My Two Bits

Inspiration

Well, it’s been a few months, so spank me. Please.

Just kidding.  But I *have* been horrible about blogging over the last year and a half.  For some reason life always seems to get in the way =S

I promise; I’ll try to be more consistent.  And yes, I hear you laughing in the background.  But a flea market find of all things has inspired me.  At least it’s not another recipe.  But, a new project always seems to be inspiring; besides keeping my hands busy. Besides what else am I going to do while I download a website & forum database backup, ftp all the files for upgrading said website & forum, and run the upgrade scripts?

Anyway, last Friday I spotted two awesome wrought iron rockers (not sure whether you’d call them ‘fan backs’ or ‘peacock backs’, they sorta look like the latter to me) and I knew with a bit of cleaning up and some pretty seat cushions they’d look fabulous out on the deck.

My Find

My Find

Of course the husband didn’t care for the idea and came up with all sorts of excuses.

“We came up here on the four-wheeler”

I reply “We can go back and get the truck”

“They won’t fit in back of the truck… not with the cover it has”

I reply “So… we have a trailer we can hook up to put them on”

“I don’t feel like doing all that”

I reply “So, fine.  I’ll wait till you go back to West Africa on Sunday, and *I’ll* come back and get them!”

He throws his hands up in the air and moves to the next vendor down the row as the lady sitting at the cash register bursts out laughing.

Since the flea market is only open Thursday through Sunday I had to wait till today to run back up there in the truck.  All the while hoping someone else hadn’t beat me to the punch errr purchase.  Luckily, no one had.  When I walked into the place the vendor started laughing; remembering the exchange she had witnessed on Friday.

I made a good deal on them, loaded them up and brought them home.  The have a few rust *stains* but no actual rust and I figure a bit of rubbing with some fine steel wool will take care of that; then a fresh coat of some Rustoleum Spray Paint will freshen them right up.  Of course I’ll have fun hunting down some outdoor seat cushions for them at this time of the year, but maybe I’ll get lucky and find some on close-out/clearance.

After

After scrubbing, repainting & adding cushions

Breakfast Soft Taco

This makes enough for Two Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 2 Flour Tortillas
  • 2-3 Tblspns Chorizo
  • 1 Egg beaten with a splash of milk
  • 1/2 Cup shredded potato
  • 2 Tblspns chopped/diced onions
  • 1-2 Tblspns butter/margerine
  • Taco Sauce (to taste)… or Pico de Gallo
  • Finely Shredded 4-cheese blend

Heat both sides of tortilla in cast iron skillet or pop it in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate for 15-30 seconds depending on microwave;

In skillet heat butter margerine, add onions and potatoes;

cook till done, turning occasionally; when done put in small bowl & set aside;

In skillet cook chorizo till it separates;

add beaten egg-milk mixture;

cook till done stirring occasionally;

when done put in small bowl & set aside;

Now, take your tortilla and spread some taco sauce on it (to taste),

add 1/2 of the potato-onion (per taco), then shredded cheese


and top with 1/2 the chorizo-egg (per taco); add Pico de Gallo if you like


From ‘bottom’ fold tortilla 1/4 way up,


then fold each side over,



finishing with ‘top.


Enjoy!

Cornish Game Hens

I did a bit of experimenting the other night and it actually turned out quite good!  In fact the aroma that filled my kitchen nearly put me on my knees in tears and set my tummy to growling something fierce!

  • 2 – Rock Cornish Game Hens
  • 2 – finely chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
  • Fresh or Dried Rosemary
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Melted Butter/Margerine
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup White Wine (I used Columbia Winery Cellermasters Reisling)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place cornish game hens in a baking dish, breast side up. Season with Fresh Ground Pepper and Kosher salt, then drizzle some of that melted butter over them.

Season with Fresh Ground Pepper and Kosher salt, then drizzle some of that melted butter over them.  Add the rosemary, chopped scallions and green onion tops on and around the hens, drizzle a bit more butter over the tops again and add some more of the pepper and salt if you wish.

Pour the wine into the baking dish around the hens.

Now bake for approx. 1.5 hours, basting frequently with the juices in the dish.  When the hens are a nice golden brown/meat thermometer reads 180F as soon as you insert it, or tug on one of those tiny wings and if it just about pulls off  😉 then they are done.

Place one hen on a plate, drizzle some of the wine/juices from the baking dish. (If you really feel like it, and aren’t starving to death by now, you could put those juices in a small pot, bring to a near boil and add a bit of flour… whisking it in well… for a thicker sauce).

I used sides of Minnesota Wild Rice (cooked in low fat/low sodium chicken broth) and brussel sprouts;  asparagus would accompany this quite well also.

Easy Caramel Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 graham cracker or chocolate cookie crumb pie crust

Use a *small* crockpot

Pour in the 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

Cook for approx 4-6 hours (depends on the crockpot you have) stirring & scraping sides every 15 minutes until thick and the color of peanut butter.

Pour into pie crust

Let cool, then refrigerate to set up till firm

Slice &  Enjoy!

You can top each slice, or even the whole pie, with whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Beat/Whip with mixer until thick and spreadable
  • Spread on top of pie!

(Will add pictures in the next few days)

Hot Artichoke Heart Dip

Hot Artichoke Heart Dip

Have this ready for ‘the
big game’!

Your cast of characters:
Garlic Powder, Artichoke Hearts,
Mayonnaise, Grated Parmesian, White Pepper, Butter
Garlic Powder, Artichoke Hearts, Mayonnaise, Grated Parmesian, White Pepper, Butter
Grease a 1 – 1.5
quart baking dish well with butter
Grease sides and bottom well with butter
Drain Artichoke Hearts well then
chop:
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Measure 1 Cup Mayonnaise into
baking dish

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Add 1 tsp. Garlic Powder & 1/2 tsp. Ground White Pepper

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Mix Well

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Measure 1 Cup Grated Parmesian Cheese, Mix well

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Add Chopped Artichoke Hearts, Mix well then ‘smooth’ it over

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Bake at 400 F for approx. 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden
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Serve with white corn tortilla chips/scoops

Enjoy

A Long And Winding Road….

is exactly what it’s been since my last blogpost =S

Between the husbands sextuple bypass surgery in May, his recuperation time, Amanda’s (my oldest daughter) wedding quickly followed by Morgan’s (aka MoJo – my youngest daughter) graduation in Dallas, TX, and the Neshoba County Fair in July, a trip to MoJo’s in August, a trip to Atlanta to see Mom in September, then the husband’s visit the first part of this month and my computer crashing… it’s been like riding drag on a cattle drive around here with all the dust kicked up. I need to find that pair of rose-colored glasses and super-glue them to my face I ‘reckon.

And believe me when I say that no matter how smart my ‘smart phone’ is it will never replace a computer for emailing and blogging. I’ll be extremely happy when the new macho-machine arrives and I can get back to coding to my hearts content. Hopefully, said ‘macho-machine’ will ship next week after all the requested customizations ordered have been completed.

That’s all for now as my cell phone signal is iffy out here in the boonies.

Chicken & Dumplings

Nothing says ‘Sunday Dinner’ to my husband, kids and extended family like Chicken & Dumplings. The following is the recipe taught to me (never written down that’s for sure!) years ago by my late Mother-In-Law. The basic recipe is hers but I have tweaked it a bit to make it ‘mine’ over the last 28 years.

Chicken & Broth

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 6)
Tony Chachere’s Original Seasoning Blend
Diced Onion (2 large)
Minced Garlic (1-2 Tblspns or more if you really like garlic and are brave)
Diced Celery (4-6 stalks)
Diced Bell Pepper (1/2 pepper, remove seeds and fleshy ‘pulp’) *optional
Chopped Green Onion Tops (bunches & bunches) 3 cups
Water
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Kitchen Bouquet

  • Rinse Chicken Breasts, lay on a plate and season both tops & bottoms with Tony’s
  • In a stock pot or dutch oven use 4 Tblspns Canola Oil
  • heat over medium high
  • place breasts in pot and brown (turn your vent on, or the spices will set everyone to coughing!)
  • once well browned remove breasts from pot and set aside
  • add diced onion, celery, garlic and optional bell pepper to pot and saute till onions soft and translucent
  • Add water to halfway fill your pot, put chicken breasts back in pot, bring to boil, lower heat to simmer,
  • add cut up green onion tops and cover. (Go make your dumpling dough now!)
  • Cook until chicken is *very* tender, to where you can break each breast apart with a fork, break it up well
  • add water if needed
  • and enough Kitchen Bouquet to darken the broth nicely,
  • season to taste with Tony’s or Kosher Salt/Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Cover and lower heat to barely a simmer.

While the broth & chicken are simmering:

Dumplings

1-1/3 cups All Purpose flour (*not* self-rising!)
1/4 pound (one stick, eight tablespoons, 1/2 cup) butter or Crisco Solid (COLD)
1 dash salt
1/2 tspn baking soda
3 Tblspns cold water
Chopped Green Onion Tops 1 cup

  • Sift together flour, salt, baking soda
  • Cut in the butter/crisco until coarse crumbs form
  • add cut up green union tops, mix in to where they are well distributed
  • add cold water all at once, stirring until dough is formed into a ball, ***if chicken/broth is not to last step in chicken/broth section above, keep dough in bowl, cover with foil or plastic wrap and stick in refrigerator)
  • put ball of dough on floured surface and pat down/flatten it a bit
  • sprinkle a bit of flour on top and using a rolling pin, begin rolling it out as thin as you can get it, continue sprinkling flour on top of pastry to avoid sticking to rolling pin, this extra flour will help thicken your broth up nicely.
  • now that it’s nice and thin take a dinner/butter knife and cut into strips vertically, then run the knife horizontally to cut into medium sided rectangles/squares

Now remove lid and turn up heat (or down as the case may be) until steam is rising from broth but it isn’t boiling and start slowly dropping your dumplings in, scattering them well. Dumplings will initially sink and then float this means they are ‘done’. From this point on do not *stir*, use a fork to lightly ‘shake’ through the contents of the pot and continue to add dumplings. When all dumplings have been dropped, turn the heat to low, re-cover if not serving immediately.

 

Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings

Serve with Candied Sweet Potatoes (recipe to follow soon) and Pistolette’s. Green Beans with Almonds is a nice addition as well to round out this country meal

*Optional: If you don’t want to make your own dumplings you can find flat dumpling ‘strips’ in your grocer’s freezer, usually where the frozen breads, rolls, & biscuits are. The brand I prefer & have used in a pinch is “Mary B’s” and usually takes at least two (2) of the regular packs or one (1) of the bulk/family size packs.

Mary B's Open Kettle Dumplings

Mary B's Open Kettle Dumplings


A Rose By Any Other Name…..

voodoo11Just a few pictures of my roses. When I went to the feed store this morning I was captivated by a Voodoo Rose and just *had* to buy it. After getting home I was compelled to take pictures of the Voodoo and my Blue Moon’s (that have a weird offshoot of it’s red ‘parent’ that has become more than half the bush).

Well, now that I’ve posted this it’s back to building mini-beds for the peas, beans and squash.

Rain, Rain, Went Away…

dooky….and now it’s a steambath outside. Not to mention soggy, soggy, soggy. My six year old grandaughter is visiting for the weekend so the planned weekend of playing in the dirt planting vegetable plants and seeds had to be replanned to Wii Super Mario Karts, brownie baking, painting pictures and playdough sculpting; and power napping for me. Crawfish Etouffe (one of my specialties) is on the menu for Sunday ‘dinner’.

Hopefully by Monday it will be dry enough for my dirt to be delivered for the raised beds. I still need to finish bed #2 and then place and assemble beds #3 & #4; maybe tomorrow that can be done.

That Time of Year: Fly Season

Yes it has rolled around yet again; fly season. With 10 horses and sundry dogs and cats, flies can be a real problem around here. So what do I do? Run around with a fly swatter 24/7 murdering flies? No. Run around with a can of chemical fly spray? No. Read on and I’ll tell you.

First we spread our manure all around the 30 acres. In a single layer it dries quickly and doesn’t provide those nasty flies with mini-manure honeymoon suites. How do we do this? Easy. As we pick the manure out of the stalls we put it in a Newer Spreader. Newer Spreaders are the best thing since sliced bread when you have a lot of horse dooky to deal with.

The next level of attack against the evil flies are fly predators, a completely natural, chemical free solution; I get mine from Spalding Labs in monthly shipments (March – October) of 20,000 predators per shipment (two or three shipments are doubled for a total of 40,000 predators.. these double shipments are for starting off and for July, the height of fly season).

Since the predators’ eggs (the eggs are what are shipped to me) are like cavier to ants I can’t just set them on the ground or sprinkle them around in the stalls or around the barns. Not that there are ants IN my barn, but they would think they were invited to a Rave and take the place over if I didn’t *hang* my predators up. Since I just received my first shipment of the year the other day I had the sealed container in the house until I started seeing the little buggers hatch out and crawling around; which happened this morning. So, I took them out to the barn to release them.

First I found 3 empty plastic tub containers (in this case Electrodex, electrolyte additive we put in the horses feed) and using my handy dandy knife with the box cutter blade

My Handy Dandy Knife

My Handy Dandy Knife

I cut a window on two sides of the tub. Then poked holes on the sides (near the top) between the two windows.

Tub with windows cut

Tub with windows cut

Next I stole… errr borrowed …… some of my husbands bright colored string we use for setting our fence rows or when we need to set out an area for a new out-building, and ran it through the two holes and tied it back to the main line above the plastic tub. And put about one-third of the predator packet into the tub.

Predator Eggs in Tub

Predator Eggs in Tub

Tub with String (look at all those predators that hatched!)

Tub with String (look at all those predators that hatched!)

Next, I tossed the spool of string up over one of the cross beams

String over crossbeam

String over beam

String over beam

and then tied it off to one of the stall front panels

My fancy tie job

My fancy tie job

I hung three up sort of evenly spaced down the center of the barn.

Three Tubs Hanging

Three Tubs Hanging

The predators ‘spread’ by themselves to do what they do…. eat nasty fly larvae.

And now I have my next project to finish which I’ll cover in another posting!