To celebrate the venerable tomato and to support our favorite tomato packagers, Red Gold Tomatoes, and along with out favorite chili creators, Willis Chili Seasoning, we are having a giveaway that will make your mouth water. The winner will receive a can of Red Gold tomato sauce, a package of Willis Chili Seasoning and a lovely Red Gold Tomato apron to wear while making chili. I know it is summer, but we eat chili all year round and it is one of our summer favorites.
So leave a comment below and on following posts and your name will automatically go into the drawing that will be held on August 20th. Good luck!
Grandchildren are such a blessing!! They remind us of our younger days, teach us patience and understanding and give us hours of laughs and stories to tell for years. I have a friend who quips, “If I’d known having grandchildren would be so much fun, I’d have just skipped the kids and gone straight to the grandkids!” I won’t go THAT far, but I do love my granddaughter and her antics.
Her name is Claire and she is 2 1/2 years old of mischief, curiosity, brains and snuggles. She has Mr. Fix-It (An-Daddy) wrapped around her little finger and the other ones too. She says, “Sit”, pointing to the floor and he sits immediately to play trains.
Yep, trains. She is obsessed with trains – all trains – but Thomas The Train is her favorite. She will play for hours watching Thomas go ’round and ’round the track and I will spend days trying to get the stupid song out of my head!! ♪♪ They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight….. ♪♪
And then, there was the other day, while spending the day with us, that Claire asked if she could take Thomas to bed with her for her nap. Thomas was evidently sleepy too. I said, “Of course!” and tucked them both into bed, with every pillow that I could find in the house put around her on that big bed so that she would not roll off. I tickled Claire with our routine, “Night, Night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite” and shut the door to the bedroom.
It wasn’t very long before I heard my granddaughter wimper, then cry out and then, offer a long, pitiful wail. Quickly opening the door, I found the munchkin sitting in the middle of the bed with head down and Thomas the Train hanging from her head. It didn’t take me a second to figure out what had happened. I’m not totally dense. She had put the toy in her hair and turned it on. The wheels wrapped her hair around the axles and it was not a pretty sight!
I did NOT want to send my little precious home to her mother with a big chunk of hair cut out of her head and so I diligently pulled one hair at a time out of the train but eventually, hair got pulled and broken. Claire was amazingly still and did not make a peep. When I finally removed the toy she flatly proclaimed, “Thomas bite me.” Yep, he sure did! And as a result, Thomas would not run because of all of the hair wrapped into the wheels. But not to worry. Thomas has been saved. It took Mr. Fix-It and me working in concert to perform the delicate hair removal. A scalpel, fine tweezers and a screwdriver did the trick. I wiped Mr. Fix-It’s forehead and closed. And Thomas is now running around his little track. ♪♪…”Shunting trucks and pulling freight..red and green and brown and blue. They’re a really useful crew…♪♪
Claire has another favorite and that is Veggie Tales with Bob the Tomato. The other day, we went to the garden to pick veggies and she got so excited at the first large tomato that she spotted. “Bob!” she squealed and picked it, carrying it around lovingly, as if it were going to break out into the Veggie Tales song (which is also stuck in my head). We gathered many tomatoes and went in to make her other favorite thing, and mine, – spaghetti. Below is my recipe as taught to me by Marilina, a college student from Italy, who lived with us for a summer way back when I was in high school. It really is good! I promise. Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the giveaway!
12 tomatoes or 24 roma tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
5 cloves garlic crushed or chopped
½ tsp fennel seed
1 tbsp dried oregano or 2 tbsp. fresh oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cube chicken bouillon
¼ tsp soda
Sprigs of fresh parsley chopped
¼ cup fresh parmesan
½ lb Johnsonville Sweet Italian sausage or homemade Italian Sausage **
2 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tsp water.
Drop tomatoes into boiling water just until the skins split on about half of them. Drain and drop into ice water until tomatoes are cooled. Skin and slice.
Brown meat in a sauce pan and place into a bowl to set aside. Saute onions, celery and peppers in olive oil until tender.
Add garlic and toss to release the flavor.
Add tomatoes and cover to cook for 15 minutes.
Add seasonings, basil, thyme, parsley, oregano and fennel seed. Stir. We love our herb garden with two different kinds of fresh basil (green and purple), thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage, oregano, spearmint and peppermint. The fresh herbs really make the spaghetti sauce spectacular.
Add soda. Stir. It will bubble up and fizz. Just stir into the sauce.
Add bouillon and parmesan and stir. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes uncovered.
Add meat and simmer 30 more minutes. Thicken with corn starch mixture or, if you like thinner sauce, skip this step. You can also allow this to simmer for several hours to reduce and thicken, stirring occasionally and making all ingredients become a uniform sauce, but I am giving you a quick meal alternative.
Serve over pasta and garnish with fresh, grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
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Archive for the ‘Meats and Main Dishes’ Category
These last several months in boots, on crutches and a cane (I’m still dependent on those last two lovely pieces of equipment, much to my chagrin) have given me a deeper insight into a truth that I think we already know but don’t consider very often: While it is true that “if Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,” it is much more true that “To him whose feet hurt, everything hurts.” (That’s ol’ Socrates, by the way).
Have you ever noticed that when your feet hurt, your back hurts too, along with your knees, your neck and worst of all, your mood? You may be able to get through a day and sort of get things done, but when your feet hurt, you do not do your best job. With sore feet, the bulk of your intelligent thought tends to center around what you can do to alleviate the pain and get off of your feet. You can’t concentrate on what you are supposed to be doing and your responsibilities have a way of flying out of the window in favor of soothing those throbbing tootsies.
Such is my life at this moment, and while I have thrown myself into the research of new and wonderful all-natural and holistic methods to attack pain and broken limbs so that I can be a know-it-all at the doctor’s office to all of the patients unfortunate enough to be sitting in my general vicinity, – “You DO know that frankincense essential oil could help relax that tight muscle, right?” – the fact is, short of giving up all semblance of reality to the likes of morphine, hurt feet hurt.
It has been with this earth-shattering revelation that I have also discovered a coinciding truth: If the foundation isn’t strong, while what is built upon it may work, it will not work well or as it was intended to work. This applies to businesses, to governments and to individuals. There must be a strong foundational basis for existence or any of those entities will function in less than an optimum manner. And what is that foundation? It is God.
Any entity, whether public or private or individual never functions well without a Godly foundation. They may exist and they may function, but they will never enjoy the full potential or optimum purpose for which they were intended. Many will argue with me and swear that they are doing just fine and dandy without any focus on God, but if brutal honesty came into play, there would be an admission of struggle, dissatisfaction, pain and uncertainty. I know. I’ve been there and I’ve done that.
Making God the foundation simply requires the acceptance of His power and authority over all things. Human beings will always fall short of living out a perfect/Godly life, but the first step has to come in the admission that only God is in control – not man – and that He is the authority over the individual, the family, the city, the state and the nation. Without that foundation, nothing works as it should. There is only the constant focus on the pain that ensues and a desperate attempt to alleviate it. And so, on a serious note, I recognize my need to release everything to God’s authority (including my aching lower extremities) and I ask all of those in my nation to do the same, as One Nation Under God. Until we do that, nothing will work as it was intended to work.
And speaking of foundations, I have an idea here for the foundation on which to use that leftover pork from the last recipe. Starting with a base of tortilla chips, you can build a meal that IS everything it is intended to be!
Chop pork into small 1/2″ pieces or pull into shreds. Toss with barbecue sauce until the sauce is totally incorporated. Arrange tortilla chips onto a plate and top with pork.
Sprinkle with fresh, chopped sweet onions and the two cheeses. Microwave until the cheeses are nicely melted over the meat and chips – just about 20 to 30 seconds.
Add pickled jalopeno peppers and then top with lettuces, a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of taco sauce. Enjoy!
I know. I haven’t written anything since November. It was at that time that I had an “accident” of sorts, the details of which I am not at liberty to go into at this time but suffice it to say that I wound up with two broken feet, a broken ankle, two torn knees and a brain really not functioning all that well. Oh wait, that brain part was going on before the accident. Never mind.
Mr. Fix-It, around the same time, had to have pretty major surgery and so, the two of us were quite a pair trying to care for each other – he couldn’t lift anything larger than a piece of toast and I couldn’t walk. It was the stuff that Lifetime Movies are made of; really bad background music and all.
Creating Concepts, Enterprises managed to continue with the busy Christmas season of orders, still shipped on time and closed out 2013 with a sigh of relief (and a shuffle on my part). For two months, I rarely showed my face to the general public unless it was for a doctor’s appointment or MRI when Mr. Fix-It could drive me. I don’t live in a cabin, but I can pretty well say that I have a good clue what that kind of ‘fever’ entails!! Today, however, I am back in shoes – sort of – and am slowly getting around flat-footed and, when I first get up in the morning, doing a pretty good imitation of Quasimoto. It has been an interesting ordeal with quite a bit of pain and a greater number of jokes. You have to laugh about stuff like this. That’s the only way to deal with it sanely!
God has shown me some interesting stuff during this time where life has been forced to a crawl – no pun intended. I have learned that in these times, when nothing is normal, we can hear God quite audibly because all of “life” isn’t getting in the way. It’s that “Be still and know that I AM God” kind of thing. I have been able to take time to really read and pray and I must say that my joy is even more abundant while I feel that the teaching from the Lord has increased daily. As a friend so aptly put it, God has given me “a season of quiet.” And if you know me well, ‘quiet’ does not fit into my nature very easily!
I feel very blessed. I got the good news that I do not have osteoporosis – yay – and that I broke my bones because the human body and a concrete floor do not work well in a spirit of cooperation (you know, kinda like Congress. I’m waiting on a few broken bones there too!). Mr. Fix-It is all better and back to normal and the blessing of working with customers continues. So, on that note, I think it’s time for a recipe good for these cold days (is Winter EVER going away???). A yummy pork loin roast is just the ticket. Quick, easy and tasty. This serves 4 people so you can do a larger roast for more.
2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin roast brought to room temperature
meat tenderizer (optional)
2 tbsp. onion soup mix
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp rosemary leaves (fresh or dried)
pkg chicken gravy mix
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tbsp. butter
On a cutting board, slice the roast into 1″ slices, keeping them together in the original shape of the roast. You can sprinkle between the slices with meat tenderizer. This step is optional depending on if you like to use tenderizer or not. With cotton butcher’s twine, tie the roast back together. Place the roast onto the dull side of a square of aluminum foil.
Sprinkle the outside of the roast with garlic powder
Sprinkle the top with thyme and rosemary
And finally top with the onion soup mix.
Pull the foil up around the roast and curl the edges over to leave the very top portion of the roast exposed. Place into a baking dish or sided pan and into a 325º oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or 30 – 45 minutes per pound.
When roast is done, remove 1/2 cup of the drippings and set aside. Mix chicken gravy with one cup of water, as per directions, and set aside.
In a shallow skillet, melt butter and sauté mushroom slices until soft.
Add roast drippings and stir. Add chicken gravy mixture and stir continually until thickens slightly. Continue to simmer until gravy is the consistency of thin gravy.
Cut strings on the roast and your slices are already made! Serve with mushroom gravy which can also be used on a side of mashed potatoes! Leftovers can be used for pork bbq sandwiches or pork nachos. Dig in!!
I think that all of us have to admit that this has been a strange summer, weatherwise. Thankfully, our normally three digit temps did not appear, however, three monstrous tornadoes – one right after the other – destroyed much of our local landscape. Fires and floods in other parts of the nation have wreaked all kinds of havoc and our prayers go out for those in Colorado who are struggling through some of those floods, right now, after having to endure fires. Abnormally cool temperatures up north have kept places like Alaska in igloo conditions. But now, the days are growing shorter and there is a different feeling in the air. County fairs are popping up and the sound of college football, with its background of cheering fans, dominates the television on Saturdays.
Fall used to always be hard for me. No joke. It seems that everything bad that happened, occurred in the FAll. For the longest time, when that crispness in the air appeared and the tell-tale muted sunlight of autumn days rose, I would get this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach – a heaviness of spirit if you will. But that has since passed and now the Fall is my favorite time of year with Spring my second choice. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and I so enjoy the baking, canning and preparation that I do like a squirrel storing up nuts for the winter! I’ve included a recipe for one of those meals below.
I’ve decided to give you a peek into one of those “bad” Autumns so that you might get a little picture into my ready-for-psychiatric-research psyche. Perhaps you won’t find me so strange after all. And then again, this story may make me that much more strange!! Read on.
It was the end of August of 1992. I was 38 years old, skinny, full of energy and the mother of two young children. My sister and her family had invited us to Dallas, from Mt. Pleasant, TX, to join them at Six Flags Over Texas. The kids were excited. I was ready for a fun day. And it was fun…that is…until we hit the kiddie ferris wheel (emphasis here on “kiddie”). My daughter, all of 11 years old, begged me to ride with her and so I hopped beside her in a swinging chair and watched as the safety bar was lowered over our midsections. Shortly thereafter, the gears ground, the music started and we were lifted probably a whopping one and a half stories into the air. As we came to the highest point, open swing rocking and pitching, I discovered, for the first time in my life, that I am afraid of heights. And I don’t just mean “close your eyes and don’t look” afraid of heights. I mean “scream in abject terror and beg for mercy” afraid of heights. I began to hyperventilate. I started to cry. My heart raced and I gulped for air between screams emitted through clenched teeth. My daughter grabbed my arm and tried to soothe me. She looked genuinely stunned and dismayed – not embarrassed that her mother needed a straight jacket and an ambulance waiting at the foot of the ride. My family members in the crowd below, however, looked like they wanted to change their names and claim no acquaintance with the crazy woman who was unraveling on the kiddie ride.
When the ride finally stopped, I fell out of the chair, onto my knees, and struggled to stand. My makeup was a mess but that was no comparison to my mental well-being. My daughter led me to find our family which had scattered in embarrassment and someone brought me a Coca-Cola to fill me with caffeine and make me crazier. I finally gathered my wits and returned to a state of calm, trying to laugh off my apparent phobia. We moved on to food and more fun. We knew not to put me on anymore rides that went more than a foot off of the ground.
I know. You are thinking, “So?” I understand. But that isn’t the end of it. We continued our Six Flags experience and as darkness descended, my niece indicated that, as a last ride, she wanted to do the Splash Water Falls, a ride that sends a boat down a steep slide to hit, bow first into a deep pool of water, sending a wall of water over a walk bridge that acts as the exit for the ride. Those standing on the bridge, at just the right location, get drenched by water cascading over them. I was actually able to handle that ride and even enjoyed it as we plummeted into the water. I’m thinking that it had to do with the idea that falling into the water is safer and less painful than spatting onto concrete from the height of a ferris wheel. My children and I exited our boat and climbed to the bridge to watch my sister and niece take their turn. I pressed way against the back, concrete wall to avoid the water that would inevitably come from their trip. My daughter ran forward to the railing to get a better look. In a series of actions that could only have taken seconds, I first realized that my daughter would be soaked (and would soak the car as well, since we were leaving immediately). I then ran forward to attempt to pull her back as I called out for her to move. She moved. But I was caught in the very center of the width of the bridge. That wall of water came over the top of the structure, full force, hitting me squarely in the chest, picking me up off my feet and tossing me like a rag doll against that back concrete wall and then onto my back on the concrete walkway. All of the air was knocked out of my lungs and I gasped, looking, I am sure, like a goldfish poured out of its bowl, flopping in a huge puddle of water. There was not one inch of me that was dry. Did I mention that I had on white cotton shorts and a white cotton t-shirt? I’ll leave you to imagine the result of soaking white cotton. The guy running the ride and a number of visitors ran to help me up. I could see, “Lawsuit” written all over the poor Six Flag employee’s face. Down below, my entire family was rolling on the ground laughing so hard that they couldn’t even get up the stairs to help me. They didn’t stop laughing until they realized that they hadn’t gotten a video of the whole incident to win $10,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
I headed back to Mt. Pleasant, beaten, bruised and assured that my children were going to be advertising for a new, less embarrassing mother. And again, you say, “So? What’s so bad that you would hate Fall?” I’m not finished.
The following week, still literally blue and smarting from my tumble and embarrassed by my fits of hysteria, I went about my normal work which included taking care of our pet raccoon. Rascal the Raccoon had shown up at our home as an unweaned baby whose mommy had been hit by a car while he was clinging to her back. We took him in and nursed him, bottle feeding him to weaning. Rascal readily accepted house training like a cat and soon had run of our home.
A couple of days after the trip to Texas, I let Rascal out for a stroll. He was still pretty tiny and so I watched him carefully because I did not want him climbing into one of the huge trees of Northeast Texas. Of course, the first thing that he did was head for the biggest of those trees. I called out to Rascal and walked quickly to retrieve him from the tree trunk, not seeing the large tree root in front of me. The tip of my toe clipped under that tree root and I pitched forward. I tried to catch myself on my left leg, but my leg twisted so that my foot was inward as I continued to fall forward. The sound of a large tree branch snapping echoed through the Fall air as I hit the ground and I noticed that the lower half of my left leg, about 8 inches below my knee was laying in the totally opposite direction of the rest of my leg. It wasn’t a tree branch that had snapped. It was the bones in my leg. I did what any normal person would do. I screamed and screamed for help. And I reached down and picked up the wayward portion of my leg and tried to put it in the right position. Bad idea. My poor, stoic 11 year old daughter was the only person home and she came running out to see what had happened. She quickly assessed the situation, called a neighbor and brought me two ibuprofen and a glass of water without me asking. I was too in shock to know what I needed!! My neighbors arrived and slid a cutting board under my leg, securing it by wrapping and wrapping with a horse lead rope and then slid a blanket under me. They took corners of the blanket and lifted me to a car seat where I passed out. Two surgeries and a $20,000 hospital bill later, a year and a half of physical therapy and the leftover scars and arthritis of 3 plates with 13 screws, I walked out of the physical therapist’s office one Spring, relieved that I would not be a cripple the rest of my life.
Rascal finally grew up and wandered off to find a woman Raccoon, but he left us with an unlimited list of funny stories and precious memories. He was a wild raccoon and needed to go back to his habitat. We eased him from his home life to the great outdoors and he finally did not need us anymore.
So there is an example of ONE of my bad Autumns. As I have said, those memories are a distant past and now I can’t wait until I see our first scorpion – emphasis on the word SEE – because we know that Fall is just weeks away. I start getting the urge to cook heartier meals and fill the house with the smells of baking. Here is a recipe that I came up with to use our Shawnee Mills Country Gravy Mix for a hearty, lower calorie pasta meal (I’m on a diet you know) and Mr. Fix-It, my critic, gave it a two thumbs up.
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 lb chicken breasts cut into strips
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage or 1/2 lb ground pork mixed with salt, pepper and fennel seed
8 large shrimp, shelled
6 large mushrooms, sliced
1 – 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 pkg Shawnee Mills Country Gravy Mix or Peppered Gravy Mix prepared according to directions
1/2 to 1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned (depending on your taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp. chopped red sweet pepper
1 cup smoked gouda cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
4 cups cooked bowtie pasta
Prepare Shawnee Mills Gravy mix according to directions. As 1 1/2 cups water is heating, add tsp garlic powder and oregano to the 1/2 cup water and powdered mix.
When gravy has thickened add tomatoes
And add chopped peppers
Add gouda and parmesan cheeses. Stir until cheeses are incorporated, cover with lid and set aside onto warm eye.
Toss chicken and shrimp with Cajun seasoning. Separate chicken from shrimp. Add 2 tbsps. olive oil and 2 tbsps. butter to skillet and heat skillet to smoking. I am using a cast iron skillet here because I think it is best for a blackened meat. Put chicken into skillet and sauté until browned with black areas. Add shrimp and toss until no longer opaque.
Add sausage and chop and stir until crumbles are cooked all the way through.
Place meats into a bowl and put into the oven that has been preheated to warm or put into a warming oven if you have one.
Return the skillet to the heat and add mushrooms to the skillet. Stir fry, constantly stirring.
Cook mushrooms until browned and add to bowl of meats. Toss to mix.
Prepare pasta in salted boiling water with a tablespoon of olive oil added. Drain well. Stir gravy sauce and slowly add to the pasta, stirring to coat until pasta is covered according to your tastes.
Spoon pasta and sauce onto 4 plates and divide meat and mushrooms to top each plate of pasta. Drizzle leftover sauce over the meats and then garnish with grated gouda and parmesan cheese with chopped tomatoes. Serve with garlic bread and a salad.
So there’s a Fall meal for you! Hope you are ready to dive into this year’s season like I am!!!
On August 1st, we drew a name out of the hat and Frankie, from Silver Spring, Maryland, won the gift certificate to the Grangeville Rose Tea Room and Emporium. The gift certificate has been mailed to her sister, who lives right here in Oklahoma City, as an early birthday present. Lucky her!! And so, another Okie will get to experience the lovely atmosphere of our newest tea room. Congratulations Frankie and sister, Liz. And thank you to all who entered the drawing.
Now, we have a new giveaway. Red Gold Tomatoes, the best canned tomatoes in the world (if you can’t do your own!!) has sent me a couple of items that I thought I would give away to a lucky reader. On August 21st, we will be giving away this Red Gold Apron and a bottle of their Mama Selita’s Jalopeno Ketchup. Just comment at the blog and you will be entered. Plus, Red Gold Tomatoes is having their own celebration. I will post here exactly what my letter from them says:
“Come join our Red Gold Summer Grillin’ Party that will run from July 24th through August 30th on Facebook — #RGParty. During this period, we will share our new RG Tomato Grillers Recipes. They are tomato-licious!…As part of this promotion, we will be giving away 1,000 Red Gold “Summertime Tomatoes All Year Long” Aprons every week via a random drawing – that’s 5,000 total winners! There will also be one grand prize winner who will win a large Big Green Egg Grill – that’s a $1,000 value. Anyone who registers for our promotion is automatically entered into both the weekly drawing and grand prize drawing. Here’sthe twist – anyone can earn additional entries into ourgrand prize drawing! For each person they refer, who opts to participate in our promotion they will earn additional entries int the grand prize drawing. Our goal is to have 150K Red Gold Facebook Fans by the end of the summer. Each week we will be releasing new recipe videos, as well as sharing summer grilling tips.”
You can also find them on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/RedGoldTomatoes
And by the way, Red Gold is an Indiana based, 3rd generation Family-Owned company that has been making premium quality tomato products since 1942!! We need to support small businesses!!
Now, on to cooking….in the past, I have shown how to can meats like chicken breasts, ground beef, sausage and etc. I even can my own chili, a recipe that I am not at liberty to share because it is not my own. However, my point is that meat is an easy staple to put up for long-term storage much longer than freezer times. Many of these meats can be bought as well, canned, off of the grocery shelf, but sometimes we are at a loss what to do with them. Here, I am going to show you a quick way to make enchiladas with your canned chicken breasts, canned chili or canned roast beef. You can even use your canned cheeses and dehydrated onions, rehydrated with water.
You will need for 4 people:
8 – 10 White corn tortillas (yellow corn are fine but I like the lighter texture of the white corn tortillas)
1 pint canned, boneless chicken breasts
1 pint canned chili or canned roast beef
1 package taco seasoning mix (I prefer Taco Bell)
1 8 oz sour cream (light is fine)
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese (you can use your canned cheddar)
2 slices American Cheese (You can use your canned Velveeta)
1 small onion chopped
2 tbsp. chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 jar salsa verde
1 can red enchilada sauce (not picante sauce)
Place canned chicken breast with broth into a small sauce pan and add 1/2 pkg of taco seasoning. Stir until chicken is shredded and mixed with seasoning. Add a little water or broth if the meat is too dry. Simmer until liquid is reduced to a thick sauce. Set aside. Put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet and heat. Place one tortilla at a time into the hot oil and sear lightly. Turn and lift out to a paper towel to drain. Do each tortilla, placing a paper towel between each one.
Place a line of hot, seasoned chicken mix down the center of each tortilla. Roll tightly and place on a microwaveable platter, seam side down. Repeat until desired number of chicken enchiladas is achieved.
In a bowl, add sour cream, chopped onions, chopped green peppers, garlic powder, 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese and salt to taste. Stir and add just enough buttermilk to make a nice, thick sauce. Spread the sour cream sauce over the chicken enchiladas, evenly.
Spoon salsa verde down the center of the enchiladas.
Now, with remaining tortillas, (here I am just making two for the two of us but you can make more) we will make beef enchiladas. If using canned beef, do the same as with the chicken breasts and place into a pan with the broth and 1/2 pkg of taco seasoning, simmering until hot and liquid is reduced. If using your canned chili, heat it first, cooking it down to very thick and then spoon onto the tortillas. Roll the tortillas tightly and place onto the platter with seam side down.
Slice the American cheese into strips and lay the strips down the tops of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with a mixture of the cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses and then spoon red enchilada sauce over the top of the cheese.
Microwave the enchiladas a length of time according to your microwave’s power level (you can carefully cover these with foil, making the foil stand up away from the enchiladas and heat in the oven) I usually microwave about 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and sour cream sauce is hot. Remove from the microwave and sprinkle a mixture of cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses over the chicken enchiladas.
Serve with Mexican rice and refried beans and you’ll think you are at a restaurant!
Hi all. Haven’t been able to stand writing much lately. Writer’s block has reared its ugly head and then another issue just gave me more excuses. Most of you know that I have Graves and Hashimoto’s Diseases with the accompanying Thyroid Eye Disease (also known as TED). Lately, focusing on a computer screen for any amount of time has not been fun. I’ve tried. Best intentions and all that kinda thing. My eyes throb, burn and tear up and then, everybody wants to know what I’m upset about and what should send me into tears. Of course, assuring, “nothing,” doesn’t cut it and pretty soon, discussions of Prozac and other drugs of comotosity (is that a word?) become whispers behind my back where my “mom’s eye in the back of my head” is also throbbing, burning and tearing up. I then win the day and all involved relax as I pile ice onto my face, over a sleep mask, and I lay down on the couch to listen to the clickity clack of the Wheel of Fortune wheel. Ya know, something gets lost in that show when one can’t see the board and can only hear the ‘dings’ of the letters turning and the squeals of the contestants. Just not much brain stimulation there. And there’s no use looking because with the occassional double vision of TED, when a contestant buys a vowel, two show up side-by-side along with double consonents and the board looks like Russian! Last night, I asked Mr. Fix-It if he noticed the firelike flames of the headlights of oncoming traffic. He looked sideways at me like I was crazy and said that there were no firelike flames. Huh.
January is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month. Now, a year ago, I would have giggled and said, “Are you kidding? They have a month dedicated to the thyroid, of which nobody cares? Sheesh.” But things sure do change when you become one of the stories told by the countless number of people in all parts of the world who have been struck with these really aggravating autoimmune diseases. All of a sudden, you get this primal urge to wear a ribbon or get pledges and walk or something. You try all kinds of natural remedies and keep a journal of what works and what doesn’t work. I have to say that I have discovered that my Rosemary/Peppermint with Sage soap seems to sooth my painful eyes and keeps them from being so red. That’s pretty cool. Literally. But suffice it to say that one feels a new empathy for people who are struggling with diseases that are not necessarily life threatening but that are life altering. I went into Walmart awhile back and the checker was peering with difficulty at the price of my item. One eye was droopy and the other was terribly swollen and watery. I knew immediately that she had TED and I felt such a pain for her having to stand there, trying to see what wasn’t going to be easily seen. I wanted to just grab her to take her to a recliner for an ice pack and relief. I have been blessed. My eyes are not that bad yet. It is very possible that my day will come or it may not, but God has been gracious in allowing me just enough discomfort to keep me humble and not so serious a case so that it keeps me grateful. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:10) But I’m still kind of impatient about sitting in front of a computer screen!!
Many things have been happening over the past month…pretty exciting things, in fact. We have the privilege of welcoming Eric and Denyce and their wonderful site Breadtopia.com. They have decided to carry the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ at their Iowa business. Be sure to hop over and check out their site and their great baking blog. You will learn a lot! Then, the gift store, The Pink Pistol, recently opened in Tishomingo, Oklahoma by country music singer Miranda Lambert, is carrying our soaps packaged especially for them. Privately labeled for The Pink Pistol, the soaps have swarovski crystals centered on the ribbon that ties around the package of pastel tissue paper for a tidy gift with ‘bling’! We have been humming here, producing like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate bon bon factory and just as organized!! (note my sarcasm)
So please accept my apology for the long absence. A combination of writer’s block, eye problems and sheer burnout have plagued this blogger granny. I’m thinking of getting a bottle of Vitameatavegamin.
In the interim, reader Lacey from Texas, sent a recipe that Mr. Fix-It and I really liked. It is very easy and very tasty and REALLY fast. The recipe actually calls for chicken thighs with the bone in, but since we especially like white meat, I used boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks. I think that next time, I will cut the breasts into strips but you can use any part of the chicken you like!! Thank you, Lacey, for a new recipe!
1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs or boneless breasts
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Rice/rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Line a baking dish with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 450º
In a bowl, mix mustard, maple syrup and vinegar until creamy.
Place chicken pieces into foil lined casserole dish and salt and pepper chicken
Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and turn pieces to dredge in the sauce.
Bake at 450º for 40 minutes, basting with the sauce halfway through the cooking. For breast strips, it may not take 40 minutes until done.
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve portions, spooning sauce over the meat and sprinkling fresh rosemary leaves liberally over the pieces. This is an important addition!!
I served the chicken over rice – but heh – that’s just me. We eat so much rice, we should invest in a rice paddy!! Enjoy!!
I know. I know. Where have I been? Did I fall off of the earth? Did I get swallowed by a giant batch of soap? Did I get discovered by Food Network? (I wish!) While none of these scenarios is probable, the fact is that I had a variety of much less exciting happenstances occur at once. First, as I left you last time, I had a house full of teenage young men who stayed with us for 7 nights as they campaigned for our state representative. It was rather hectic here. But on top of that, my eye disease decided to rear its ugly head and I was having a hard time reading or typing for very long. It’s just no fun when you see two of everything!! And then – more company and more cooking. And then – two canning classes and a case of hives and more double vision. All in all, with excuses aside, it all boiled down to one main culprit: Writer’s block!!!!
Yep. My brain has been fried. I have not had one single thing to write about. I’d start, but the words wouldn’t come and when they did, there were two of each. Soooo, I gave up. I have now chilled, rested and used not just a few ice packs and I am back in business.
And speaking of business, we had a winner for our Fall Giveaway, reader and FaceBook fan, Sue Feely won two packages of our Frontier Fixin’s bread mix. Next week, right after Thanksgiving, a new giveaway will be introduced just in time for Christmas! So be watching.
With this being Thanksgiving week, a time for family, memories, gratitude and turkey, I thought that I would give you a way that I like to use my leftover turkey that is pretty tasty. The recipe originated from a cookbook that I’ve had for years and is evidently no longer in print, titled “Favorite Brandname Cookbook”. I tweaked the recipe for leftover turkey but use chicken as well and home canned chicken or turkey is really great in it. If you want to can your turkey after Thanksgiving and then use it later, this is a good way to use that, but straight off the bone is fine too. I like white meat in my recipes but both white and dark work well too. It’s all a matter of preference. In this tutorial, I am using chicken, but will be making it with turkey on Friday!! And just as a note, I use dehydrated celery, mushrooms and onions and they work great.
1 cup sliced carrots
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chicken or turkey broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg turkey gravy mix (if using turkey for the meat) mixed with 1 cup cold water
1 cup sour cream
3 cups cubed or shredded chicken or turkey
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped pimento
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp is good)
In a bowl, place the meat, either shredded or cubed. If using canned meat, it will shred.
Place veggies, minus the peppers and pimentos, into a saucepan with 1/4 cup chicken broth, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add a little water if needed to keep from cooking dry.
Add sour cream to the meat
Add cream of chicken soup and turkey gravy mixed with 1 cup water to the meat and sour cream
Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper
Add remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth and mix all ingredients well
Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish. I am using a Pampered Chef stoneware deep dish baker here. Set dish aside.
In a bowl, add flour, salt and baking powder and stir.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and milk together
Add cheese and peppers to the flour mixture and toss until the cheese is totally incorporated with the flour
Pour egg mixture in with the flour mixture and stir well
By spoonfuls, place the batter mixture in a ring around the outside top of the meat mixture in the casserole dish. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes at 350º until golden brown.
It’s pretty and it’s good! Serve hot with a salad and you have a meal!
(Don’t forget to comment to enter our newest giveaway for this heavy, heavy, marble and wooden rolling pin and package of a Made In Oklahoma mix to roll out! Winner will be announced Labor Day weekend.)
I’ve been sitting here, patiently twiddling my thumbs, having dutifully turned off all computers and the water heater due to a power outage this afternoon, that occurred without warning. I called the power company to alert them that we are without electricity and the woman laughed at me! She did. I asked if she had any idea how long this outage would last, and again, she laughed. Did I sound that funny? Or maybe she heard the terror in my voice as I assumed that she was hinting to me that we would never have electricity again?
Mr. Fix-It isn’t here this afternoon and so I am totally on my own. I am like Mrs. Ingles on the prairie, only with two dogs and two cats instead of children. And you can’t eat your dogs and cats any more than you can eat your children!!! How will we survive? I have already assessed my stock of deydrated food stuffs, mentally preparing what could be on the menu for the evening meal. I still have two quart jars of my homemade beef jerky that I have managed to hide from Mr. Fix-It and lots of veggies. I have water in the Berkey to boil and pour in with the veggies and meat to make soup and figure that could last us a few weeks. But it just dawned on me that we are under a burn ban so there will be no fire to boil the water. And it is getting stuffy in here. Never mind that the 115 degree days have broken. It has been 88º outside and who can live in 88º without air conditioning? I mean, really? Well, that’s all there is to it. We are all going to die. I remember the nice man who came to talk to us about a generator. We had all chuckled that if we invested that much money into something, we would end up never needing it. That is how Murphy’s Law works, you know. We didn’t buy one. Now it is payback. No generator – no electricity. I can’t even get the car out of the garage because the door is electric and HEAVY and I haven’t competed with Olympic heavy-weight lifters in some time now. And I have no water! Ack. The well pump is not working. All I have is what is in the Berkey. I have to conserve and I feel like it’s been weeks since I had a drink of water. My tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth. This is rough.
Oh wait. Never mind. The lights just came on. Yep! And water is coming out of the faucets. I’m tellin’ you. That was the longest ordeal! The electricity was off, like…let’s see…hmm…an hour and a half? Really? Huh. I thought it was weeks. You know, you just lose all track of time when you are having to rough it.
OK. So I’m being silly. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Fix-It is looking into a generator and I’m thinking this episode will give him a little extra boost toward that purchase! We lose electricity a lot in Oklahoma. And this has given more pause for thought on our water situation, as well. A hand pump would be a handy addition to our well system or a windmill with a tank. We’ll have to think about that too. We all need to be thinking about ways that we can live more sustainably without depending so much on outside forces. And trust me, two quarts of beef jerky won’t cut it!!
This kind of thinking always sends my tastebuds to grilling out. Unfortunately, we can’t do that right now. Too dangerous with a chance of a grass fire. But it hasn’t been that long ago that we weren’t under a burn ban and I tried a meat marinade that Mr. Fix-It found online that is just to die for. He said that he found it at American’s Test Kitchen. It is wonderful and unique and doesn’t take much time. Try this out. I promise that you that you will be hugging yourself and saying, “Who needs a Steak House??!”
So, here’s hoping that you have electricity all the days of your life…and that you will be well-prepared just in case you don’t!!
Warm-Spiced Parsley Marinade with Ginger
1/2 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped course
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped course
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/s cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3 or 4 one inch to one and a half inch thick steaks, preferably New York Strip, Ribeye, Filets or Sirloin
Place first 10 ingredients into a food processor or blender
Process until all ingredients are well-blended and fine
For Kabobs, trim all fat from steaks and cut into 1″ cubes. Sprinkle with tenderizer. Or, leave steaks whole and sprinkle with tenderizer.
Place steaks or cubes into a container that has a tight lid and add marinade from the food processor. Seal with lid.
Toss until all cubes or steaks are coated with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator, covered, from 4 up to 24 hours. I did mine overnight and until the next evening – probably 18 hours.
For kabobs, on skewers, alternate meat with pineapple, sweet onions, green pepper or you can also add mushrooms and parboiled new potatoes.
Place steaks or kabobs on a hot fire. Coals should be gray, glowing red. And these are now my instructions about how we cook a steak. Sear one side of the meat until browned and quickly turn to the other side. Immediately cover the grill with lid and allow steaks or kabobs to cook, undisturbed for 7 minutes for medium-well, 6 minutes for medium and 5 minutes for medium rare.
Immediately remove steaks or kabobs to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
As is usual for out in the country, the internet has been down for a few days and my I-phone has served for emergency web surfing. Yes, there is such a thing as emergency web surfing. One must bare one’s soul on Facebook and email or life comes to a screeching halt! And yes, I do know the definition of addiction. But the I-Phone is no substitute for a laptop when it comes to blog work.
And speaking of baring souls, I guess I’ll have to come clean and admit that I can really make a mess of things. Yep. I have done some really dumb things in my life, but I’ll have to say that last week proved that I can top even the dumbest things I’ve done.
On Friday, my daughter and her husband asked us to babysit for our little 4 1/2 month old granddaughter so that they could go to a banquet. At 3 in the afternoon, I gathered supplies at their house, placed diaper bag and gear into my car and snapped the carseat, little granddaughter snugly harnessed, into the base which is in the back seat. I tossed my keys into the front driver’s seat to have both hands free and arranged everything to my satisfaction. Aiming to run around to the driver’s side, I slammed the back door shut, only to hear a sickening “click” as my car locked all of the doors with a, “See? Who’s in control NOW, sucker!!”
I freaked. It was cool outside, but the sun was shining directly onto the back of my hatchback and so I knew that it was going to get warm really fast in the car. I ran up the steps of my daughter’s front porch and started pounding on the door to catch her before she got into the shower.
Now, there is one thing that I have come to realize about grandmotherhood. Your grandchild isn’t your child and so there’s this feeling of extra, extra, extra responsibility that goes with the title of ‘grandparent’. I didn’t even think about the fact that my daughter might tell me that I’m an imbecile or that I shouldn’t even HAVE keys to a car in the first place. My only thought was focused on my poor little grandbaby locked in my child-eating car.
It was at the moment my daughter opened the door and was quizically assessing my panicked face that I had the humbling feeling that I would definitely be dropping in my daughter’s admiration of my intelligence. I explained what had happened. Without a word, she was quickly on the phone with a locksmith. Well, did you know that locksmiths don’t unlock cars with babies in them? Something about liability. If they don’t get there on time, then they are liable. The locksmith told my daughter to call 911. Next, I heard her tell the situation to the 911 operator and as she hung up the phone, I could hear the wail of sirens in the distance. Pretty fast!
A minute later, the biggest, shiniest, reddest fire truck roared into place in front of my daughter’s house (which is in a neighborhood of many, many nosy neighbors) and I would say that the entire fire department unloaded from the vehicle. I am thinking that they all wanted to see what the dumb, old broad looked like who would lock a precious baby in a car. Using a wedge and this thing that looked like a blood pressure checker, they pried the door of my nearly new car about 1/2″ apart and pushed a rod down to the locking mechanism to push on the unlock symbol. Click. Simple as that.
My dear granddaughter, hair starting to mat against her head from sweat, was staring at her stuffed cow, blowing bubbles through her tiny lips and carrying on a conversation that only she could understand. When one of the firemen opened the back door, she grinned at him, face all lit up, as if to say, “You having fun too?!” He commented on what a happy baby she is and that she is awfully cute. We think so. I tried to pay him (he didn’t want a hug) but he said that this was just part of the job. Our heroes rode off in their bright red chariot as we waved them on. I am sure that the neighbors still wonder what that was all about.
I have learned a new truth. The only people who can retrieve babies from locked cars are firemen. And firemen do it all the time because there are more idiots around than just me! Other people have automatic door locks too and their cars like to show them who’s boss too! I feel so much better. But I will never let my keys off of my person ever again!!
Of course, cooking always strokes my wounded self-esteem and so I decided to do a little inventing to really make myself feel intelligent again. Mr. Fix-It had read about a rosemary-ginger seasoned salmon filet, grilled to perfection at some restaurant and as I could see his mouth watering as he tried to tell me about it, I decided that I might as well take a stab at my own version. I had a number of wild Alaskan salmon filets and so I thawed them and set to work throwing together a savory seasoning to rub onto the surfaces of the fish steaks. About a half an hour later, I had sampled a tiny taste of my mixture and decided it was perfect. It worked great as a rub and the charcoaled filets were perfection if I do say so myself! And Mr. Fix-It said they were too. He was a happy camper. This rub would work great on chicken as well. So if you would like to try something with a fresh and different flavor, here is the rub that I threw together.
3 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp any bottled garlic and herb mix (I used Frontier’s Garlic and Herb)
3 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp dried onion flakes
3 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp ground ginger
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp salt
Process first 6 ingredients in the blender until a powder. Add salt and sugar and mix thoroughly. Place in airtight container. Use as rub on fish or chicken, coating both sides, and charcoal.
Ginger and Rosemary make this rub taste so unique
Grinding all of the ingredients, except for the salt and sugar which are added after grinding, makes a uniform rub that can be easily sprinkled and rubbed into the meat.
Here in Okie Land, there is only one thing that we Okies would rather do than eat…and that’s watch sports. Sports is the one way that we can bring our large neighbors to the south – Texas – down a notch. There is a reason that the OU Sooners vs the UT Longhorns is called the Red River Rivalry. Sports is the way that we little southwest nobodies can whoop up on some northerners like the Boston Celtics or some west coast smarty-pants like the Lakers. It looks like we have the number one pro basketball team both in the Western Conference and the nation, you know! And even here in Prairie Country where winter lasts all of a month, we have a professional hockey team with its own ice arena. Shoot, on the Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City, we have boat houses where teams from all over the country suit up to compete with rowing teams on those long, skinny boats that look like something out of the Middle Ages powered by chained prisoners!
I have to say that I get pretty engaged in a good game if I have an interest in one of the teams. The Thunder’s games have become a regular show at our home and during the Fall with football weather, OU, OSU and Baylor (my niece attends Baylor) grab my attention. I am known to jump up and down and scream on occasion and Mr. Fix-It seems not to mind. He’ll let go with a shout every so often, but he is such a patient man.
One of my favorite pastimes concerning sports, however, is to write down the really stupid things that sports casters say. It’s like they have to be yammering throughout an entire game and don’t even realize that they sound really ridiculous. Here are some that I have heard in the past and also caught just recently at the Super Bowl and a few basketball games:
• “He’s not a normal human being!! Normal human beings don’t make a living of trying to get killed.” (I’ll second that)
• “He’s gonna fall off and drop back.” (Sounds like a recipe for injury to me!)
• “I wanna know what’s going on in that locker room!” (And then proceeds to tell us exactly what the coach is saying as if the sports announcer is really there!)
• “We can move the football.” (Doesn’t look like it so far, buddy!)
• “We have to move the football.” (That’s the object of the game!)
• “Look!! Look! He passed with his left hand!! He’s amphibious, you know!!” (Somebody hand him a dictionary!!)
• We’re going to get a double crack (That sounds painful)
• “It’s all about getting the ball down the court.” (Well, duh)
• “It’s about making points. If they don’t make those points, they don’t win.” (Another, “well, duh”)
Get out your pencil and pad and keep track of your own “Stupid Sports Comments” and you’ll get double the entertainment watching any particular contest! But as I said, second to sports in Oklahoma is eating, and so I thought I’d show you how I fix hot wings for Mr. Fix-It to munch on while he quietly holds in the normal male urge to jump up and scream as his OU quarterback races down the field for a touchdown. Someday, he’s just gonna let go and be just like me!!
3 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 to 3 dozen chicken wing portions
In a large container, mix salt into water to make a brine. Place the chicken wing portions into the brine and soak in the refrigerator for several hours.
Meanwhile mix flour with spices and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Drain the chicken (but do not dry) and place into flour mixture.
Toss to coat all chicken wing pieces
Fry pieces in oil that is about 1/4″ deep. You can use canola oil, olive oil or coconut oil for healthier oils.
Turn pieces and brown on the other side. Don’t worry if the chicken is not totally cooked when browned.
Place wing pieces on a rack (I am using old cookie racks) over a cookie sheet. Place in a 350º oven and bake for 35 minutes. This is a very important step. It helps to take out a lot of the grease from frying, cooks the chicken all the way through so that it just falls off the bone and seals the crust.
Remove wings from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes. Place into a large bowl.
Pour your favorite hot wing sauce over the wing pieces. Put just enough that when you toss the chicken, it will be covered but not saturated. I am using “Wing Time” brand Buffalo Wing Sauce (medium heat).
Toss the wing sections in the sauce, gently, with a large spoon or spatula
Place the coated wing sections back onto the rack and place back into the 350º oven for 15 more minutes.
Serve the chicken with blue cheese dressing and celery as a game snack. Or serve for dinner with mashed potatoes and the works!