Category Archives: All Things Foodie

Autumn Pear and Cranberry Chopped Salad….

Autumn Chopped Salad

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Ingredients:
6 to 8 cups of Chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 medium pears, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
8 slices thick-cut bacon (applewood) crisp and crumbled
4 to 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Poppy Seed Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette)

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Directions:

On a large platter, combine lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese.  Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing…70% poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette).  Toss and serve immediately!

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Delicious!

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Filed under All Things Foodie, Food and Wine, Healthy Living

Recipe: Southern Black Eyed Peas…

Southern Black Eyed Peas…

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I have read numerous cookbooks and food blogs looking for a suitable recipe for our family’s New Years Day dinner.  There are dozens if not hundreds of recipes available.  I searched until I found a couple that had the ingredients that sounded good to me and created my own recipe.

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Don’t let the number of ingredients listed deter you from trying this recipe…It’s easier than it looks and delicious!

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Ingredients:

1# dry black-eyed peas, washed and picked
1/4 # of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
3 qts of chicken stock (sodium free), heated and set aside
2 pinches of kosher salt
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning, Tony Chachere’s salt free
3 Bay Leaves
2 jalapeno, sliced
1 # pork sausage, hot and spicy

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Directions:

In a medium sauce pan heat the chicken stock and reserve for later.

Now, In a dutch oven or similar pot cook the diced bacon until browned but not crisp.  Next add the holy trinity; diced onion, bell pepper and celery to the bacon and cook until wilted.  Add diced garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add rinsed black-eyed peas to veggie mixture and stir thoroughly for 3-4 minutes.  Begin adding the hot chicken stock to the peas and veggies (reserve 2 cups of liquid, you will probably need it later)..next add the salt, pepper, jalapeno, bay leaves and seasoning. Bring the pot to a roiling boil, reduce the heat and simmer partially covered.  Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. In a separate pan, crumble and brown the pork sausage.  Drain the fat and set the sausage aside until needed.

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After the peas have cooking for an hour you may need to add more chicken stock if the mixture has gotten too thick.  Also add the cooked pork sausage stir and  continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes.  Now it’s time to make your cornbread or rice whichever you prefer to serve with your black-eyed peas.

Due to my Southern heritage, I would normally choose rice over anything else …growing up in the south rice is as common on the dinner table as salt and pepper…however, you may want to forgo the rice with this dish so that you can enjoy more of the peas. Yes they are that good…and filling!

Now it’s time to Enjoy!

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New Years Day, Food for the Soul…

The New Years Day menu is steeped in age-old tradition as well as a little bit of superstition.  I don’t go in for superstition but I am big on traditions…and of course the one tradition that seems to unite the world is one that is tied to food.

Food for the Soul…Black eyed peas, cabbage and ham or symbols of luck, prosperity, wealth and health.  It seems that the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day began in the South in the 1860’s.  However, black-eyed peas have been part of the Jewish celebration Rosh Hoshana for hundreds of years.

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Our traditional New Year’s Day dinner included; Southern Black Eyed Peas, Grilled Cabbage, Jalapeno Deer Sausage and Cornbread.

Rabbit Trail….

“Although the terms soul and spirit are sometimes used interchangeably, soul may denote a more worldly and less transcendent aspect of a person. According to psychologist James Hillman, soul has an affinity for negative thoughts and images, whereas spirit seeks to rise above the entanglements of life and death.”

Tying it all together…

If in fact our Soul has an affinity for negative thoughts and images what better way to overcome it than to rise above the entanglements of life than by lifting our Spirits by enjoying good food that represents good luck, prosperity, wealth and health…there definitely is no harm in it.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, and Prosperous New Year! 

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Filed under All Things Foodie, Blogging Challenges

Creamy Cocoa Mix…

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This past weekend we hosted a family reunion.  While thinking through the process of hosting 60 people in our home I knew I had to to do something to keep everyone from hanging out in the kitchen.  I decided I would set up the coffee bar and drink station outside.

I set up a coffee and hot cocoa bar on the back porch.  I setup the table with the Keurig, K cups, Cocoa Mix and Marshmallows.

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The Instant Creamy Cocoa Mix was very popular with everyone, kids and adults alike.  Everyone liked it so much I have decided I will make a big batch and gift it for Christmas to my friends.  If you enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, you should try this recipe.  You may decide to share some with your friends and family.

Ingredients:

10 cups dry milk powder
4 3/4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups powdered non dairy creamer

cocoaDirections:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.  Store in an airtight container.

2. For a single serving, place 1/3 cup of mixture in a cup and add 3/4 cup boiling water.   Stir to dissolve.  Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.

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CUPCAKES…

I have often wondered when did we go crazy for cupcakes?  Personally I have been enjoying cupcakes since my Mom packed that adorable Hostess chocolate cupcake with the signature white squiggle in my lunch box.  But cupcakes are far from being a new treat…Cupcakes have been around since 1796.

Cupcakes became popular in the early 2000’s after Magnolia Bakery in New York was featured in “Sex and the City.”  Thanks to Carrie and Miranda we have been swept up in a cupcake whirlwind for over a decade…Cupcake are everywhere…their are cupcake shoppes, cupcake trucks, cupcake wars, and cupcake wedding cakes .

I love the entire cupcake experience…from walking into the bakery, standing in front of the display case,  imagining each flavor combination, visually devouring each cupcake, thinking of each of my guests and what they might enjoy and of course choosing a couple extras so that there will be leftovers.

Here are a couple of my choices from my last visit to our local cupcake shop…Rise!  Wicked Spice Cupcakes, cinnamon and spice cake brushed with butter, dipped in cinnamon sugar topped with cinnamon buttercream….They were the perfect compliment to our weekly gathering of friends.

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Filed under 2013 Photo Journal, All Things Foodie, Fall Time

Green…

Our pomelo trees are heavy with fruit.  The fruits are probably weighing a pound each but they are still green and growing.  When the fruits are ready for harvest the skin will become pale green to yellow and  they will weigh as much as 4lbs.  I am looking forward to enjoying the fruits our labor…

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Filed under 2013 Photo Journal, All Things Foodie, Nature

Portion Control…

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July 30, 2013 · 11:16 pm

Flour Girl…

While vacationing in South Lake Tahoe we decided to do a little window shopping.  As we were browsing through the shops at the beautiful Ski Run Marina we stumbled upon the sweetest shoppe…at first I was drawn in by the name over the door, “Flour Girl Wedding Cakes“, an adorable play on words and I for one appreciate a good word play…Then as I looked through the large picture window, I found myself peering in on the flour girls busy at work…I was only there for a few minutes but it was like watching a ballet.  Two  beautiful women dressed for the occasion, their movements were graceful and they seemed at ease with one another.  They were busy whipping up icing and smoothing it over what I can only imagine was deliciously moist layers of cake. I could have stayed there all day, watching them create the only thing that can rival the beauty of the bride…the Wedding Cake!

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Sweet…

Whenever I hear the word sweet I almost immediately think of something moist and rich and chocolatey.   The word sweet also conjures up visions of old-fashioned soda fountains, my favorite gelato shoppe or the local bakery cases filled with buttercream iced cupcakes, fluffy lemon meringue pies and  flakey coconut cakes.

There are other things that are sweet...rosey cheeked children when they are sleeping, adorable puppies and cute baby ducks.  There are flowers that have a sweet fragrance; jasmine, gardenia and roses. There are sweet friends and sweet shoes and really sweet cars…

Sometimes, the sweetest thing is something totally unexpected.  Something done for you by a complete stranger for no other reason than to create a special moment just for you.  There is no repayment required or expected…except for a smile and a nod of recognition for that which was done…

And so we were treated to just such a sweet unexpected surprise on Friday evening when a gathering of friends met for dinner at a Thai restaurant off the beaten path, Merlion…We were treated to the freshest ingredients available, the sweetest server within 50miles and the attention to detail that makes people feel special.  Image

Our table was dressed in the finest the season had to offer…there were fresh-cut hydrangea, sunflowers and wonderfully fragrant rose petals sprinkled down the center of the table.  As we were admiring the floral arrangement we noticed that our table was the only one that had received the special attention.  As the evening progressed we discovered that our sweet server was the co-owner and she had heard that we were celebrating a girls night out and had taken the time to dress our table…

By no means does the food take a back seat to the decor…on the contrary, this is the best Thai food this side of Thailand.  The ingredients are fresh and seasonal…the seafood is purchased from the local fisherman and the noodles are made daily. The dishes were a sexy combination of sweet and spicy…Merlion has most definitely made it on to my list of date night restaurants.

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Filed under 2013 Photo Journal, All Things Foodie, My Local Recommendations, Snapshots of Life

Wilted…

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July 25, 2013 · 7:24 pm