Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Baked Favorites

December is filled with favorite Christmas cookies, breads, candy and hot apple cider or hot chocolate filled to the brim with creamy marshmallows. Now those items may not be on your December grocery list, but those are things that come to my mind when I first think of December and Christmas foods. That doesn't mean that those are my favorites to eat during the Christmas holidays. They just happen to come to mind because this evening was a chilly evening with friends over hot apple cider and delicious brownies covered with powdery sugar. YUM!

Baking for my family and friends makes me happy. It brings back memories of family and comfort, Christmas holidays with those I love, times of fun and laughter, singing carols to elderly families not able to go out, lighting fireworks with cousins in the freezing cold on Christmas Eve. Christmas memories - and baked goodies with each one.

Brownies, festive cookies, chocolate meringue pie, coconut pie, lemon pie, Pink Salad, Chocolate Cake, pumpkin bread, and banana bread. Those are among the ones that quickly pop up in my mind.

Source: via Joy on Pinterest

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday because of spending more time with family and friends, not having to go to school, and enjoying days off from work. Time of relaxation. Time of making more memories.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Angie's Spicy Beef Chili

What sounds better than a big bowl of chili on a chilly and rainy November day like today? I made my own version of spicy chili last night (the leftovers taste even better). This is a new recipe because I just made it up last night with a different ingredient than I've used before.
Angie's Spicy Beef Chili
1-2 lb lean beef
green onions
garlic powder
onion powder
medium hot chili powder
ground cumin
2 Serrano peppers
1 red chili pepper
a generous sprinkle of dried red chilies
1 can red beans
1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes
1 can cream corn (the different ingredient)
grated cheese, optional
Add chopped green onions, peppers, and seasonings to skillet as your are browning the ground beef. When the ground beef is done, add red beans, tomatoes, and cream corn. Do not drain any of the canned items. After the canned items are added, stir well with the beef mixture for a few minutes. Now you have a meal. Serve with crackers, tortillas, bread, tortilla chips, or like I did, make a taco salad with it. 
Angie's Spicy Beef Chili
Taco Salad with Angie's Spicy Beef Chili
Spring Green Mix with Small Spinach Leaves
Angie's Spicy Beef Chili
Russian Dressing (tastes kind of like French Dressing)
Grated Cheese
Tortilla Chips

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Comfort Food

What is so special about a plain ham sandwich?
Comfort maybe?
Ham, Cheese, and Mayo
November reminds me of comfort food because of the special and delicious recipes my mother and grandmothers used to bake for the holidays. I cherish those memories. Funny how one bite into a ham sandwich with mayo can trigger a sweet comfort memory, like the days when one of my parents would send me off to school with a ham and mayo sandwich. Sometimes the sandwich would be bread, mayo, and bacon. For some reason, I can't remember other lunches. I must have really liked pork. Just for a moment today I felt like I was a little girl at school eating my ham sandwich that Daddy made me. My mother was an awesome cook, but my dad usually made breakfast. I imagine he made my sandwiches from whatever meat he cooked for breakfast.
Come back for another visit this week to read about my next old-fashioned southern comfort food for November.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Bundts

There's a little bakery cafe in the High Desert of Southern California that is called Bodacious Bundts that makes the best cinnamon rolls. Though I've never ordered a bundt cake there, I'm sure they would be delicious. In fact I'm going to this bakery cafe this weekend for a meetup group with bloggers.
Have you ever decorated a bundt cake for Halloween? Check out these ideas:

Speaking of bundt cakes, I love to bake them and other delicious desserts during the autumn and holiday seasons. One of the cakes I've favored through the years are a bundt cake my grandmother would make with baby food applesauce. It was delicious and moist with such a good flavor. But as you might can tell by the extra huge slice of cake photo added above, my most favorite cake is the one that was my mother's specialty when I was growing up - German Chocolate cake. 
Don't those delicious looking bundt cakes make your taste buds almost taste those cakes? Mmmm...I would love to have a big bite of that German Chocolate cake right now.
I'm linking to:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Garden Squash and Fresh Brussels Sprouts

This afternoon I saw a couple of very small yellow crookneck squash veggies in my garden. I sliced them and pan fried them with a few Brussels sprouts in butter. The recipe is a basic "little of this" and a "little of that" but tasted buttery delicious on this National Greasy Food Day. You can't beat this kind of healthy greasy food dish.
Sizzling Buttery Vegetables

Tasty and Fresh
  • 2 little yellow crookneck squash
  • 4-5 Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • salt
  • pepper
  • onion powder
  • sugar (to taste)
  • paprika
  • butter
It's a little ironic that yesterday was National Food Day to promote healthy eating, and today is National Greasy Food Day. I guess one healthy food day is all some people might can stand, so eating greasy fried chicken or fried potatoes might sound really good after a day of veggies and fruit. It's not that yesterday's emphasis on vegetables and fruit made me want to eat healthy today. I just happen to like squash and Brussels Sprouts, the little cabbage-like vegetables that can taste awfully bitter if you don't prepare them just right. Now "just right" to this southern girl is like you see it in the recipe above, especially that last ingredient - real butter. Add a slice of toast with it, and you've got a tasty dinner like I had this evening.
Until next recipe...HAPPY EATING!
I'm linking to Wow Us Wednesdays and Polka Dots on Parade.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A McRib Sandwich Memory on Food Day

Today is Food Day, a day focused on "real food...meals built around vegetables, fruits, and whole grains...delicious and satisfying." Have you ever tried the famous McDonald's McRib sandwich that will be sold at all the chain's locations through November 14? It's meat, but it's delicious and satisfying. According to McDonald's nutrition information, this is what you're consuming when you eat one of these delicious sandwiches:
  • 500 calories
  • 26 grams fat
  • 44 grams carbs
  • 22 grams protein
  • 980 mg sodium
Source: None via Stacy on Pinterest

    Let me tell you about my most memorable experience with this tasty sandwich. My husband and I had just returned from a trip to Israel. On our way home from the airport, we stopped at a McDonald's. We wanted breakfast but it had just ended, and we could only order lunch. We both ordered the McRib sandwich. While we were eating, a man walked in with his young daughter to order their meals. When they learned that breakfast was over, the man said loudly, "Let's go, Sherry, we can't eat breakfast here." Until this day my husband and I have laughed about that incident. I'm sure that it was terribly disappointing to the man that he could not have his breakfast. I felt sorry for the young girl having to be humiliated by her father in front of the very-crowded McDonald's that day.

    Part of Food Day's goal is wanting "fewer people at drive-throughs and bigger crowds at farmers markets." Though I love fresh vegetables and fruits and going to farmers markets, I think discouraging people from going to drive-throughs will not be such an easy task. Our society lives in too big of a rush, and drive throughs accommodate our fast pace of living. If you're curious like I was about where Food Day originated, it was created by Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Sweet and Spicy Salsa Recipe

    We're into the crock-pot season now, and I've been seeing some mighty good crock-pot recipes out in the blogland. Maybe you've been following this week's recipes at Kitchen Hospitality. If so you know about my crock-pot stewed tomato recipe. The stewed tomatoes were from my kitchen garden where the tomato vines are growing wild and huge. Most of the tomatoes have gone into homemade salsa recipes I make. The newest salsa recipe is a result of the stewed tomatoes. I had never made stewed tomatoes but have used canned stewed tomatoes in plenty of recipes. I cooked the tomatoes in the crock pot and let them set a couple of days in the fridge then made the salsa. This sweet and spicy salsa is delicious.
    Enjoy my recipe:
    Sweet and Spicy Salsa
    Fresh Stewed Tomatoes (enough to fill a blender)
    1 Jalapeno Pepper
    1 Serrano Pepper
    1 Red Chili Pepper
    Red Chili Spice (to taste; look for the spices in small clear plastic bags)
    Fresh Cilantro
    Salt (to taste)
    Garlic Powder or Fresh Garlic (to taste)
    Onion Powder (to taste)
    Chop peppers with cilantro in the blender. 
    Mix in the Fresh Stewed Tomatoes. 
    Ready to serve with chips or on burritos.
    See those yellow specks in the salsa? It's not corn. It's yellow summer crookneck squash from the garden.
    I'm linking up to

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Treat yourself to a melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon roll for a delightful Panera Bread dessert. I walked into a Panera Bread with my husband and observed the desserts, but my eye was fixed on one set up on a high pedestal. A huge cinnamon roll. Ignoring my yearning for the sweets, I moved forward and placed our soup and sandwich order. We set our laptops in a cozy corner with a table and enjoyed our hot and tasty meal then got to work online. After awhile my husband amazed me when he asked, "Would you like a cinnamon roll?"
    Of course, I had to answer, "Yes!"
    I love cinnamon rolls. When I was a teen growing up in Texas, my family and I used to frequent a little family restaurant that had buttery cinnamon rolls. Just thinking about it makes me almost taste it. Another cozy feeling I like is to curl up in a comfy sofa or chair with a book, cup of coffee - and a hot, buttery cinnamon roll.
    Imagine these tasty ones for autumn:



    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Garden Stewed Tomatoes

    Tomatoes from my kitchen garden have been plenteous, and I had to decide what to do with the ones still in the fridge. I decided to make stewed tomatoes in the crockpot so the tomatoes wouldn't spoil. Now I'll use the stewed tomatoes to make a spicy salsa. Here is the recipe for the stewed tomatoes:

    Garden Tomatoes (enough to fill at least half of a crockpot)
    1/2 cup sugar
    Onion powder
    Garlic Powder
    Garden Yellow Crookneck Squash (optional)

    Slice the tomatoes and mix in the crockpot with the seasonings. I happened to have a squash from the garden and added it to the other ingredients. You can add any of your garden vegetables and cook with the tomatoes. Cook in crockpot 3-5 hours (I cooked my on high for that long.) Cool. Use for any tomato recipes.

    When the tomatoes and squash were cooking, the aroma reminded me of stewed tomatoes and okra that my mother and grandmother used to cook. Another idea I had was to make tomato soup from the stewed tomatoes. Any other ideas on stewed tomato recipes? But what I'm going to do with this particular batch of stewed tomatoes is make my spicy salsa. The salsa should taste spicy and sweet!

    The stewed tomatoes came from this batch of tomatoes!
    I'm linking up to:

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Garden Vegetable Goulash

    Make goulash using your garden vegetables like yellow squash and tomatoes with hamburger. Like spicy? Try this recipe:
    • Garden Tomatoes (5-6, more or less)
    • Yellow Summer Squash, quartered and sliced
    • Jalapeno Peppers (1)
    • Red Chili Pepper (1)
    • Green Onions, chopped
    • Dried red chili pepper spice (comes in a bag)
    • Garlic Powder
    • Salt (to taste)
    My kitchen tomato garden has been producing an enormous amount of tomatoes. Some are big round ones - I think those are the Better Boy tomatoes that I planted. The ones that really took off in abundance are the Roma tomatoes. They are the funniest looking Romas I've ever seen. Some of them curve on the end, making them look deformed. No matter. They are tasty and perfect for goulash and salsa. The recipe listed above was made yesterday. It can be served with crackers or tortillas as a delicious meal. This week's Garden Vegetable Goulash was especially tasty because it included fresh garden tomatoes and yellow summer squash, the longest squash that has come from my square foot garden yet.
    To top it off I made salsa with the garden tomatoes. Then I mixed a little of the salsa into the remainder of Velveeta cheese I had on hand. If you like cheese dip, do try this one. It is delicious and spicy, and it's hard to stop once you delve in.
    Angie's Homemade Salsa
    Garden Tomatoes (enough to fill approx. 3/4 of a blender)
    Jalapenos (2)
    Red Chili Pepper (1)
    Red Spicy Chili Seasoning, measured to taste (in a bag)
    Cilantro (to taste)
    Garlic Powder
    Green Onions (1/2 of a batch)
    Chop peppers in blender first. Add tomatoes, onions, and spices and mix. Serve with Garden Vegetable Goulash or mix with Velveeta cheese as a dip.

    I'm linking to:

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Autumn Squash

    Yellow summer squash tastes good in any season. My mother often planted a garden and always made sure she had plenty of yellow summer squash. Her favorite way to cook them was to slice them thin and pan fry them according to these ingredients:
    • Yellow summer squash
    • Butter (to taste)
    • Onions (sweet yellow), chopped fine
    • 1-2 T sugar
    • Salt and pepper (to taste)
    • Wash the squash well, and slice thin.
    Put all ingredients into pan. Barely cover with water and boil until vegetables are soft. Serve while hot, or place in freezer containers and put in the freezer for a later time.
    My squash garden

    Close up photo of my squash garden

    My second HUGE squash from the garden the first week of October!

    The one that grew quickly!
    There is a story that goes with the one that grew quickly. I have a square foot garden, and we have had to water it constantly through the heat of summer. The first squash was good but not very big. I had been noticing that the squash looked so scrawny. My husband added a netting over the garden, and it seems like within only a couple of days the squash took off on a growing spurt. Water and sun are good for a garden, but the desert heat can wipe out a garden if you don't have adequate covering, at least in the case of my squash garden.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Orange Dishes for Autumn

    Two delectable dishes that I love look colorful and inviting on an autumn tablescape, Tangy Sweet Yams...

    and Orange Cow Ice Cream...


    Plus This.....
                                                   Makes the Best Dessert!

    What makes them both tangy and orange? Orange juice. These dishes can easily be served at home for one or two or for a crowd. Though the yams satisfy a sweet tooth from marshmallows and brown sugar, who could resist a dish of ice cream topped with orange juice poured over it?

    Tangy Sweet Yams
    5-6 yams, peeled and cut in small chunks 1/3 can frozen orange juice (no water added) 1/2 large bag mini marshmallows 2 cups brown sugar Boil yams 'til tender in electric skillet or large pot on stove. Drain most of the liquid. Add the frozen orange juice, brown sugar, and marshmallows. If it's too tangy, add more brown sugar and marshmallows.
    I'm linking to:

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Broccoli and Grape Salad

    A salad is the easiest, most fun dish to bring to a gathering.
    Today I visited one of my favorite blogs, Beatrice Banks. She is a gracious hostess, an elegant designer, and a wonderful cook. I love creating new and different salads. This one caught my attention today - Broccoli and Grape Salad. The picture of it made me want a bite right then. If you've been looking for a way to serve broccoli in a way your family would love, you must try this one:
    Broccoli & Grape Salad

    1 head of broccoli cut in small pieces
    2 cups seedless red grapes- halved
    1 cup raisins
    1/2 cup slivered almonds
    1 cup celery- chopped
    green onions- chopped

    1 cup real mayo
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 Tablespoon vinegar

    Mix together and chill.
    I'm so happy that you dropped by to visit today.

    Tomato Chow Chow

    50 Garden Tomatoes
    What do you do with an abundance of tomatoes from the garden? I have a tomato and pepper garden just outside my kitchen door. The pepper plants are growing but not yielding peppers yet. More water? Surely not more sun. On the other hand, the tomato plants are yielding an abundance of tomatoes in spurts. One afternoon this week I noticed a lot of red in the garden. Too excited to go grab a bag or basket, I filled my hands with as many as they could hold and took them to the kitchen. After a couple of times, I took a plastic bag out to the garden for the rest. When I came back to the kitchen, my husband was sitting at the table counting tomatoes. He said, "You have 49 tomatoes!" I said, "I'll go get one more so we'll have 50."
    One person has a limit to the tomatoes he or she can eat in a salad for lunch or a sandwich. What would I do with all these tomatoes? I could give some away. Ah, I know. I'll make Chow Chow. Both my grandmothers made Chow Chow. If you've never tasted it, you have missed out on some good 'ole southern eating. Chow Chow is a relish that my family ate with black eyed peas, cream peas, all kinds of peas except English peas. It is delicious. So I've decided to make some Chow Chow. Here is a Chow Chow recipe like one of my grandmothers often made:


    • 5 cups coarsely chopped green tomatoes (about 5 tomatoes and can use red tomatoes)
    • 5 cups coarsely chopped cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds cabbage)
    • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion or sweet onion
    • 1/3 cup kosher salt or pickling salt
    • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
    • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 teaspoon celery seed


    Combine the vegetables into a large bowl, and stir in salt. Cover and let stand for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight. Prepare canner and jars. Add water to canner with rack and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer. The level of water should be about an inch above the filled jars. Wash jars and heat water in a small saucepan. Place the lids in the saucepan, and bring almost to a boil. Turn heat on low to keep the lids hot.
    Drain vegetables and rinse.
    In a large bowl, bring the vinegar, brown sugar, spices and seeds to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
    Pack the hot drained vegetables into the heated jars. Cover vegetables with the pickling liquid. Leave 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch space at the top. Secure the jars with the flat lids and the rings. Be sure not to over-tighten the rings. Place jars into canner. Bring to a full boil. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars of Chow Chow and cool completely.You'll know the jars are ready when you hear them pop as they are cooling.
    Makes about 4 pints.
    I'm so happy that you came to visit today!

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Quick and Easy Meals and Desserts for Two

    Officially, summer is over! Sad for some, I'm sure, but it's a happy time for me because I love fall. At the beginning of summer I made plans for a salad summer and actually managed to make salads often. I love salads. You can add one or two ingredients different than the last time you served a salad and have a completely different taste. Honestly, I intended to blog more about the salads throughout the summer. However, I do have a confession to make. My hubby and I  were on the go so much that we ate out quite often. You can do that if it's just the two of you especially if you save coupons and actually use them instead of letting them get lost in your mail stash on the counter. You just can't beat two-for-one Subway sandwiches for less than $10 or two six-inch subs for less than $5. The two of us made it quite successfully through the summer with our quick and easy meals. We ate salads, sandwiches, chicken dishes, and many ground beef dishes. We like those ground beef dishes especially because you can mix in a variety of veggies and top with cheese then make a burrito out of it.
    Mix some of these ingredients with your ground beef for a quick meal in a burrito:
    1. frozen diced onions
    2. green onions
    3. fresh garlic
    4. tomatoes
    5. Ro*Tel tomatoes and diced chilies
    6. serrano peppers
    7. jalapeno peppers
    8. green, red, and/or yellow bell peppers
    9. yellow summer squash
    10. zucchini
    11. Velveeta cheese
    12. cheddar cheese
    13. spicy Monterrey Jack cheese
    14. corn
    15. black beans
    16. chili beans
    17. Kidney beans
    18. hominy
    For a quick and easy salad, try these variations:
    1. lettuce
    2. spinach leaves
    3. tomatoes, sliced or diced
    4. cucumbers, sliced thin
    5. carrots, shredded
    6. crumbled blue cheese
    7. crumbed tomato and basil feta cheese
    8. drained can of tangerines
    9. green or red seedless grapes
    10. green onions
    11. pickled beets
    12. garbanzo beans
    13. English peas
    14. strawberry slices
    Now for dessert, my most favorites of the summer were Orange Cow and Purple Cow. My husband and I were visiting our friends one evening. The hostess asked me if I had ever had Orange Cow or Purple Cow. I hadn't. Orange Cow is vanilla ice cream with orange juice poured over it. Purple Cow is vanilla ice cream with grape juice poured over it. They are both absolutely de-licious! A variation I tried and liked was the green mint ice cream with grape juice poured over it. I guess you would call that variation Purple Green Cow.
    Enjoy mixing up these varieties of quick and easy meals and desserts.
    I'm joining these linking parties:

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Hawaiian Chicken Salad

    Hawaiian Chicken Salad
    Hawaiian Chicken Salad makes a refreshing and tasty summer salad.

    Ingredients include:
    • One or two fresh garden tomatoes
    • Spinach leaves (as many as you like)
    • Lettuce
    • 1 can of White Chunk Chicken
    • 1/2 to 1 can pineapple chunks 
    • Small carrots slices
    1. Use Mandarin oranges instead of pineapple
    2. Add beans of your choice
    3. Add Macadamia nuts
    I made up this salad yesterday, and it tasted delicious even without dressing added to it. I'm eager to try it
    again with some of the variations. It's perfect for a light appetite on a hot summer day.

    Kitchen gardens especially come in handy for summer salads such as this one. I picked two pretty red tomatoes yesterday and can't wait to make another salad this evening to go with dinner. Whether you make a Hawaiian, Mexican, Italian, Greek or American salad, you can always add tomatoes. Even a juicy tomato from the kitchen garden is a quick refresher. Take a break from your to-do list and enjoy a tomato sprinkled with salt and pepper - YUM!

    I'm linking to:

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Chicken Salads

    Search yard sales, thrift stores, and antique shops for vintage cookbooks that have chicken salad recipes. That's one of my hobbies - collecting vintage cookbooks, especially if they have a chicken salad recipe. My mother could make the best chicken salad. "Chop the apples and onions real fine," she'd say. Funny thing is my aunt, Mother's older sister, always liked her chicken salad with chunky onions and apples. It's all good however the apples and onions are cut. One of the most refreshing lunches is a chicken salad sandwich.

    I'm including a few chicken salad recipes from my vintage cookbooks for this salad summer mission. It took me awhile to get going on this mission in case you didn't notice a gap in my posts. My daughter is getting married this month, so life has been busy for us lately. 

    Today I'm featuring the Fruited Chicken Salad from the Farm Journal's Country Cookbook:
    • 2 c. cooked chicken, cut in cubes
    • 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
    • 1/2 c. grapes, halved and seeded
    • 1/2 c. toasted almonds or pecans
    • 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
    • 1 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
    1. Put chicken (preferably white meat) in bowl; add other ingredients, tossing lightly. Chill.
    2. Serve on crisp greens; garnish with whole strawberries (if in season). Or serve on pineapple slices with perky sprigs of water cress or Bibb lettuce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
    Featured from The Eyes of Texas Cookbook is:
    Hot Chicken Salad
    • 1/4 cup cooked and chopped chicken
    • 3/4 cup celery, sliced thin
    • 1 tablespoon minced onion
    • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper
    • 4 slices bread
    Combine all ingredients except bread, and mix well. Toast bread on one side. Butter untoasted side and spread with chicken salad. Bake on cookie sheet for 12 minutes at 425°. Serves 4.
    Lanelle Jolly
    Texas City, Texas

    I'm linking to:

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Garden Tomato Blue Cheese Salad

    Make a fresh summer salad with a tomato from your kitchen garden. Yesterday I made a tasty green salad mixed with veggies including two Roma tomatoes from my kitchen garden. Ingredients included:
    • lettuce
    • spinach
    • carrots
    • red bell pepper
    • blue cheese crumbles
    • two Roma tomatoes
    • cheddar cheese, cut in small squares
    • croutons
    Garden Tomato Blue Cheese Salad

    My Kitchen Garden Roma Tomato
    Today I'm planting a hot pepper mini garden in a huge pot with jalapenos and serrano peppers to add to my kitchen garden. That will make some mighty spicy salsa!

    Have a sunny and beautiful Sunday!
    I'm linking up with:

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Salad Mission

    Healthy Salads
    Got exciting recipes for delicious and healthy salads? Share them here, for I'm on a mission. With your help, just maybe I can work on eating light and healthy this summer. Once upon a time my dear dad told me, "Honey, you'll be like me and have to watch your weight all your life." Dad is now 86 and still works out at the YMCA, eats just enough and looks healthy and fit.

    My mission? My daughter is getting married at the end of July, and I want to trim up a little, get rid of a few extra pounds. Since summer is near, I am planning to eat more salads like I usually do because of summer heat. Too much meat makes one lethargic and miserably stuffed in the heat of summer. I love salads, all kinds of salads. I make them with different vegetables mixed with greens, mixed with fruit, beans, tuna, chicken, and whatever sounds good. It is common for me to be asked by my friends to bring a salad to special functions. I invite you to add to my salad variations. New ideas for salads will make this mission easier to do.

    My mission includes healthy eating including salads, fruit, vegetables, some meat, and occasional healthy breads and desserts when I feel like I just have to have them. This mission includes one more thing - exercise. Walking is my choice. In fact, I hear the birds as I write and will go walking after I end this blog post.
    This morning's breakfast at 5:30 was hours ago. It was scrambled egg and Velveeta cheese burritos, two for hubby and one for me...and fresh squeezed orange juice and fresh from an acre of orange trees yesterday. Delicious! There's nothing like sweet fresh orange juice. Squeezing the oranges this morning reminded me of my mother-in-law who passed away four years ago May 23rd. She told me once about her experiences working in the orange groves when she moved to California. She would work hard all day and go home with the black smut on her face from the smudge pots. My morning's orange work was easy with my little manual juicer which works great, much easier than the old smudge pots.

    I'll look forward to seeing your recipes for salads mixed with fruit, vegetables and occasionally meat or beans for my summer mission.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Vegan Cabbage Soup

    Vegan Cabbage Soup

    1 pkg. onion soup mix
    1 tsp. curry
    1 chicken bouillon cube
    1 yellow summer squash, diced
    5 carrots, sliced
    1/2 head cabbage, chopped
    4 green onions, chopped
    1 can diced tomatoes

    Place all ingredients in crockpot, cover with water, and cook on high for about two hours. Turn to low and cook all day.
    What I like about this recipe is how easy and healthy it is. The chicken bouillon cube and curry add a rich taste. This recipe is similar to the cabbage soup diet. The key to the cabbage diet, however, is eat plenty of green vegetables and the cabbage soup. You may add or leave out some of the spices or vegetables to suit your taste. Shredded cooked chicken breast would also make this soup very tasty if you get tired of just vegetables. As summer nears, however, heavy meat makes me feel quite sluggish and overly full. This cabbage soup is filling, and the chicken flavor satisfies the craving for more than just vegetables.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    What to Plant with Tomatoes

    Think of the many choices you have in companion planting as you plant your garden. Most people who garden at least plant one or two tomato plants.  You don't have to be a pro at gardening to plant tomatoes. Last year I had tomatoes growing where I didn't even place a tomato plant or seed. When my husband and I purchased our cottage cabin three years ago, it was surrounded by trees and cacti. 

    The previous owner who had died had been a landscaper and left behind notes that he kept on landscaping jobs. One of my goals is to research those notes and share them on my blog. It's apparent that the guy could grow successfully anything he wanted to. It was obvious he loved to grow gardens, too. My first garden on the place was in an area he had fenced off specifically for vegetable and melon garden. Who knows? Maybe our tomato plant grew from a seed he had planted years ago. I do know that there is a drain from the kitchen sink that goes into the area where that tomato plant grew. So guess what! I've planted tomato plants there again this spring along with basil. I may add a couple more herbs in with the tiny kitchen garden. My strawberry pot sits nearby, and the strawberry plants I planted in the pot seem to be making it so far. I'm crossing my fingers as I have never planted strawberries before in a strawberry pot. 
    What works well planted with tomatoes? Some of my favorite vegetable tomato allies are basil, carrots, cucumbers, chives, head lettuce, marigold, nasturtium, onion. Did you know that you can actually eat nasturtium flowers
    The scent of flowers can deter animals, too. Lavender is one of my favorite scented plants. Two or three times I noticed my cat smelling them this past weekend before she went nearby and lay in a cool spot. She loves the lavender and my poppies. Obviously, they don't deter cats. However, they are supposed to deter rabbits. Plant lots of flowers around your garden, and use chicken wire around the plants and mesh wire on top. That should help keep the rabbits away and crows, too. Have you ever noticed how obnoxious crows can be? And they're huge. I've watched them carry bags of food trash across a gas station parking lot. I don't know which is worse for a garden, rabbits or crows. The flowers and wire should help, though. Companion planting assisted by the protection of scented flowers and wire will increase your chances of a successful garden.
    I'm linking to:

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Plant a Garden to Save Money

    Start saving on your grocery expenses by planting a garden near your kitchen. Gas prices continue to rise. This, of course, causes food transportation costs to rise. Have you been paying close attention to your recent grocery bills? Just the groceries I put in the front part of my grocery cart can easily amount to $30.00. That's usually food from the produce section. It didn't take me long to decide it's time to start a garden. My husband built me a frame for my raised bed garden, and I've planted my first row of seeds. It's easy to prepare a raised bed garden if you don't mind digging a bit. Good exercise, too. I am eager to see how my seed planting turns out. Personally, I like to purchase small plants to start my gardens with. The reason? I've had some experiences with planting seeds and no results. That was desert gardening, though, with lots of wind and heat. Unless you just like to plant with seeds, planting seedlings that already sprouted saves you growing time. 
    One thing I learned from my paternal grandmother was to be resourceful. She made her own "icebox" in the ground in the early 1900's before refrigerators became popular. Fresh milk, buttermilk, and any perishable foods stayed cool. I've found a few ways to be resourceful with gardening. One way is by planting the raised bed garden in an area that gets six or more hours of sun daily. Another way is by using mulch in my flower gardens, and this keeps the ground from drying out so much plus I don't have to water as often. My favorite resourceful idea came from my husband. Our little cottage cabin has a drain from the kitchen that pours water out into a sunny area of soil. Last year a tomato plant yielded tons of the best tomatoes in that little area. We didn't plant it. Maybe a bird dropped a seed there. Wherever the source came from, it worked. Two things made that tomato plant a success: sun and water from the kitchen drain. Therefore, last weekend I planted a little salad garden with tomatoes, cucumbers, a few Marigolds to keep critters out and strawberry pants in the clay strawberry pot. My husband and I inherited a trellis with our cabin, and he attached it to the side of the house between the kitchen window and door. Now the tomato and cucumber vines can grow up the trellis.
    About three years ago I planted a garden and had the best success with yellow summer squash and peppers. I am not a seasoned gardener, but I have gardened enough to know you need water, sun, dirt, fertilizer, and compost. Fencing definitely helps to keep out rabbits, deer, and even pets. You don't have to have gardening experience to begin a garden. Anyone can learn how to garden. If you need to save money on groceries, start now by planting a garden in your own back yard.
    I'm linking to:

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Tips on Raised Bed Gardening

    How do you prepare a raised bed for a garden? Not long ago, that was my question. After a little research, a visit to my local nursery, a lot of digging and help from my husband, I can give you some tips.
    • Choose a sunny place in your yard that gets at least six hours of sun
    • Measure a 4'x4' area in that sunny place
    • Dig about 17" deep with a spade
    • If the dirt is too hard to dig, water the area each day for about a week.
    • Visit your local nursery and ask for compost, chicken fertilizer (sheep or rabbit is even better), worm castings
    • Mix the fertilizer, compost, and worm castings in with the dirt and water the area.
    • Purchase two 8'-long 2"x6" pieces of wood from Lowe's, and ask them to cut them in half.
    • Place brackets inside each corner wood stakes outside the corners. 
    • Place the connected four pieces of wood over the 4'x4' area you've prepared. You'll probably need to move the frame and pile the soil in the middle. When you place the frame back, then you can use a shovel to smooth the soil so that it settles just right inside the frame.

    I'm linking to:

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Fried Egg Sandwiches

    Love eggs? You always hear of eggs for breakfast, but eggs make good lunches, too. Scrambled egg sandwiches taste delicious and make a filling lunch. Fried egg sandwiches with sliced cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of black pepper makes a very tasty meal, too. Limit the oil, choose high fiber bread, and spread mayo lightly on the bread. You won't feel hungry for hours...especially when you add pork sausage to the meal...

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Turkey Chili

    What can you do with leftover ground turkey? Make chili. It's easy, tasty, and you can eat it with crackers or tortilla chips.

    Turkey Chili
    Leftover ground turkey (at least 1-2 lbs)
    Chili Seasoning (1 pkg.)
    Diced Tomatoes (1 can)
    Tomato Sauce (1 can)
    Tomato Paste (1 can)
    Cheddar Cheese
    Heat all ingredients together. Serve with grated cheese on top. It makes the best burritos, too.