Sunday, February 25, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  TBG.  He had to have tests for pancreatic cancer and bladder cancer because of a side effect of the Jardiance that the cardiologist put him on.  He also had some sugar in his urine which is another side effect.  He is not diabetic but was told this medication had shown in studies to promote heart health.  He decided to stop taking it Thursday and says the foggy, weird feeling he was having since taking it has stopped.  I think it made his blood sugar go too low but I'm not a doctor.  His repeat echo came back unchanged.  So, two appointments this week with cardiologists and a home sleep study.  It's just so hard to know what the right thing is to do.  

Where I've been:  I took Friday off and ran a few errands that morning.  

Where I'm going:  I'll go with TBG to his two cardiologist appointments.  Other than that, I don't have anything planned yet other than working.

What I'm watching:  Winter and Spring fight it out. March - May in our area is a roller coaster of weather. One day it's 27 the next day is 70.  Wearing layers is especially important this time of year.  This week is supposed to be the same.  

What I'm reading:  I'm going through notebooks and old journals reading a bit as I go. I can tell you from old entries that setting a solid goal, visualizing it and working on it really does get you there.  I'm cutting out things that I want to keep and putting them in a folder and the rest is going.  I have a large picnic basket that is filled with brand new, really nice notebooks, that I'm vowing to use. I inherited my love of nice stationery, notebooks and pens from my mom.  Looking at the pile of books I realize she gave me most of them.

What I'm eating:
I made a loaf of bread to eat through the week.  The low humidity in winter is the best time for baking.  The bread comes out beautiful.

BIG salad with green goddess dressing and a slice of bread.
Veggie pasta and salad 
Fried chicken sandwich with slaw and sweet potato fries
LO Indian Chili with Jalapeno poppers
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli.
Chicken fajita nacho salad with homemade guacamole.  I've convinced TBG how good avocados are for his heart health.  
Tonight I'm having a steak and TBG is having cod.  
I have 5 gorgeous poblano peppers that I need to char grill today too so I'm cooking the meat on it too.

Who needs a good slap:  I do.  For years I have used a spiral notebook or a hardcover bound notebook for the year.  I stopped using planners because it just didn't seem like they kept me as organized and a lot of things in them I didn't use.  I don't know why but this year I wanted to try a planner again and it's only taken a month or two for me to remember they don't work for me.  It's pretty and it 'should' work but it doesn't so this week I'm going back to my old way.  Two slaps for me for thinking it would work this time and for wasting the money on it.

What's making me smile: An evening ice cream run to Yellen Hellen's.  So good and such a cute place.

I hope everyone is doing well and has a wonderful week ahead.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

52 Recipes in 52 Weeks #6 Nana's Soft Jam Cookies

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

My Mom, who is also a cookbook hoarder lover bought me a number of these Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks years ago.  They are fun to look through because of all the tips and quotes written throughout.  There also are a lot of fun ideas for holidays, parties and making meals fun.  I have to say though that I think this is the first time I have tried a recipe from one and I was not disappointed.  

It is a super easy recipe, and you can use any of your favorite jams.  One thing did confuse me a bit.  It says to use 1/2 teaspoon of cookie dough.  I thought it has to be bigger than this but I followed the recipe.  The 1/2 teaspoon must be correct because the cook time was on point.  But, the recipe says it makes 24 cookies but when I made them, I had 42 cookies.  So all a bit odd.  

The cookies are a bit browner than this picture detects.  I used Raspberry Jam which is the perfect sweet, tart to go with the cookies that is a lovely texture, not soft, not hard.  We both give the taste a 9. And Dr. E said they were fabulous. :-)   The only issue was the conflicting information in the recipe.  I will be making these again.

Monday, February 19, 2024

52 Recipes in 52 Weeks #5 Indian Spiced Chili

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

I found this new to me recipe on the blog  Indian Spiced Chili

2 T. Olive Oil
1 Vidalia onion, diced
4 mini sweet peppers, seeded and diced.  She used a combination of red, orange and yellow.  I used orange and green bell peppers that I had on hand.
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 T. garam masala
1 T. sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with juices
1 T. brown sugar
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can sweet corn, drained (I did not use this as we no longer eat corn)
sour cream and shredded cheese for serving if desired

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant and translucent.

Add the peppers, garlic and jalapeno and continue to cook until onions turn golden, another few minutes.

Stir in the garam masala and paprika, coating the vegetable and then add the ground beef to the pot.

Cook and stir, breaking down the beef until browned.  Stir in the tomatoes with their juices and the brown sugar, cook for another few minutes.

Add the beans, corn (if using), mix well, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired.

We both LOVE chili of various kinds so I was really looking forward to making this when I found the recipe.  It was a very cold weekend so a perfect opportunity to try it.  We both really enjoyed it.  TBG talked about it quite a few times and remarked that he is happy there are two large bowls left for two more dinners.  There is a lot of flavor in the dish and it had that warming spice feeling like Indian food does.  

I highly suggest trying this chili while we are still in winter.  It really is GOOD!!


Sunday, February 18, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's on my mind:  Honestly, sometimes I have a tendency to think too much.  There's some worry about various things, then there is work, home, family and friends and of course the world as a whole.  I'm really working on clearing my mind and just being in the moment.  It doesn't always work but I am going to keep trying.  Even just 10 minutes sitting quietly and just focusing on my breathing really makes a difference.

Where I've been:  I went to my hairdresser to get a much-needed haircut.  It's always good to see him and to have someone do your hair.  A little pampering goes a long way.  TBG and I met for a quick lunch.  It really makes my workday a bit better to get out of the office for a bit.  And I always love time with TBG.

Where I'm going:  Right now, there is nothing on my schedule other than work.  But TBG has two doctor appointments, and we have to get him in to the dentist because Friday one of his teeth broke.  I would be stressed if I had all of that in one week, but it doesn't seem to faze him.  He's such a calming soul.

What I'm watching:  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen Friday and Saturday, and I had Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on.  I really do enjoy that show and seeing the creativity in so many different chefs and cooks. Have you eaten at any of the restaurants that have been featured on the show?  I've only been to two.  We went to Charlie Parkers in Springfield and Mama's Mustard and Pickles in Louisville.  Both were good but I'd like to visit more places.

What I'm reading:  I started reading Living Good Daily.

What I'm eating:

Sunday TBG requested Nacho Fried Chicken.  We had that with Jalapeno poppers and rice.  I made the poppers by adding a long strip of cheddar cheese, covering that in cream cheese and then coating them in flour, egg and crushed nacho chips.  I cooked them in the air fryer, and they came out AMAZING  I want them again very soon.

LO spicey chicken and white bean soup with cornbread
BIG salad
Lamb chops, baked potato and salad
Pan pizza and salad.  I usually make thin crust pizza but decided to try a pan pizza.  We both really enjoy it with a salad and creamy Italian dressing.  I don't know why but I took a picture of it before cooking and not one after.  The Ninja foodie really does cook pizza better than the oven can.

BIG salad
Beef cheeseburgers with oven fries
I'm not sure what's on the menu tonight but it will include chicken.  

We actually had to many bananas which doesn't usually happen so I was happy to make a banana bread with pecans.  

Who needs a good slap:  

What I'm planning:  I'm starting to think about the garden this year.  I don't want to do too much but do want my favorite veggies and herbs.  I'm also thinking about our Anniversary in April.  I want to a day trip or weekend away.  Not sure what yet.

What is making me smile:  We finally had a measurable snow!!  Friday when I left work at 1:30, the rain was starting to turn to a mixture of ice and snow.  Our weather people said 1-2 inches and that usually means maybe a dusting.  By 5 pm we had 5 inches and it was SO cold but so beautiful out. 

I hope every is staying safe and enjoying the weekend.  Wishing you all a wonderful week!!

Sunday, February 11, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  Living in the moment and appreciating all of those small joys that really do make life worth living.  Time goes by so quickly but when I embrace each day as the special gift that it is, things seem to slow down a bit.  We've had a few really cold days and a little dusting of snow but this winter has been above normal in temperatures so far which has my internal clock confused.  I have had to remind myself a few times that it's only February not March.

Where I've been:  TBG and I had lunch at a new to us 'biker bar'.  I had a fried chicken sandwich, he had a fried fish sandwich, and we shared an order of onion rings.  The place was really clean, the service was wonderful, and the food was really good.  We'll go back to try their burgers sometime soon.  

Where I'm going:  Thursday I have a hair appointment and Saturday we're going to Fairview Heights to do a bit of shopping.  Other than that, I'll be at work or at home.  I'm still trying to hibernate as much as I can right now.  I've been seeing so much about Hygge, I guess I am not alone.

What I'm watching:  The latest series of Fab 5.  I know it's a reality show and that we don't know what all goes on behind the scenes, but I do love this show.  It never fails that I end up in happy tears at the end of a majority of them.  TBG watched one with me and HE even had tears of joy. We also watched the first episode of Griselda.   I wouldn't exactly say it hooked me, but I do want to see how everything plays out since I remember her and the 'true' events. 

What I'm reading:  I finished The City Girls Guide to Baking and really enjoyed it.  The other day I took a box into the office to go through books on the bookshelves.  I realized that I have a number of books that I haven't read yet and that it is time.  So instead of buying anything or going to the library I'm going to focus on the books I have that are yelling out Read Me.  The first one is Downhome.  An Anthology of Southern Women Writers. I opened the book and realized a friend of mine sent it to me probably 25 years ago because she knows how much I enjoy reading Southern Literature.  If I hadn't included the card she sent saying that I, wouldn't have even remembered.  I'm looking forward to what other treasures I may find.

What I'm eating:  
Spicy northern bean and chicken soup
Pasta, meat sauce, salad and garlic, parm bread sticks
Thai chicken, veggie and noodle bow.
LO beef and bean chili
BBQ chicken, scalloped potatoes and salad

Stuffed shells, salad and garlic, parm bread sticks
Tonight, TBG has requested nacho chicken legs. 

I didn't make a new recipe last week, but I will catch up.  I'm still shooting for 52 in 52 weeks.  

Who needs a good slap: One particular pharmaceutical rep. visited my office (which she set out on her own to find and bypassed the kiosk she is supposed to sign in to) wanting to do a lunch with the doctors.  I explained that the hospital has a policy against pharm rep lunches and that the hospital was unusually busy and took her number telling her I would call when it was a good time.  Well, she appeared again this week with a box of cookies thinking that would change things, I guess.  I again told her that I would call when they could meet with her and that I had given out the information on the COPD treatment that she is peddling, and she didn't need to waste her time coming up every week.  I know it is her job to sell her companies product but when I come across pushy, rude people, I have a tendency to push back.  It's one of my flaws.  She deserves 4 slaps. 

What is making me smile:  Binx getting fresh air on one of our warmer days this week.  He is fascinated with looking up at the sky.  

I hope everyone is doing well.  What is going on in your world?

Friday, February 9, 2024

Things That Make Me Smile

I've been wanting a new pair of cafe curtains for the kitchen to use in Spring and Summer to lighten things up and I found a pair that I love.  They are from Seams Original on Etsy and the quality and craftmanship are wonderful. I smile when I see them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

52 Recipes in 52 Weeks #4 Lamb T-bones with Rosemary-Balsamic Butter Sauce

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

We eat lamb probably once a week and the T-bones are one of our favorites.  Usually, I put a little cumin, coriander, garlic and salt and pepper to spice them up before pan frying in a cast iron skillet.  I saw this recipe and thought it might be nice to try them another way. This recipe came from another cookbook of Emerils, 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast.

Eight 2-inch-thick lamb T-bone chops

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons diced garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary (I'm sure you could use dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red wine
6 Tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, the garlic, 1/2 Tablespoon of rosemary, and the salt.  Combine well.  Add the lamb and set aside to marinate while you continue with the dish.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of balsamic and the red wine.  Bring to a simmer on the stove until it becomes a syrup consistency, about 7 minutes.  Reduce the heat and whisk in the butter in three parts to combine.  Do not allow to boil.  Add the remaining rosemary, remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan on medium high heat.  Remove the lamb from the marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  When the oil is hot add the lamb and cook 4 minutes per side.  Rest briefly before serving and then drizzle with the rosemary-balsamic butter sauce and enjoy.

We did really enjoy this dish, and we both give it a 9.  The rosemary-balsamic butter sauce is amazing!! I'm already thinking of trying this sauce on other meats, it was that good.  I know a lot of people do not have access to lamb like I do.  If you do find it though, don't be intimidated by lamb.  It is actually very easy to cook.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

52 Recipes in 52 Weeks #3 New York style bagels

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

My history with bagels is pretty simple.  I never liked them until Bakin' Bagels opened up by our house in Florida in the 90's and I had my first taste of a NY style bagel.  It was true love at first bite, and I enjoyed them frequently until we moved in 2005 and I have only had one other bagel since.  I was excited when Panera opened here because I've heard a few people talk about their bagels.  I tried one and it wasn't for me.  I've wanted to try to make my own for a very long time and now I can say I have.

The recipe was in my need to try folder and I'm not sure when I put it there.  It is from the website Sophisticated Gourmet.

2 teaspoons yeast
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour or high gluten flour
up to 1/2 cup flour for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

In 1/2 cup warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast.  Let sit for 5 minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture until it all dissolves in the water.

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.

Pour 1/3 cup of the warm water into the well.  Mix and stir in the rest of the water that is remaining.  You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.

On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.  Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and still dough.

Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat.  Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel.  Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.  Punch the dough down and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (next time I will use the scale to make sure they're equal size)  Shape each piece into a round.  Now take a dough ball and press it gently against the work surface, moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms.

Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring.  Stretch the ring out and place on a parchment lined cooking sheet.

After shaping the bagels and placing them on the sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Reduce the heat.  Use a spider or slotted spoon to lower the bagels into the water.  My pot took three at a time.  Let them boil for 2 minutes per side.

If you want to add toppings to your bagels, you can do that now they're out of the water.

Once all the bagels have boiled, transfer them to the lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

I topped a couple with poppy seeds, a couple with sesame seeds and one with a slice of gouda cheese.  The rest I left plain which is my favorite. (The last photo is of the one with cheese.  It was TBG's idea)

The outcome was AMAZING!  This is exactly the kind of bagel I love.  A slightly crisp exterior, soft inside but with a great chew.  The recipe was very easy to follow and absolutely yielded a delicious bagel.  I need to work on appearance a bit and make sure they're rolled out a bit better but the taste is spot on. This is being moved to my favorites since I know I will be making these again and again.

We both give this recipe a 10!

Sunday, January 21, 2024

My Week

Happy Sunday!

This was a rollercoaster of a week and most of my weekly w's would be blank so no sense in doing them.  On Sunday afternoon, TBG, started coming down with a virus and by Monday he was down for the count.  Despite all of my efforts to avoid him and sanitize everything I realized Tuesday morning that I was coming down with it.  Whatever virus it was brought on major body aches, chills, coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite and fatigue.  It could be any of them out there going around so we didn't feel the need to be tested.  TBG started feeling much better on Friday and I did yesterday so thankfully I think it's over.  

As if that all wasn't enough fun, Wednesday TBG went to start his truck since it was predicted to get so much colder.  It wouldn't start so I called Triple A and they towed it to the mechanic.  Friday, they called us with the diagnosis of a $7000.00 repair.  It's an older truck with high mileage and I really didn't want to put that into it.  Luckily TBG has a friend who is a mechanic and sells used vehicles as well.  He happened to have a really nice one and wanted to buy the truck back, so it was a win win for us all.  

Meals this week were a challenge because for the most part, we didn't have an appetite.  We both lost 5 pounds which we really didn't need to lose but I'm sure they'll come back once we're back to regular eating.  We're eating better now just still not very much.  We get full a lot faster now.

Left over chili for me before I got sick.
Scrambled eggs and toast
Chicken noodle soup
Scramble eggs and toast
Chicken fajitas and rice (finally felt like we could eat)
Pizza loaded with veggies since we hadn't eaten many this week.

Even though this week was not the best, I was able to find the joys.  
We had everything we needed or wanted and didn't need to go shopping for anything.  
We have an emergency fund that covered the price of the newer car without us making debt or having to cut something out.
That Binx is a sweet cat that knows when you're not feeling well and stayed by our sides.
Friends who let us know they were there if we needed them.
My doctors and NP's who offered the same.  
If we had to spend a week at home, sick as a dog, at least it was the coldest week of the year so far and we didn't have to go out in it.

I didn't do any reading, watching TV or anything else really but laundry and sleep.

I'm ready for the new week though.  I also made my Week 3 new recipe this morning and I can't wait to share it!

I hope everyone is staying warm and healthy.  Enjoy your Sunday and may this coming week be a good one for us all!!

Monday, January 15, 2024

52 New Recipes in 52 Weeks #2 Sour Cream and Blueberry Coffee Cake

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

Sunday morning, I decided to try the Sour Cream and Blueberry Coffee Cake from Mario Batali's Big American Cookbook.  I've never been a fan of Mario's, not even when he was on the Chew.  I actually bought this book prior to his unfortunate public situation.  I bought it because it was on the $5.00 shelf at Barnes and Noble and it really is a fun book with a lot of good recipes covering regional favorites throughout the US.

"Tucked at the bottom of the menu of Hobee's restaurant, suspiciously under the heading of "Light Bites," is the reason a lot of people are there in the first place: the blueberry coffee cake.  It's the thing people who leave the southern San Francisco Bay Area say they miss and they try to replicate."

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups of fresh blue berries.  I used a frozen bag I had in the freezer from our Summer berry picking.
2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar

For the brown sugar topping:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the sour cream topping:
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9x9 square pan.

Rinse the berries and then toss them in 1/2 cup of flour.  Pour the berries in a colander and shake the excess flour off.  Set aside.

Add 1 1/2 cups of flour to a bowl along with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In separate bowl or stand mixer, beat together the eggs, sour cream, vanilla and sugar until well combined.  Slowly add in the flour mixture and continue to mix until a silky smooth batter forms.

Pour half of the batter in the prepared pan, and scatter most of the berries over the top of the batter.  Pour on the rest of the batter and the remaining berries.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the cinnamon topping.  Mixing well.  Sprinkle on top of the cake.

Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes.  In my oven, it took 38.  

Whip the sour cream and sugar well to top each slice. I topped each slice as we ate it and stored the remaining mixture in the refrigerator until we needed it.

This cake is amazing. The cake is moist, the blueberries bring a fresh sweetness and the cinnamon crumble on top is delicious.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like the sour cream topping since I actually have never tried it before. I really did though, it's absolutely perfect on this cake.   This is a wonderful cake for breakfast or a mid day snack.  TBG and I both give this a 10 and we don't give 10's easily.  It really is that good.  I may never make blue berry muffins again.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: Appreciating what this semi hibernation period brings. I saw this quote and it spoke to me.

"Winter is the time of sacred balance and rejuvenation of life in preparation for the coming spring.  It represents abundance, teaching and gratitude."  By Noelle Vignola 

Spring will be here before we know it so take time now to relax and center yourself.

Where I've been:  TBG and I went out to our favorite Mexican restaurant Wednesday for lunch.  It was a nice mid-day break from work and the food is always so delicious.  I did stop and pick up a few things Thursday before the predicted cold weather this weekend.  Surprisingly the store wasn't very busy.  

What I'm watching:  I watched It's Complicated with Meryl Streep.  It was actually a pretty funny movie.  I also watched this season's first Reunion of Southern Charm.  

What I'm reading:  I picked up The City Bakers' Guide to City Living again but still didn't read much.  This week I'm again aiming for 30 minutes a day.  

What I'm eating:

BIG salad with chicken
LO chicken noodle soup with a cheese roll up
Lamb burgers with sweet potato 'fries'
Chicken fettuccini with salad and crusty bread
Ground lamb, red onion and Havarti cheese wrapped in puff pasty with salad

Lamb chops, scalloped potatoes and green beans.  (I just realized how many times we had lamb this week)
I have a hearty beef and veggie stew cooking in the crockpot that I'm going to serve over egg noodles tonight.  It's cold and this will hit the spot.

Who needs a good slap:  Weather Channels Jim Cantore.  We have a long history together.  Jim Cantore always did the hurricane updates when we lived in Florida.  On multiple occasions I had to change the channel because if I would have heard "hunker down" one more time I believe my head would have exploded.  Bad weather can be serious, I know that however Jim Cantore is entirely TOO dramatic about everything.  I caught a clip of the snowstorm hitting Chicago on Friday.  There was thunder snow and you would have thought the world was ending listening to him. He had to take drama in HS.  I give him 4 slaps that's how ridiculous and annoying I find him.

What's making me smile:  Binx. No explanation needed.  He's a keeper.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week filled with joys.  Stay safe and stay warm!!  It's a bit chilly here. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

52 new recipes in 52 weeks #1 Braised Pinto Beans

One of my projects for 2024 is to try one new recipe each week for the year.  These will be chosen from all of the flagged pages in cookbooks that I have or from the file of 'need to try' recipes.  I will try new desserts, main dishes, side dishes and breads.

This week I chose a recipe I had flagged in Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse.  I have a pinto bean recipe that I use but wanted to try this one.  It was a cold and dreary Sunday so I thought beans and rice would hit the spot.

Braised Pinto Beans

4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2- inch pieces
1 cup diced onions
1 teaspoon garlic, minced (I used 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup finely diced cilantro stems
1 medium jalapeno, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (I used 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh pinto beans (I used drained, rinsed canned pinto beans)
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (I used two tablespoons)
1 tablespoon oregano

Cook the bacon in a 3 to 4 quart pot over medium heat until it is crispy and the fat is rendered, 5 to 7 minutes

Add the onions, garlic, cilantro stems, jalapeno, paprika and salt.  Cook until the onions are soft.  About 4 minutes.

Add the beans and the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour.

When it's ready, add in the cilantro and oregano.

It could be eaten alone but I served over basmati rice. 

I like a lot of flavor and spice so you'll see I upped the amounts on the garlic, cilantro, paprika and oregano.  It all depends on your comfort level and taste.

The recipe isn't complicated at all, the flavor was very good and the beans were perfectly cooked.  I had dried pinto's and I know it would have probably tasted even better had I used them.  I wanted to try this first with canned beans because if it was good using them, it is a good recipe.

All and all, I give the dish an 8.  Very good but not quite AMAZING.