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Sunday, November 29, 2020

The end of November and the leftovers

One turkey yielded us a nice dinner on Thursday, two turkey sandwiches each, a remake of the leftovers, one jar of broth to use later and a large pot of soup that will end up giving us three dinners.  Not bad for a 12 pound turkey.

For the remake I took some of the cornbread stuffing and made waffles.  I added some of the cheese ball to the left over mashed potatoes and heated in the oven and warmed some turkey.  The sauce was a maple syrup with Sirracha sauce for the big guy and turkey gravy for me.  This was Friday's dinner and it was SO good. The big guy was especially happy with it.

The spicy turkey soup I made is one I do with chicken as well.  The flavors and spices are just amazing.  I started the turkey stock in the crock pot on Friday evening and used it Saturday to make the soup,  In a large pot I cook the diced onion until tender, add green chilis and diced garlic.  Then I add the stock and simmer for a bit.  The spices I use are cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Once I add them I let simmer for awhile.  Then add the turkey and great northern beans.  I made cream cheese, cheddar cheese and cilantro roll ups to go with it. We each had a big bowl for dinner and there are four more bowls in the freezer for a couple of dinners in the next week or twol.  This soup, whether made with chicken or turkey is one of my absolute favorites.  Sorry Brunswick stew, but I just wasn't in the mood.

My four day weekend is coming to a close and I am fully aware that returning to work tomorrow is going to be brutal.

I have gotten the decorations down and some out.  The tree is going up today but may not get decorated until tomorrow evening or later.  I did get out my countdown to Christmas and put on the fridge.  This is how I start my day every December morning.  

Are you looking forward to December and the Holiday season?

Stay safe!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

The last few years I have streamlined our meal and the prep for the holiday. Tuesday I made two pie crusts, baked sweet potatoes and the cornbread for the dressing.

Wednesday I made pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, cranberry sauce and the dough for our bread.

Thursday I got up and made deviled eggs, a cheese ball and then I put the cornbread dressing together in the crock pot and the bread in the oven. Last but not least, roast the turkey, cook mashed potatoes and green beans. The house smells like Thanksgiving. I confess I had pumpkin pie for breakfast because well the rules are out the window with 2020.  We snacked a little on dip, veggies, cheeseball and crackers.  The main meal was at 4pm. Every thing was delicious and we were stuffed.  My bread came out better than ever before and I really think it is the flour I used.

After dinner we watched Christmas Chronicles 2 which was a fun movie.  A number of channels started showing Christmas movies before Halloween.  I always start on Thanksgiving.  

Today I will slowly start decorating for Christmas.  Tomorrow I will make a big pot of Brunswick Stew which I look forward to after every Thanksgiving.

Stay safe!

                                                                        The big guys plate.

                                                             This bread was amazing.

                                                                        Pumpkin Pie

Saturday, November 21, 2020


It is a dreary, cold November day here in my corner of the Midwest.  We left home this morning at 7am to top off supplies for Thanksgiving.  We entered a new phase of shutdowns yesterday so the big guy has closed his Tae Kwon Do school again for at least two weeks.  I'm rather happy about that because even though he was doing wellness questions, taking temperatures, wearing masks and shields and maintaining distance, this virus is out of control here.

I grew up with Grandparents that were very self reliant.  They grew or raised most of their food and stocked up for emergencies, bad weather or whatever else may happen.  I carried on this tradition because there is nothing worse than not feeling well and having to run to the store.  Living in hurricane territory for 20 years was another reason.  I do not hoard, I simply make sure to have an ample supply of items we routinely use.  I like the insurance of knowing I have what I need at home to get through a few months if needed.  Thankfully, I didn't need much today but fresh veggies, fruits dairy and meats because the stores are once again getting pretty empty in our area.  I did stock up on cat food because it would be ugly around here if we ran out of food for Jet.  He is a bit of a bully when he is hungry.  

So it will be the big guy and I for Thanksgiving.  I bought a 12 pound turkey a few weeks ago and will take it out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator for the next 3 or 4 days to thaw.  I'm really looking forward to Brunswick stew with the left overs.  I am going to follow the menu and prep list I did last year since it worked SO well and I had little to no Thanksgiving day stress. 

Since we were planning on leaving so early this morning, last night I made a coffee cake.  I found the recipe in an old Amish cookbook I have called The Wooden Spoon cookbook by Miriam Miller.  It comes together quickly and it is delicious.

 Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1/2 Cup Walnuts or Pecans-finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Cup Brown sugar (recipe called for regular sugar)
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups flour
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

In a small bowl, combine nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar. (I also included raisins)
Grease 9 inch pan. and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Combine dry ingredients and combine wet ingredients.  Pour wet ingredients into butter and sugar and mix until well combined.  About 2 minutes.  Slowly incorporate dry ingredients until well combines.  This is a thick wet batter.  Spread half of the batter in pan and sprinkle half of the nut mixture on top.  Spread evenly with remaining batter.  Top with rest of nut mixture.  Bake for 55 minutes.

You can make a quick powdered sugar icing to drizzle on.  I did not do that this time.

Hope everyone is safe and healthy.  Anyone planning their Thanksgiving meal?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Counting Down To Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. I always try to make the holiday a little special,  and after everything 2020 has brought, this is the year to really celebrate.  It will just be the big guy and I so it should be a very relaxing holiday.

Lately, I seem to be in the taking one day at a time mode but I'm planning out the menu this weekend and doing my final shop next Saturday.  We've had our turkey for a couple of weeks, we just need to pick up fresh produce and dairy.  I'm planning on a pretty 'traditional' dinner.  

Covid has been increasing here like most places.  It seems people that did not social distance during Halloween have caused quite the surge.  I'm sure it will increase even more as the next three major holidays come.  It's a very scary time for most.

A few weeks ago I was finally given remote access to work from home because of being in direct contact with the physicians seeing the Covid patients.  Unfortunately with my responsibilities it isn't always possible to be out of the office so I've actually still been working more from the office than at home. The doctor's are giving me a little space and staying out of my area whenever possible.  Well, some are anyway.

I don't have much of a sweet tooth but I do find myself baking a lot more lately.  I find it so relaxing and we all need to be doing more that relaxes us. Today I made brownies.  This is a simple and delicious treat.


1 1/4 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1 stick melted unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup good cocoa 
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease or line an 8x8 pan.

Sift together all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat sugar and eggs on low speed until blended.  Turn up speed to high and mix until light and fluffy.  About 3 minutes.  With mixer still running, slowly add melted butter until combined. 
Gradually add dry ingredients and combine well.

If adding extras such as nuts, chips, coconut, etc. fold in the batter now reserving some to scatter on the top.

Bake 30 minutes for a chewy brownie or 35 minutes for a more cake like brownie.

Cool and Enjoy.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Things That Make Me Smile

                      It's November!!  I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween.   I  made a pie because                                                                    well, pie is always better than candy.                                                                                                   

                                                     Apple Pie with vanilla bean ice cream


Friday, October 30, 2020

Baked Potato Soup

I made this Wednesday night because it was such a cold and rainy day I had been dreaming of creamy soup.  It was SO delicious we had the leftovers on Thursday.  Very rarely do we eat leftovers the very next day.  This soup is that good. Add a slice of buttered crusty bread on the side and you have a hearty dinner.

Baked Potato Soup

 4-6 strips of Bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

5 Cups of Yukon Gold Potatoes cubed

14 ounces Chicken Stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chipotle or regular chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 12 ounce can evaporated milk

2 1/2 Cups of cheddar cheese shredded


Fresh chives and sour cream

In the bottom of your Dutch Oven or other large pot, saute' your bacon and onion until bacon is crispy.  Remove bacon and drain off bacon grease.

Add garlic, potatoes, chicken broth and seasonings.  Stir and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Add milk and cheese, saving about 1/2 cup for garnish. Bring back to a simmer and remove from heat.

Garnish and Enjoy!!

Friday, October 23, 2020

My new go to Bread recipe

With the temperatures falling I am back to baking bread.  So far, I've made this bread three times and it has been delicious all three times.  The crust is amazing and the crumb is moist with a tang hitting you in the back of your mouth.  It is good room temp, for sandwiches and reheated with butter and garlic.  It's never lasted more than three days, but it was still very good on day three.

3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 Cup warm water (around 105degrees)
1 package of yeast

Combine the yeast and water and give it about 5 minutes to bloom.

Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix until all flour is incorporated.  The dough will appear to have a rough texture.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel and let sit room temperature for 18-24 hours.

When the dough is ready use floured hands to gently press down the dough.  Lightly dust the top of the dough and gently work it into a large ball.  You do not need perfection here and remember to treat your dough gently.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

For the right crust and chew this dough does need to be baked in a Dutch Oven or similar oven safe pot with a lid.  Everything I have read says that preheating the pot along with the oven and then adding the dough creates the perfect steam yielding an amazing loaf of bread.  I do not do this ecause I have read it is very hard on your Dutch Oven if it is enameled. I preheat the oven, lightly oil the pan and then transfer the bread to the pot, cover and put the pot in as the oven preheats.  I start the timer once the oven is preheated.  

After baking remove loaf to cool on a wire rack.  

I have an enameled Crock Pot Dutch Oven and I love it.  This is the 5 quart.  The large spaced out handles make it super easy to move around even when it is hot.  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Chili Fritos

It's really beginning to look and feel like Fall here in Southern Illinois so it's time to change the menu up. One of the first things I like to make is a big pot of beef chili. Sorry purists and Texans but I love beans in my chili. I also love that it freezes so well making it a quick weeknight meal. We like chili with oyster crackers or cornbread but every now and then I love Chili Fritos. I had never heard of Chili Frito until moving here 15 years ago. As with most dishes there is some debate on where the recipe originated. New Mexicans claim it was invented in the 1960's at a Woolworth (now Five and Dime) in Santa Fe by Teresa Hernandez. Texans trace it back to 1930's San Antonio resident Daisy Doolin who was the mother of the Frito company founder C.E.Doolin. However,in the book Fritos Pies, Stories, Recipes and More written by Kaleta Doolin the daughter of C.E. Doolin, writes that in 1932 her father actually purchased the recipe for a fried corn chip product and a device used to make them for $100.00 from Gustavo Olguin who was in San Antonio and needed money to return to his family in Mexico. From Kaleta Doolin's research she believes the recipe is actually a creation of a corporate test kitchen in 1937. The recipe on the bag says to make a slit down the personal size bag of fritos and add a large laddle of Hormel Chili. This is apparently sold at most sporting events in Texas and the Midwest. In the Midwest it is often referred to as "Walking Tacos". The first time I encountered it was in the hospital cafeteria and they labeled it Chili Frito Pie. Anthony Bourdain actually did a segment of Parts Unknow at the Five and Dime that claims to have first served the dish. In true Bourdain fashion, he claimed to enjoy it even though he remarked it was like holding a 'warm crap in a bag'. When I make it I simply fill a bowl with my homemade chili and add a handful of Fritos to the top with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions. Have you ever had Frito Chili? Grrr...this new blogger is killing me. Anyone else struggling with it?

Saturday, October 10, 2020

A really nice Saturday

Happy Saturday! It was a LONG week of work and I am so happy it is finally the weekend. The big guy and I do most of our shopping every other week in a larger town about 40 minutes west of us. We've been shopping there for years and even though their population is much larger than ours, their Covid numbers are shockingly lower there than here in our little town.

The leaves are all changing here and it was a beautiful drive.  I usually read the entire way there but today I found myself just staring out the window in awe of the amazing colors. 

We did our shopping at our two favorite stores and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on candy for the little beggars on Halloween.  If ever there was a year to go a little overboard, this is the year. We were getting ready to leave when we noticed a new restaurant. If anyone was going to build a new place to eat during uncertain times with a pandemic, this is the model to go by.  It is totally open air concept on three sides.  It's visually very cool looking.  With very attractive heaters on the ceilings and two large fireplaces I can see it will be comfortable well in to the winter. I also liked how they took your temperature before allowing you to enter and cleaned everything on a table when people left including the menus.  This is only the second time we have eaten out since March and I felt pretty comfortable. I chose the beer cheese bacon burger and it was very good.

The big guy commented as soon as we sat down how good it felt to kind of feel human again.  I have to agree. It was a really nice Saturday.

                                                            My Beer cheese, bacon burger.

Friday, October 2, 2020

October is Here

 It's October!  I do enjoy spring and summer but October - February has always been my favorite time of the year.  I think it's because of all the holidays, evenings by the firepit, snuggling up with a book and being able to bake without feeling bad about heating up the house while the A/C is on.

I started making my own corn taco shells or tortillas awhile ago because we enjoy them so much.  I bought a couple sets of the taco holders and I LOVE them.  Well today I found another use for them.  We only have hot dogs once or twice a year and today was the day.  I bought a package of Nathan's Best all beef dogs and they were so good.  The holders make it so much easier to get all of your toppings on without struggling.  Love a gadget that has more than a couple uses.

The tomatoes and peppers are still growing but it won't be long before frost ends this years growing season. I stopped by the farmers market this morning and picked up some more. He said we'll be lucky if we get two or three more weeks without a frost.   My basil grew so well this year so I have enough pesto in my freezer to get us through to next year.  Between pickling, canning and freezing I'm stocked on enough summer goodness to get us through the winter so that is something to be thankful for.  I've eaten my weight in BLT's, Jalapeno Poppers of all kinds and fried green tomatoes.  The Poblano peppers have been amazing too.  I love charring them on the grill, remove the skin and stuffing them.   

 I honestly didn't enjoy this summer as much as I usually do.  I guess with everything going on in the US politically, racially, then Covid still looming over us and whatever heathen little creature ate a lot of my garden didn't help matters. I'm hoping the next 5 months bring some much needed happiness.

Sunday, September 27, 2020


You take sliced bread of any kind, cut out a hole in the center, drop in an egg and fry in a buttered skillet.  Top with powdered sugar and maple syrup.  Or just eat it as is with a little salt and pepper.

I have been making this for my husband for at least 30 years.  I vaguely remember my Grandmother making it but I do not remember what she referred to it as.  I have always called it moonstruck or egg in a hole.

According to Google, there are dozens of names.  Everything from one eyed Jack to one eyed Pete to Popeye.  The recipe first appeared in Boston Cooking School Cookbook in 1890 under the name Egg in a Hole and has made it into each revision.  In 1941 the dish was called gashouse eggs in the movie Moon Over Miami.  In the 1987 film Moonstruck, it was called egg in a trashcan.

Have you ever made this?  If so, what do you call it?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Life Rolls On

 It has been so long since I've posted here. Work has had me pretty stressed out the last month.  A lot of changes.  I usually embrace change but this is more like chaos.  After a three day weekend of pretty much just relaxing,  I am feeling a little better.  I just had to remind myself what my priorities are and not get caught up in the small stuff.

The temperatures have cooled down quite a bit and the humidity is gone.  Fall is in the air and I couldn't be happier about that.

I spent some time going through some of my Grandmother's recipes.  I had to laugh when I saw this one.

The recipe is for Spaghetti Con Polpette..I read that and said what is that.  Then I noticed the line below it which says it all... "meat balls to me".  Gotta love her.  Every Christmas my Grandmother and her sister in law made a dessert that I just loved.  I remember the taste to this day.  I knew it had vanilla waffers and pineapple and whipped cream but that is all I knew.  I finally found her recipe.  It is simply called "Creamy dessert".  We will be having this for Christmas.  It's been years. 

I finally found the prep table I have been wanting.  It is so nice to have a place to mix spices or roll out dough without using the kitchen counters.  My kitchen seems to stay much more organized now.

I made cupcakes this morning since it's been awhile. This is the Hershey cocoa recipe for the cupcake with a toasted coconut cream cheese frosting.  They are SO good.

Any recipes from your Grandmother that you wish you had?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Weekly Review and Peruvian Green Sauce aka Aji Virde

It was a cooler than normal week here but the heat and humidity is making a comeback.  I worked on the garden trying to get it ready to plant a little for the fall.  I still have tomatoes, cayenne peppers, basil, rosemary and oregano growing.  Everything else has been harvested and cleaned up.  The farmers market was amazing Friday and I picked up a number of things.

Dinner this week:

Chicken, onion and pepper stir fry with mac and cheese and tomato slices with basil    

 Beef picadillo with  rice and green sauce       

 Omelette, bacon, roasted diced potato     

 Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread 

RARE, a local family owned place...our first dinner in a restaurant since March.  I had a beer cheese pretzel as an appetizer and an amazing steak and salad for my meal.  The steak was SO amazing. 

Grilled chicken, corn on the cob and stuffed poblanos                                                                                

A BIG salad

So a little on the 'green sauce'.  Well over 25 years ago I worked with a woman whose father was originally from Peru.  She gave me her recipe for Peruvian Green Sauce or Aji Verde.  I did a google search and found that there are as many recipes for this sauce as there are people in Peru.  Some add mayo, vinegar, mustard, cilantro, one I saw even added cheese.  I am sticking to the one I've always made because it is delicious.  It is very good on grilled meats, spaghetti, picadillo, name it.                  

Lydia's Peruvian Green Sauce:

1 medium yellow onion  

1 medium green bell pepper

4 cloves garlic

3 or 4 jalapeno

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil  


Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine until smooth.  Will keep for over a week in a covered glass jar in the fridge. 

I'm working on my Fall cleaning and going through every cabinet, drawer, closet and surface of this house.  I plan to be done by October 1st.  The beginning of my Holiday season.  Yes it's all on the way...Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.  I love celebrating them all.  Not sure what this winter will bring between the election and Covid, but I'm hoping it will be OK because this woman could really use something to look forward to.

Oh and're killing me.  It took me way to long to post this because of your settings.