers him.

7. Something you learned from your father?  

  Considering school, I learned that if you don't work much, you won't learn much.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  Yesterday while I was curled up on my bed reading a book, Diane walked into the room holding something black, not paying much attention I was pleasantly surprised when she placed the cutest, most adorable, little, black kitten into my lap, it scampered over my pillows, and sat on my knee and then turned its adorable face towards me and observed me carefully, then it decided it was cuddle time, and needless to say I fell in love with that tiny little kitten.

  I don't know what to name it but I thought I should share a picture of it and let you give me some name ideas.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pork and Potato Frittata

  I have eaten many kinds of food in my life, sophisticated, expensive, cheap, comfort, and food from many different cultures have all made their way across my taste buds, but in the end I always find myself wanting comfort food. This week's meal was the absolute perfect balance of comfort, and sophistication for my taste. The absolute deliciousness of warm cheesy potatoes, combined with classic veggies, and the ever so delicious pork chops make this dish just perfect.

  Pork and Potato Frittata

12 ounces frozen shredded hash browns
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
4 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 ounces frozen stir fry vegetables
3/4 cup chopped cooked pork
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking pan with cooking spray, evenly place your potatoes onto the pan and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning. Then bake it for 15 minutes and remove the potatoes from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees.

  In a medium sized bowl beat the egg whites, eggs, milk, mustard, and pepper, set aside and in a nonstick skillet place the frozen veggies, and 1/3 cup water, cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are slightly crisp in the center.

  Add the pork and potatoes to the veggies in the skillet, stir lightly and add the egg mixture and top with the shredded cheddar cheese. Cover the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, then, uncovering your skillet place it into the oven and bake for 5 more minutes or until the eggs are set and the cheese is warm and gooey. Then the last thing you have to do is enjoy it.

  I had served this as a supper but it would be just as delicious served as a breakfast or lunch.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fajita Salad

  This week's new recipe I made on my cooking through an entire recipe book challenge has been my favorite so far.

  I love the combination of flavors. For a salad this was very hearty and could be made as a meal in itself. I thought it was delicious paired with baked potatoes, but you of-course can pair it with anything you desire.

Fajita Salad

6 ounces beef top sirloin steak
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
2 medium red bell peppers
1 medium onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 tomato, cut in wedges
1 cup salsa

Slice your beef into strips that measure about 2x 1x1/4 inch and place into a bowl, then in another bowl mix together your lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and chili powder, poor over your beef and mix with your hands to coat the beef in the juices, cover the bowl and let it set for 10 minutes turning it once.

  Julienne the peppers, and cut the onions into thin strips, then in a large non-stick skillet add the olive oil, peppers, and onions, cook it for about 6 minutes or until crisp tender (make sure to stir them if you don't like burnt food) Remove them and cook your beef in the same pan and cook and stir for about 3 minute or until cooked thoroughly, then remove from heat and add your cooked veggies and the garbanzo beans and stir to coat with pan juices.

  Then arrange the lettuce onto your serving platter and top with the meat and veggies. Then all there is left to do is serve it with the salsa and enjoy.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Never Trust Pinterest with your Face

     As a teen I am trying to accept the fact that  I struggle with pimples. Everyone knows how evil those swollen little lumps of red are. I have tried different things that didn't work and my Mom got some things, but they also didn't do anything for my condition.

    Then one day while browsing through Pinterest I found this supposedly "wonderful" home remedy for pimples. It called for apple cider vinegar, honey, and egg whites, I was set, I had finally found the perfect pimple solution. I planned the treatment for early the next morning in hopes of having a pimple free face to go to church on Sunday.

     When I awoke the next day I hurried downstairs, skimmed through the recipe and the instructions and set out to make it. I started mixing my ingredients together and making sure to measure them properly I got everything ready and since I have a sister that I am really close to, I had told her about it all and we decided it would be fun to do this together, so Diane met me by the bathroom and we carefully applied the slimy goo to our faces in circular motions, after fighting back a few gags we washed the sticky, slimy, egg whites off our hands and went to our room to relax for ten peaceful minutes.

  "Ooh I can feel it working," I said excitedly.

  " Oh I know, and I hope we look really pretty and our faces smooth" agreed Diane.

   Once the timer rang we  hurried to wash our faces with the recommended "warm" water. We giggled excitedly then scurried to the bathroom to look at our faces in the mirror, after one look we turned to face each other and both screamed in horror, our faces were completely red, blotchy, and puffy.

  "Oh my goodness tomorrow is church" I squeaked frantically.

  " We need to hide, we can't be seen" Diane said while tugging at certain parts of her face.

   We decided that would be the basement. We were hoping it would wear off if we waited long enough, so after playing various games, like hopscotch and jump rope for about an hour we crept upstairs to look at our faces again.

  "I look horrid" I whispered hopelessly.

  "So do I" Diane said encouragingly.

  After looking at each other again we burst into gales of laughter, pointing and laughing at each other we walked into the living room and started laughing again since somehow everyone was sitting in there reading and immediately looked up at us. Of course their feeble attempts to cheer us up were marred by the fact that they had to laugh every time they looked at us.

  So that is why you should never trust Pinterest with your face, that is unless you think this whole experience would be an absolutely marvelous bonding experiment for you and your sister, friend, or Mother.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What's something you're looking forward to in the month of June?

  I actually have nothing important planned other than of crocheting projects planned that I would love to start.

2. In what way have you come full circle?

  Well, this is nothing big (or serious for that matter) but often when I make a mistake in the crochet world, I go back to unravel it, start over and realize I just made the same mistake again.

3. Lonely Planet lists 10 spots in America you should see in 2015 and the reasons why. How many on the list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

Queens NY, Western South Dakota, New Orleans, Colorado River Region, North Conway NH, Indianapolis IN, Greenville SC, Oakland CA, Duluth MN, and the Mount Shasta Region CA

  Hmm, I don't think I have ever seen any of those places, but would love to if ever I get the opportunity.

4. A song that describes your mood right now?

5. Strawberry ice cream, strawberry short cake, strawberry pie, or strawberries right off the vine...your favorite?

  OOH, I think strawberry pie has to be my favorite!

6. Aesop's birthday is celebrated on June 4th, although there is some disagreement as to whether or not that's accurate, or if he was even a real person. Regardless, the name Aesop is associated to this day with many well known fables. Which of the following best applies to something in your life right now? The Tortoise and the Hare (Slow and Steady wins the race), The Ant and the Grasshopper (Be prepared), The Fox and the Goat (Look before you leap) or The Crow and the Pitcher (Necessity is the mother of invention)?

  Probably the Fox and the Goat, I think I always tend to act impulsively and forget to consider the consequences, try try again, right?

7. The answer is yes...what's the question?

  The question is do I love rainy days?

  They seem so serene and restful, like the earth is singing to all who listens.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

  We are "almost" to summer on the calendars and I couldn't believe it when the longest cold snap sprung upon us, but at least rain is serene, and our house does not lack blankets.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mediterranean Meatballs and Couscous

  I love cooking interesting new dishes every week and even though sometimes I wouldn't make them again, it is lots of fun trying new things in the kitchen.

  Now this week I took a big risk by making this extraordinarily spiced dish, if you love trying out new foods and flavors then this dish is for you. If you like to try this masterpiece of "different smells and flavors" then the recipe is listed below.

Mediterranean Meatballs and Couscous

1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2 1/2  cups water
1 1/2 cups precooked couscous (it will say so in the ingredient list)
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 chopped parsely
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 pound ground round beef
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Pour chicken broth and your water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat, add the couscous, raisins, parsley,2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp lemon peel, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and add your turmeric and cumin. Cover your saucepan and let it stand for 5 minutes.

  Then in a large bowl combine your beef, crackers, milk, remaining 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon peel, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and oregano. Mix until well combined and shape into 24 meatballs. Bake at 350 for half an hour or until cooked through.

  Mix your couscous and spoon it into a serving bowl and arrange the meatballs onto the couscous.Serve immediately and enjoy!

Now I thought that the dish was delicious but next time I would omit the raisins because they added too much sweetness for my taste.