Posted at 10:11 am , on March 2, 2018
Those who are close to me know that I am no fan of coconut, however I do like fried coconut shrimp. It’s a weird thing, I know, most people love coconut but it’s never been my thing. I think one reason why I like this coconut shrimp is that the coconut is fried and has a toasted flavor. I also like the crunchy texture versus fresh coconut which reminds me of eating sweet grass. My whole family loves coconut shrimp plus they’re quick and easy to make. I found endless recipes for Red Lobster’s coconut shrimp which taste pretty darn close to the original. Most people deep fry their shrimp, however I pan fried them which worked just as well and made for a much easier clean-up.
Posted at 1:14 pm , on February 21, 2018
Sweet and sour pork is normally pork that is battered and fried, combined with onions, peppers and pineapple with a rich sweet and tangy sauce. For a healthier version I decided to stir fry the pork which to my surprise turned out really well. The pork was very tender and paired with fresh pineapple rather than from a can made for a very flavorful dish. The recipe comes from The Woks of Life, one of my favorite bloggers for authentic Asian dishes. They have several sweet and sour recipes to choose from but this is my favorite. I love the colors and the flavors of this dish. The sauce is tangy which I think is a better term than sour and the fresh pineapple brings out the sweetness. Ladle over rice for a complete meal that you won’t soon forget.
Posted at 2:07 pm , on February 2, 2018
One of my favorite memories of my Mom was the time she made donuts. She only made them once or twice but the memory stood out for me as she would cut the little rings of dough and drop them in hot oil to fry. They would come out of the fryer just for a minute and then she would dunk them in icing. At that point they were up for grabs! As fast as she could make them, we would eat them. I remember her donuts as one of the best things I ever ate. They are made from ingredients that were commonly used in the 50’s and 60’s which is why I call them vintage. The recipe includes Pet Milk and Crisco which were staples in our kitchen when I was growing up. I doubt you would see them listed in a current recipe today. Half were made with glaze and the other half with cinnamon sugar. The best part is eating them as soon as they are dipped in the glaze or cinnamon sugar. They taste so light and airy and for that moment they are the best thing ever!
Posted at 10:26 am , on January 26, 2018
I was cleaning out the pantry recently when I came upon my spiral cutter. It was hidden from sight, forgotten really, until I started removing the clutter. I’ve rarely used it but decided to put it to good use since I had it out. There are so many recipes on pinterest that use spiral cut vegetables to choose from. I decided on a stir fry with peanut sauce. I was surprised at how simple and easy this meal is. You can prep everything ahead of time and stir fry in just a few minutes. In no time you have a great meal, loaded with veggies and flavors to satisfy even the most picky eaters. Joe even commented that the peanut sauce was so good he didn’t mind all the veggies, which he normally would pick over.
Posted at 10:10 am , on January 23, 2018
This may seem a bit odd, cooking up lotions and potions instead of food but I wanted to share what I “cooked up” for homemade gifts over the holidays. As I grow older maintaining a state of well being and striving to live healthier takes work. What I want most these days are things that will make my life easier and more comfortable. My siblings also experience the aches and pains of growing older. Taking a pill or buying expensive organic remedies won’t cure all but there are things to try and experiment with to see what works and what doesn’t. My sister Kat has inspired me with her knowledge and willingness to try new things. She has influenced my way of thinking about organic and natural ways to feel better. For instance she gave me a pink himalayan salt lamp that proponents claim to have a calming aura which can affect your mood and wellness, as well as boosting blood flow, improving sleep and increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. And last year she gave me a diffuser with essential oils that I keep nearby when I’m working on the computer. I have been exploring the benefits of essential oils and found many bloggers experimenting with different oils and organic materials to make lotions and body butters that can help with anything from dry skin to painful joints to sore muscles. These are my picks that I feel are the best of the best. These bloggers have shared an abundance of information on how they are made, the benefits of essential oils, what products to use and even how to clean up after making them. I will provide the links to the original posts so that you might find some ideas on how a homemade remedy might be beneficial to you. Also I’ve added links to the products I ordered and used specifically for these lotions and potions.
Posted at 10:02 am , on January 12, 2018
It’s hard to believe I’ve never posted a recipe for pasta carbonara before now. It has to be one of my top all time favorite pasta dishes. Often referred to as bacon and eggs pasta, it’s traditionally made with bacon or Pancetta, egg yolks whisked with pasta water and a hard cheese such as Parmesan or Romano. When I’m in a pinch for time it’s the perfect recipe because I always have bacon, eggs and cheese on hand. It’s also the perfect recipe to experiment with. I ‘ve found that a few additions to this basic recipe can take it to another level of goodness. My personal favorite is the addition of sun dried tomatoes. You can’t beat the taste of creamy pasta with bits of bacon and sun dried tomatoes. And if you like it spicy, add some red and black pepper. Today I seared shrimp and scallops with blackening seasoning to go on top of the pasta. Oh my gosh, it was so good!
Posted at 9:50 am , on January 5, 2018
Early last December Joe and I visited Panama City Beach, FL for a short getaway. We thought a visit to the Sunshine State before Christmas would be a great time to get away without all the crowds and have the beach to ourselves. We were prepared for cooler weather but determined to enjoy the sunshine and white sandy beaches. Little did we know Mother Nature had other ideas. It was unusually cold and rained the entire time we were there. We rented a little condo on the beach where you walk off your deck straight onto the beautiful white sand. It would have been paradise had the wind not been so blustery with cold rain coming off the ocean. Mostly we just looked out the window because it was just too cold to venture out. We expected mid 50’s and got 30 and 40 degree weather, brrrr. It wasn’t a total loss, we went out to the movies and found a couple museums to wander around. We decided we would splurge for a big breakfast, skip lunch and find some good seafood to eat for dinner. My favorite breakfast was from Andy’s Flour Power Cafe and Bakery. I had the french toast plate with thick slices of french toast topped with candied pecans and fresh strawberries. I loved every bite and vowed to recreate it one day. This is my version of the Flour Power French Toast!
Posted at 10:11 am , on December 22, 2017
This cranberry relish is what we fondly refer to as “The Cranberries”. Joe’s mom (Joan) always makes this cranberry relish for the holidays and it’s been a favorite that we’ve enjoyed for many years. Joan always grinds her cranberries but since I don’t have a working grinder I used my food processor to get the same effect. It’s a simple mix of fresh cranberries, an orange, and some sugar. The contrast of sweet cranberry orange flavors really enhances any traditional holiday meal. My favorite thing is leftover roasted turkey or chicken, stuffing with a drizzle of gravy and cranberry relish piled on a toasted slice of crusty artisan bread. Yum, it doesn’t get much better than that!
Posted at 9:06 am , on December 19, 2017
This is Josh’s recipe for Crusty Artisan Bread. He’s always been the bread maker in this family and makes the most beautiful loaves of bread. He would tell you it doesn’t always come out perfect but I have yet to taste any bread that he has made that didn’t taste absolutely delicious! Since I can’t count of Josh for making the bread this year for the holidays (he is off on an adventure in Australia), I decided to give his recipe a try. He left me his big bread bowl and his oval dutch oven so I am using them for good luck. Josh told me not to over knead the dough, just incorporate the ingredients and let them sit out to proof for up to 24 hours. That was hard for me, I have made the artisan bread that you refrigerate but never let it sit out at room temp for that long. After agonizing over the process, I decided to trust his technique and it turned out great. I’ve made 3 loaves so far and they have all turned out as good as any you would find at a bakery. This one is the last loaf I made and it was incredibly light and airy with the perfect artisan crust. Practice does make perfect!
Posted at 9:23 am , on December 4, 2017
I love fig newtons, don’t you? They taste so different from other cookies. The dough is more like cake than cookie dough and is amazingly soft surrounding a fig paste that is flavored with a hint of orange. My opinion is that homemade newtons are more flavorful and aromatic than store bought. You can make the dough and fig paste ahead of time and refrigerate up to a week. This was a huge help to me as I didn’t have all day to make cookies. When I was ready, I just set the dough and paste out for about half an hour to soften at room temperature. The dough was cool but pliable and easy to work with and roll out. The fig paste was thick and sticky and I wasn’t sure how I was going to spread the paste onto the dough without making a mess. I dropped the paste onto a long sheet of plastic wrap and shaped it so that it was somewhat round and long like a rope. The paste didn’t stick to the plastic wrap and I was able to set the long strand of paste onto the dough and peel back the plastic. It made wrapping the dough around the fig paste quite easy. They baked perfectly in 18 minutes, golden and soft to the touch. And they look and taste just as good if not better than any you could buy at the store.