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Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What's Happening


Every day is so different from the other. But, the last two days have been good for several reasons. First of all, I think I am getting my blood pressure under control. Last week when I went to urgent care clinic, I was advised that I should go to my Primary Care Doctor.  Wouldn't you know it, at the time of my visit, my blood pressure was normal. However, for the past two months my blood pressure has continually floated around 200/100. My BP monitor records the readings. Needless to say, it has caused me to feel very very ill, especially with all the recent stress. However, I am very blessed to not have had a stroke, especially considering all of the care and support I was providing for my friend prior to his passing! 


For years when I go to the doctor for erratic BP they order a new medication (usually expensive) and reschedule me to return in 30 days. It has been like running in circles and my bank account can not be stretched any further.

So, recently I have studied a lot of the details about the five BP medications currently prescribed for me. And I monitor my BP morning, noon and bedtime, more often if I think necessary. I have made medication adjustments (increased) on some of the current medications and so far I am doing much better. At present time (7 PM) my BP is 145/80-pulse 68. Hope and pray this trend will continue. I have appointment scheduled with Primary Care Doctor to review new lab work and clinical status.


Importantly, I started a new activity on Tuesday evenings. The first meeting of an eight week Grief Recovery Support Group sponsored by Griefshare International started this week. And, it is only four miles from my home. I was very impressed and believe I will benefit greatly by attending.

My church has been providing me with cooked meals as needed and the food has been wonderful. It really is a help when you are not hungry and absolutely everything is too much effort because of weakness and sadness.

But, LOOK, I cooked soup today! Lots of chopping and sauteing. I made a similar Tomato and Bean Soup for us in November for supper.

The kitchen may not get cleaned for a day or two. Oh well!


Take Good Care Of Yourself And Others.

Mary


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

One Potatoe Two Potatoe Three - - -

Since my time is very flexible at this time I thought this would be a good time to try a new recipe and prepare a side dish of Buffet Mashed Potatoes that can be made ahead of time, refrigerated or frozen and then baked just prior to serving time.

I am also going to use a ricer that I have had for a long time but never used. Can you imagine that? An unused kitchen toy!

Scoop the baked potatoes out of the skins.


The ricer worked very nice and is suppose to make the potatoes smoother. The only thing I will mention is that my hands are not as strong as they were in the past and it takes quite a bit of pressure to push the potatoes through the ricer.



Sour cream is blended together with the potatoes until smooth.




Then add some finely diced onion, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, kosher salt and (white) pepper into the potatoes-cream cheese mixture until smooth.

At this point the potatoes can be placed in a casserole or two or three. And, either refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to use.

Looks pretty good to me! Nice and creamy with all that cream cheese. This will be the first time for me to use cream cheese in my mashed potatoes.


Before you bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes place some pieces of butter on top.



This is a little picture of the author's (Polly Clingerman) baked Buffet Mashed Potatoes. I am optimistic that the flavor will be as good as the comments claim.


I'll let you know how they turn out -  after the holidays.

            

Have a Happy Day.
   
Mary


Monday, December 22, 2014

Do You Like Celery

Boy Oh Boy! Do I have a recipe for you!
I have made this several times and always receive lots of positive comments. I think the recipe has been around for a long time. It 
is something a little different. The water chestnuts give it a nice crunchy texture.


Celery casserole with toasted almonds and water chestnuts


4 cups sliced celery, (sliced 1-inch)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup diced pimiento, drained
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted*
2 tablespoons melted butter

Cook celery in salted water until just tender but still a little crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain and combine in a bowl with water chestnuts, soup, and pimiento. Pour into a greased 1-quart casserole dish. Combine bread crumbs, almonds, and melted butter; sprinkle over the casserole. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serves 4 to 6.
*To toast nuts, spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. Or, toast in an ungreased skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown and aromatic.

I hope you try it and that you  like it.
Happy Cooking.

Mary

Monday, December 08, 2014

Love My Kitchen

Since I was not home for Thanksgiving I decided to make some turkey for myself. This is a recipe from one of you wonderful bloggers.  It is called Crock Pot Turkey. The recipe used a whole turkey breast, however, I was not able to find one at the store. So, I chose to use two thighs and three drum sticks. All dark meat, but that is OK. You simple use some chopped carrots, celery and onion as a little nest for the turkey pieces to sit on. Sprinkle the top of turkey with one package onion soup mix, two tablespoons melted butter and some herbs. I used some crushed dried rosemary. But, there are several different herbs that would work well. And, add a little chicken broth. 


I set the crock pot on high for one hour and then low for five to six hours.


I will have enough for some turkey sandwiches and a casserole or two for the freezer. And, if you strain the liquid you can make a nice gravy.

Now, in my opinion, I would not make this again with legs and thighs. I think it is best to use a whole turkey breast especially if you plan to serve the turkey with some side dishes.

The house sure smelled good with the aroma of the turkey cooking!

Tomorrow I may bake some cookies. Right now, that sounds like fun to me. I am thinking Spritz Cookies.

Take Good Care.

Mary

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tasteful Results

Yes, the soup was very good especially after a busy day which ended with the medical appointment for my friend. His cardiac medication dosages were adjusted because his blood pressure is quite low. In addition, he has not been able to sleep very much for the past couple weeks. So, the doctor prescribed medication to help him to relax. Let's hope it will help.


Yes, yesterday was a very busy day for me. But, I did get a lot of jobs at home taken care of. I was quite tired when we got home from the medical appointment. But, it was very nice to have hot homemade soup already prepared. I really like the added crunchy texture that the addition of corn gave to the soup. And, the topping of fried bacon crumbles is "a good thing"! This soup is a "winner". The grilled cheese sandwiches "almost got away from me" however, they weren't quite as dark as the photo shows. The shredded sharp cheddar cheese was nicely melted.

If you are a cook, are you feeling like cooking more, now that the weather is changing and getting colder?

Stay Warm, especially if you are challenged by excessive SNOW.

Mary


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's Happening In The Kitchen

Chickie says that she thinks she is safe and not going into the pot! What a relief. But then, you never know?



The weather says to me "Make Soup". So that is what I did. This Tomato and Bean Soup is a very nice hearty soup that you could easily add all kind of vegetables. Kind of like cleaning out the refrigerator or pantry. Those shelf life "use before" dates can easily sneak up on you if you purchase additional supply when it is on sale. Of course, that probably is not an issue if you are cooking regularly and for a family.


Chickie is singing her happiness that she did not end up in the pot.






Maybe, this will be dinner along with Grilled Chesse Sandwiches. We have a late in the day medical appointment for my friend and maybe this would interest him and be convenient. His appetite wavers so we will see. I like to keep homemade soup in the freezer especially during the winter months. There is enough to freeze some extra servings.

By the way, my friends that received the Pistachio Coffee Cakes were surprised and very appreciative.  I like to sign my cards with "Just Because". It's nice to surprise people with a little happiness. Perhaps, that is part of my Nursing background, and my spirit!

Hug Someone Today.

Mary


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Brining Last Nights Dinner And Some Bourbon

Those pork chops are brining in fresh apple cider (in season now), kosher salt, crushed juniper berries, bay leaf and ice water. I have brined a holiday turkey years ago (when that technique became popular) with good results but never have I brined pork. Just as with turkey, the brining creates a more tender and flavorful meat. But, I must say the sauce for these chops has outstanding flavor.


I read this interesting recipe on Olla-Podrida blog. She has a fabulous food blog. And, the photography is outstanding. Check this recipe out from HER BLOG. I had to change up the recipe because I did not have the same ingredients handy. I substituted the allspice berries with juniper berries. And, I used beef broth in place of the chicken. It worked out fine. 

And, since I was making only two pork chops (they were huge) I made only half of the Bourbon Sauce recipe. Next time I will make the full recipe. It is just that good. I used a cast iron skillet because it goes into the oven for ten minutes after the chops are browned. 


The sauce is made after you take it from the oven after you place the chops on a warm platter.Be sure to deglaze the pan with the bourbon and broth and reduce the sauce as the recipe directs. It's easy. Just be patient.



When finished you will have a wonderful flavorful dinner entre. You must try it. SO EASY AND SO GOOD!


Thanks to Olla-Podrida for this wonderful recipe. It helped me to get back in the cooking mode.

Happy Eating.

Mary

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1 - 2 - 3 Let's Eat

Autumn is certainly in the air, today, here in California. And, it feels like a good day to "put the Dutch Oven on". The recipe for Sweet Spicy Country Style Ribs And Beans has been sitting on my kitchen counter for a few days and I bought the pork ribs and the red hot pepper jelly that I didn't have available.

I did not think about taking photos until just as I was putting it in the oven. So this is photo No. 1.


After cooking for one and a half hours, I opened the lid to check to make sure it wasn't getting to dry. It looked great. These Le Creuset dutch ovens do a beautiful job with their self-basting lids. The Dutch Ovens are very expensive so I shopped on Ebay and about a year ago I found one that is "like new" for less than half the price of a new one. Photo No. 2 looked pretty darn good. And, boy oh boy, it sure smelled wonderful!


Following another half hour of cooking the ribs were beautifully cooked through and just about to fall apart. Just right! Of course, I had to eat a sample - to make sure the seasoning didn't need adjusting. I guess you can't improve on perfection! They were delicious with a great flavored sauce with the ribs and beans. See photo No. 3 for bubbly goodness!


Be sure to try the recipe!

You can find the recipe at - Jbugskitchenantics Sweet Spicy Country Style Pork Ribs and Beans and I highly recommend it. Of course, I almost forgot to take a photo and there was no table staging. Just simple home cooking.



And, it is very easy!

Hope you have a beautiful fall day.

Mary

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Into The Oven It Goes

Country Chicken Noodle Casserole



Out of the oven it comes, hot and bubbly!


What an easy, delicious and versatile dish. Be forewarned, it is not low calorie!
  
This recipe may have originated (in some version) back in the 50's - 60's when casseroles started their popularity. This Country Chicken Noodle Casserole recipe can be found here.

I had the canned ingredients (chicken and soup) in the pantry and wanted to use them. I chose to omit the peas and carrots because I wanted to make some steamed broccoli and lettuce salad to accompany the casserole. 

After you read the recipe you will be able to see where you can reduce the calorie count which I will be doing next time. The melted stick of better is one way to make some changes.  The casserole can be frozen and the second half served another time. 

Oh, I used Panko bread crumbs that had Italian seasoning and that added a very nice flavor. It was creamy yum-yum goodness.

What are you cooking?

Mary

Thursday, May 08, 2014

You Must Try This Recipe

- - - if you like dessert!


And, the recipe makes two pies! If one is good, two is better, right?


This Caramel-Pecan-Coconut-Cream Pie (my name for it) was my Easter Meal Dessert. And, OH so Good! You can find the recipe Freezer Caramel Drizzle Pie here. It is really very easy to prepare and I like that it must be prepared the day ahead of serving. Just be sure you have enough room in your freezer.

My week has been very quiet by choice. Feeling quite a lot of back/leg pain and feeling very tired. Today is better and that makes me happy.

Pictures from the garden tomorrow. We had thunderstorms day before yesterday and may have more tonight so it has been a bit of a challenge to get photos of flowers that haven't been a little battered by the rain.

But, I have to show you just one photo that really excited me because this plant did not bloom much last year primarily because of lack of attention, especially - water. I thought it may have died. But, look at it this year!


This is Clematis 'Ernest Markham' (large, magenta-red flower that blooms June-Sept.) and it looks like there are many blossoms yet to open.

Two of my favorite activities - cooking/baking and gardening. I guess it is part of who I am. I know it is!

Happy Day to You.

Mary


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Traveling Back In Time - Especially Military - Cooking

As I have mentioned in a recent post, I am using what is on the shelf in the pantry or in the refrigerator as much as possible in an effort to stretch my budget and to avoid throwing food out. I have been wanting to use the jar of Armor Dried Beef and was thinking of possibly making Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast which occasionally I ate as a child. It was very economical. If you are "old enough" and were around men that had been in the military, you may recall hearing it called SOS which is something that was served quite frequently in the mess hall at the military bases. I recall hearing my brothers who all served in the Army talking about it and laughing about the name "_____ On A Shingle" but not in my mother's presence. It was a meal that got mixed reviews. Some fellows who served in the Armed Forces liked it a lot and some never wanted to lay eyes on it or eat it again if they could avoid it!


Actually, there are quite a few recipes where you can use sliced dried beef. The only other recipe that I was aware of is Appetizer Cheese Ball that is either rolled in chopped dried beef or added into the cheese ball mixture.

The Garden Forum website has some interesting info about dried beef. In some communities (i.e. ranching/farming) it is available sliced fresh at the deli. The Armor website also has recipes and information.

OK, I ended up making a White Sauce and then I added a goodly amount of prepared horseradish which I have not done in the past. Then I mixed in the beef  which can be sauteed in a little butter to soften it. I just learned about the sauteing on the websites. I had about one cup of frozen carrots and peas in the freezer. So, I tossed them in and simmered until the veggies were defrosted and everything was well heated. Add salt and pepper or other seasoning to taste and serve over toast.


It was good, not fabulous, but good. I like it best with white bread toast like potato bread. Homemade biscuits would be good, too. Like biscuits and sausage gravy.

Today, I am off to see the Ophthalmologist for my eye exam. I am almost a year overdue and I need new glasses and I have been having sharp left eye pain! Life was so hectic that I got behind in all of my routine medical appointments. I am getting caught up and I have been poked, squeezed (it always hurts!) stuck with needles and looked at all over. I still need to schedule an appointment with the Dentist.

Take Good Care of Yourself.

Mary

Friday, April 04, 2014

Lunch For One And Budget Progress

This is a healthy, quick and tasty soup. With our current weather of rains every few days it just feels right to prepare some soup now and then.  It was especially nice that I had all of the ingredients in the pantry/refrigerator when I read the recipe while perusing  a stack of pages of copied recipes. I do not think I have ever made soup with canned tuna. Be sure, to use the best quality of solid tuna you can. I have been using more cannellini beans than in the past and I am liking them in soups, especially. The seasonings are a nice combination and the kale flavor is very subtle.

 TUNA, WHITE BEAN AND KALE SOUP  

(website image)
And, this is how it really looks. 
The importance of proper lighting when taking photos.


My Lunch For One posts are starting to look like Tablescapes that have become so popular on blog land. 


I think these dishes are so pretty. They are called Clematis by Red Vanilla. I have only soup bowls with base plates and salad plates. I can mix them nicely with my every day Mikasa Mixima (super strong) china Belle Terre.


Can you see the Bunny napkin ring?

 TUNA, WHITE BEAN AND KALE SOUP  

from www.closetcooking.com 

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans solid white tuna, drained and broken into bite sized chunks
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bunch kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the broth, beans, tuna, Italian seasoning, fennel and paprika, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and simmer until it wilts, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the parmesan, let it melt and season with salt and pepper to taste before removing from heat.

Option: Replace the kale with spinach, swiss chard, etc.
Option: Add a dash or 2 of fish sauce!
Note: You can replace the Italian seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon thyme.
Tip: Try not to over-stir so that the tuna does not break apart and you still have nice large chunks.

This is really good soup. I hope you will try it. Let me know how you like it.


Meet Mr Owl Budget

I am finding more ways to enhance my budget. 

Lily is due for a vaccine booster at the Veterinary Office. I can take her to the vaccine clinic (held once a month and less expensive) since she has seen the Vet during this past year. 

* I have found a better quality dog food for Lily for less money.

I discontinued taking daily multivitamins since there is controversy regarding benefit if you have a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables. And, normal blood chemistry, which I do regarding multivitamin ingredients.

* Working diligently (very time consuming) to locate lowest co-pay for what are very expensive medications even though they are generic. Your doctor has to be willing to work with you because there are so many different pharmacy plans. And, so many medications with similar content for the same condition but wide range of prices. Many times it is trial and error. But, remember you usually have to buy at least one month supply. My nursing background certainly is helpful with this activity.

Because my monthly available income is reduced it is necessary for me to take these actions for my day to day existence. Most definitely necessary since the price of most everything is continually increasing. If there is vacation money, that will be a bonus. After all I will only have one 75th Birthday!  

I managed to pay my Property Taxes and my Federal and California taxes have been filed. All my bills are paid and it is such a good feeling. I am really making progress in getting organized! It really makes me nervous when I am not on top of it. It is not in my character.

Be Good To Yourself. OK.       Maybe, make some homemade soup!

Mary

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lunch For One And Some Crochet Time

Why not, have breakfast for Lunch? Are you one of those people who some times like to find a restaurant that serves "Breakfast All Day"? I know I am not the only one or they wouldn't serve it all day,


Well, my lunch was delicious with nice crusty french bread, thick sliced bacon and fresh eggs with golden yolks. Topped off with a nice glass of 100% orange juice.


Just look at those perfectly fried eggs with firm whites and yummy golden creamy yolks.  I did good, don't ya think?


And, now a little "hooking".


It is nice to return to some of the things that I enjoy so much. I love these spring colors for dishcloths. It always surprises me when someone is so happy to receive one or more of these dishcloths.


These colors just make me feel happy!


Thanks for stopping by. Take good care of yourself and others. OK.

Mary

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Do You Like Cauliflower

If not, you may like this, if you like lots of flavor. Cauliflower can often be thought of as rather bland. This takes it up a notch.

Cauliflower Cheddar Gratin with Horseradish Bread Crumb Topping.


I got this out of the broiler just in time before the topping would have burned. We all know we should not walk away when something is under the broiler!


Cook cauliflower until slightly tender. Prepare white sauce, add salt and pepper along with shredded cheddar cheese.


Mix Panko bread crumbs with melted butter and 2 tbsp prepared horseradish. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the cauliflower and bake until browned.


The horseradish sure gives it a nice punch! What a great idea.This recipe is making the rounds on the blogs and I am glad I saw it. I just may make this again for my Easter dinner.

Mary

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Some Additional Special Photos

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Mother's Day 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Happy Family (2014)

Happy Family (2014)
Grandma Pride

Valentine's Day 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

High School (1957) Friends Of Mine On The Left Live In New York and We Met In Canada In 2013

High School (1957) Friends Of Mine On The Left Live In New York and We Met In Canada In 2013

Bud Mietz

Bud Mietz
1928 - 2014