Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sunday Crepes

Sunday brunch idea.  The picture says it all.  You can make the crepes ahead of time and fill them when you have a stack ready.  Make your filling and compote in advance and have chilled.


¾ cup milk
¾ cup cold water
3 egg yolk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup flour
5 tablespoons melted butter

Place ingredients in a blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute. If bits of flour adhere to side of jar, dislodge with a rubber scraper and blend 3 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

In a heated 6 inch non stick pan brushed with butter, pour in 2 tablespoons crepe batter. Swirl to coat bottom of pan. Allow batter to set and when sides begin to slightly curl turn the crepe over and cook the other side 15 to 20 seconds turn out on a plate. Repeat until remaining batter is finished.

Simple No Cook Filling

After making a pile of crepes, open your crepe and fill with this super simple pudding.

1 vanilla instant pudding & pie filling (5 oz. box)
1 ½ cups cold milk
1 container of 8 oz. whipped topping

For your filling mix one vanilla pudding packet with half of the milk called for on the package. Whisk until it begins to thicken. Then fold in one container of thawed whipped topping.  It makes a very easy and tasty filling in crepes. 

Do not over fill your crepe.  Slice bananas and add slices on top of the pudding filling.  Roll up and cover with a compote of fresh berries or drizzle with chocolate syrup.  Sprinkle it with powdered sugar.

Berry Compote

You can make this the night before and chill in the refrigerator.  It is also great on pancakes or waffles too.

Fresh or frozen berries of your choice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tbs. corn starch

Place the berries in a heavy based pan with the sugar and stir gently over a moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Mix you orange juice and corn starch until well blended and add to the berries.  Increase the heat and boil for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the berries are tender but still holding their shape.

Remove the compote from the heat and transfer to a bowl.  Leave to cool completely, then cover with cling film and chill until needed. This will last for up to three days in the fridge.

Hope you have a great Sunday.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Flax Seeds

I've been hearing about the health benefits of flax seeds so I bought some this week.  I have also researched the benefits, storage and some good ways to use them in your diet so thought I’d share my new limited knowledge about flax seeds.  

Health Benefits:

Recent studies have suggested that flax seed may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.  Some of the other components in flax seed also have antioxidant properties, which may contribute to not only protection against cancer but also heart disease.

The benefits seem endless.  Eating flax seed daily may also help your cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar levels.

Two components in flax seed may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson's disease and asthma) by helping block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents.

One study of menopausal women, reported that 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed mixed into cereal, juice, or yogurt twice a day cut their hot flashes in half.

Flax seed is high in fiber. You’d be hard pressed to find a food higher in fiber. Since flax has such a high fiber content, it's best to start with a small amount and increase slowly.

It's tempting to think of flax seed as a super food because of its many potential health benefits but keep in mind there is no magic food or nutrient that guarantees improved health.  Pregnant women and possibly breastfeeding mothers should not supplement their diets with ground flax seed.  Discuss with your doctors.

Incorporating it in your diet:

Hide flax seed in dark, moist dishes. The dishes that hide flax seed the best are dark sauces or meat mixtures. No one tends to notice flax seed when it's stirred into enchilada casserole, chicken Parmesan  chili, beef stew, meatloaf, or meatballs. For a 4 serving casserole, you can usually get away with adding 2 to 4 tablespoons of ground flax seed.

Use it in baking. Substitute ground flax seed for part of the flour in recipes for quick breads, muffins, rolls, bread, bagels, pancakes, and waffles. Try replacing ¼ to ½ cup of the flour with ground flax seed if the recipe calls for 2 or more cups of flour.

If a recipe calls for nuts, add flax seeds in addition to the nuts.

Sprinkle it on salads or put in salad dressings.

Add flax seed to a food you habitually eat. Every time you have a certain food, like oatmeal, smoothies, soup, or yogurt, stir in a couple tablespoons of ground flax seed. Soon it will be a habit and you won’t have to think about it, you’ll just do it.


The oil in flax is highly unsaturated. This means that it is very prone to oxidation (rancidity) unless it is stored correctly. The very best way is nature’s own storage system (within the seed). Flax seeds not exposed to large amounts of heat stay safe to eat for at least a year. You can keep it in the freezer. The freezer will keep the flax from oxidizing and losing its nutritional potency.

But as long as it is dry and of good quality, whole flax seed can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.


Flax Seed Bread Sticks

1 can of Pillsbury bread sticks
Grated Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
Flax seeds
Melted butter

Follow the directions on the bread stick can.  After you have twisted the sticks, brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them with garlic powder, Parmesan cheese and flax seeds.  Bake according to the directions on the can.    Serve warm.

Healthy Snack Balls

1 cup dry oatmeal
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until mixed well. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup rolled oats
1 medium banana
4 tbs. powdered peanut butter
1 tbs. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. flax seed
1/3 cup honey or corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until completely combined.
Then using a tablespoon, scoop out mixture and roll into a ball. Place on cookie sheet or plate and continue until all balls are made.  Refrigerate balls for at least an hour.

Fruity Flax Seed Muffins

These moist and flavor flax muffins are not only good for you, but they taste great too.

½ cup crushed pineapple with juice
½ cup finely chopped apples
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
¼ cup dark molasses
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 ¼ cup flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾  cup ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Coat inside of liners with a quick squirt cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat together the pineapple with juice, apples, oil, egg, egg whites, sour cream, and molasses until mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in raisins or dried fruit.

In medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flax seed.
Add flax seed mixture to sour cream mixture, beating on low speed just until combined (batter will be a little lumpy). Spoon batter by ¼ cupful into prepared muffin pan.
Bake in center of preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and springy to the touch.  It should make 12 muffins.

Cinnamon Cranberry Flax Muffins

1 cup whole fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cup flax seed meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Liberally butter muffin tins. Makes anywhere from 12 to 24 muffins. Do not use paper muffin liners - they will stick.

Pour boiling water over cranberries. Let sit for 5 minutes and pour off water.

Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients (minus the cranberries) separately, then mix them together.

Let mixture stand for 10 minutes to thicken.

Fold in cranberries.

Fill each muffin cup about half way, and sprinkle with nuts.

Bake about 15 minutes (a little longer if you're only making 12) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Keep up to a week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.

Flax Seed Brownie 

¼ lb. butter (1 stick)
2 cups sugar
1 tbs. vanilla
4 eggs
½ cup cocoa
1 tsp. salt
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (or two heeping tbs. cocoa powder)
2 cups flax seed meal
1 tbs. baking powder
1/3 cup cream
2/3 cup water
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9 X 13 inch pan.

Cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugar to the butter and cream them together until fully combined.

Add the vanilla and beat the eggs into the mixture, one at a time. Add salt and cocoa, beat well. Add chocolate, beat until fluffy.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine.

Pour into a pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until top springs back. (You can also test if they're ready by sticking a toothpick in the brownies. If it comes out clean they're done.)

Cool, then cut into 32 squares. If you cheat and eat one warm, know that the texture will be different once completely cool. That's when they become like real brownies. (They are even better the next day.)

Health Bar 

1 ½ cups regular oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbs. flax seed + 4 tbs. warm water, mixed
½ cup butter
¼ cup blackberry syrup
2 tbs. almond milk (regular milk will do)
1 tbs. sesame seeds or coconut flakes for topping only

Fruit Spread
1 cup blackberries (Or berry of your choice)
2 tbs. blackberry syrup (or fruit syrup of your choice)
1 tbs. flax seed

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9 × 9 inch pan with parchment paper and oil the sides & base of pan. Working on the Fruit Spread first: place blackberries in a medium pot and smash with the broad side of a spoon until lumpy. Add the 2 tbs. Blackberry Syrup and heat over low for about 4 minutes. Add the flax seed, stir well, simmer over low to medium heat for at least 5 to 10 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you make the oat mixture.
In a small bowl, mix flax seed & water; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients for the oat base except sesame seeds/coconut flakes: oats, flour, baking soda, & salt. In a small bowl, mix the butter, blackberry syrup, almond milk, and water/flax seed mix. Stir well.  Set 1/2 cup of the dry mixture aside.

Add the wet mixture to the remaining dry mix and blend well. It's OK to use your fingers.

Pour the oat mixture into the 9 × 9 inch pan and press down using your hands. Use a pastry roller to smooth out if desired. Pour fruit mixture over the oat mixture and smooth out.

Use the 1/2 of dry mix set aside as a topping, evenly sprinkling over the fruit mix. Sprinkle sesame seeds/coconut flakes over top layer.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool at least an hour before removing from pan. Slice and store in a refrigerated container to keep firm.

Here is a recipe to make the blackberry syrup (or fruit syrup of your choice).  Would be good with strawberry, raspberry or blueberries.

Homemade Fruit Flavored Syrup

1 part water
1 part sugar
1 part flavoring ingredient (chopped fruit or herbs or a combination)

Boil all ingredients for five minutes (or long if you want a stronger flavor), let the mixture cool, strain out the solids and refrigerate the liquid. About one quarter of the liquid evaporates in the cooking process thickening it.  The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get.  If it gets too thick add a little more water to it.

Adjust the amount of fruit slightly based on how intense you want the flavor to be and how strong the fruit or herb is.

For a more subtle herb flavor when mixing fruit and herbs, don’t add the herb until the last minute. Then remove from heat and let steep for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired flavor. You can even add a sprig to the bottle or jar you’ll be storing it in to show what flavor it is.
For citrus, use the rind as well as the juicy part.  You may also use honey instead of sugar to mix it up!

Homemade syrup doesn't keep as long as the commercial variety.  Store it in one of my favorite things, canning jars and you can label the lid with a Sharpie.  

I’m going to try and increase flax seed in my regular diet like I am doing with turmeric, remembering all things in moderation. 

Have a great Labor Day weekend.  Stay healthy, happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Cobb Salad

Had good friends over yesterday for our monthly get together and because of restricted diets, I decided to make a Cobb salad.  I have had this recipe for over 20 years.  When I got it, it said it was the original recipe and dressing for the first Cobb salad made.  Of course I had to make a few modifications to suit me. 

Story goes, one night in 1937, Bob Cobb, then owner of The Brown Derby, was prowled hungrily in his restaurant's kitchen for a snack. Opening the refrigerator, he pulled out a head of lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, some cold breast of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese and some old-fashioned French dressing. He started chopping, adding some crisp bacon and the Cobb salad was born.

I do not add watercress and today I had the cheese on the side.  It makes a nice presentation especially with my heirloom tomatoes and it is a meal in itself.  Like Bob, I went to the refrigerator and add what I had.  I added a little more color because I had some radishes and ran out of room so served the cheese on the side with crackers.  Serve with crackers or bread sticks to complete the meal. 

Cobb Salad

Bag of mixed lettuces
6 slices of bacon
2 ripe avocados
1 whole skinless boneless chicken breast
Chopped ham
2 tomatoes
3 hard boiled eggs
2 tbs. chopped fresh chives
½ cup of your favorite shredded cheese

Dressing (My variation)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup olive oil
In a large salad bowl, arrange lettuce leaves on bottom.

Original Cobb Salad Dressing                            
¼ cup water
¼ cup red wine vinegar                   
¼ tsp. sugar
1 tsp.freshly squeezed lemon juice                             
2 tsp.salt                             
¾ tsp.freshly ground black pepper              
¾  tsp. Worcestershire sauce                          
¼ tsp. dry English mustard                             
1 small clove garlic          
¼ cup full flavored olive oil                         
¾ cup salad oil

Fry the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until crisp on both sides. Remove from skillet and lay out on paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Allow the bacon to cool. Cut the bacon and set aside.  As usual, I like to use the precooked bacon that you only need microwave for 30 seconds to save time and mess.

Boil your hard eggs until hard boiled (10 minutes in boiling water).

Chop your ham and chicken in to small pieces.

Cut the avocados in half, take out the seed, scoop out the meat with a spoon and slice your avocado.  Squeeze lemon or lime juice over it so it does not turn brown. 

Using a kitchen scissor, cut your chives.

Compose the salad. Arrange the chicken, ham, the bacon, tomatoes, sliced eggs, and the avocado decoratively over the greens and garnish the salad with the  chives.

In a mason jar, combine the vinegar, mustard, water, salt and pepper to taste, add the oil. Shake the jar until well blended.  Add sugar to taste, 1 teaspoon at a time and taste.   Serve separately on the side.

Keep cool in this heat, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fresh Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

I bought French bread yesterday to use up some more of my tomatoes.  Love making something as simple as Bruschetta (Italian tomato sandwich) with them. 

1 lb. tomatoes
1 cloves garlic
5 fresh basil leaves
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Crusty Italian or French bread
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

I like to take the skins off my tomatoes for bruschetta.  Core your tomatoes and when the water boils, dip your tomatoes in the water for 20 seconds.  Take out and put in cold water immediately.  Peel the skins off and chop your tomatoes into small pieces.
Add the minced garlic, basil, vinegar and olive oil, and just a little salt and pepper. Mix well, cover and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes allowing the flavors to marry.

Note:  I use heirloom tomatoes and they do not have a lot of acidity so I add vinegar.  You may wish to leave out the vinegar.  Prior to serving, taste the mixture. If a little extra acidity is desired, add the red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Slice the bread/baguette into individual serving sizes. Brush both sides of the bread slices with a good quality extra virgin olive oil.

On a grill: place the bread slices on a hot grill and toast each side until slightly golden – don’t let them burn.

In the oven: place the bread slices on a cookie sheet and broil each side for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden in color.

Allow the bread to cool, and serve alongside the tomato mixture. Allow guests to spoon the tomato mixture on the bread right at the table: topping the bread too early will result in soggy bread.

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Apple Season

My apples are heavy on the tree and I'm beginning to collect apple recipes from FB friends and old cook books to share with my grandsons. Today I thought I would share several I think they will like with you.

This is a take off of my apple-pie-in-a-jar I make every fall, but the boys can make it for a small snack themselves.


1 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apple
1 tsp. of sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Raisins (optional)

Peel, core and slice your apple. Place in freezer zip lock bag along with remaining ingredients. Seal bag and shake well to mix ingredients.

Reopen bag just a touch to vent and put in a coffee cup to hold it up right. Microwave bag on high for 2 minutes (longer if you use a big apple).

Carefully with an oven mitt, open bag and eat it plain or pour over ice cream or oatmeal.  You can also let it cool and put it in a lunch bag.

Apple Pie Fries

1 Package of Pillsbury Refrigerated pie Crust (2 count)
Approx. 1 ½ cups of Apple Pie Filling
1 Egg
Sparkle Sugar if you have it (regular will work)
Store bought caramel sauce for dipping

Chop up the Apple Pie Filling as best as you can.  Use a food processor to chop finely.

Unroll each crust and spread the filling on the crust.  Leave a 1/8″ border around the edge.

Put the other pie crust on top and press lightly to secure it.

Make an egg wash by mixing the egg with a splash of water. Brush some egg wash on the top, and sprinkle it with the sugar.

Cut strips about 1/2″ thick and then cut those into “fry” shapes.

Place them carefully onto a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for approx. 12 minutes, or until they’re slightly golden and firm.

Make sure and serve them with some Caramel for dipping.

Apple Toffee Dip

2 8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 pkg. Heath toffee bits

Mix everything together and serve with a bowl of apple slices that have been tossed with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Variation -  You can drizzle some caramel sauce on the top and using a knife swirl it through the dip to make it even more amazing.

With this heat, you don't have to heat up the oven for this one. 

Mom's Apple Salad

One of my favorite meals when I go to mom's for dinner is her homemade chicken and noodles and her apple salad on the side.  She has been fixing the apple salad since I was little.


1 cup mayo
2 tbs. sugar
2 apples
1/2 cup walnuts
2 small bananas
1 cup small marshmallows

Mix the mayo and sugar in the bottom of a bowl.  Cut up your apple into small pieces.  I do it over the bowl.  Cut up your bananas over the bowl.  Add you marshmallows and walnuts.  Fold until it is well mixed.  I like to fix this for my grandson Saylor because it is gluten and dairy free and he likes it.

I added red grapes cut in half to this salad.  Mom always garnishes with some walnuts on the top so I do the same.

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Shrimp and Pasta Salad

This is a great summer salad recipe to help beat the heat this week.  Looks like we are really in for it.

Shrimp and Pasta Salad

2 to 3 cups shrimp, cooked and peeled
2 cups pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions (you may use colored pasta)
2 boiled eggs
1 large tomato
1/2 cup radishes
1/2 cup celery, chopped
Several green onions and tops
1 medium sized cucumber
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Chop your eggs, tomato, radishes, celery, green onion, and cucumber.  Set each aside.

Cook pasta and drain.  Boil your shrimp until they are pink and drain.  Mix your mayo, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add your chopped veggies, shrimp and pasta and toss well.  Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.  Makes 10 to 12 servings.

This dish would be good with any garden vegetable.  You can add peppers or corn or what ever you have in the refrigerator.  Keep it colorful.  If it is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise.  

Keep cool, be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Copy Cat of Panchero’s White (Blanco) Queso Dip

I went to Panchero’s over a week ago with friends and decided I was going to try and make a copy cat recipe of their queso.  This is my version. It is close.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white flour
2 cups 2% milk (That is all I ever have in the house.  You can use whole if you like)
1 tsp. ground cumin
8 oz. canned chopped green chilies
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
8 oz. shredded Pepper Jack cheese
8 oz. white cheddar cheese or American cheese
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Put your chilies in a small food processor to chop them up finely.  Set aside.

Chop your onion and garlic finely (You can put them in the food processor also to get a fine chop). Sauté onion in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning until it is tender.

Add the garlic, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 1 minutes. Set aside.

Grate the cheeses.  Pick white cheeses.  You may use a white cheeses.

Measure out that flour and butter.  Make a roux by melting your butter on low heat and add the flour.  Turn the heat up just a little bit so that you can see the flour/butter mixture slightly bubbling and turn a light golden color.  Do not let it get any darker.

Now add a little milk while continuing to stir with the whisk. Add the rest of the milk and turn the heat up to medium.

Continue to whisk for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Turn the heat down just a little and add the cumin, onion and garlic mixture, and the green chilies. Stir until well mixed and hot.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir.

Turn off the heat and add the grated cheese, one handful at a time.

Stir each handful in with the whisk until melted. Keep adding handfuls and stirring until all the cheese is mixed in and creamy.

Now you get to taste it. Does it need more salt? More heat? You can still stir it in at this time.

If you have one of those small crock pots or fondue pots, that would work well to keep the dip warm.

Serve with blue tortilla chips. It makes about 2 1/2 cups.  If you are having a party, double the recipe and put in a larger crock pot.

You can also put it in your burritos, tacos, a quick quesadilla or your enchiladas.  Refrigerate any left over and just reheat when you want to use it again. 

Still using up those tomatoes and corn?  

Target has a great blue chip that has flax seed in them that I just love and so do my grandsons.   I picked up two bags when I was in Davenport.  They go wonderful with this dip. 

Hope you have a great Sunday.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Add Healing Turmeric to Your Diet

I have been doing a lot of research on Turmeric trying to figure out how I can get more of it in my diet.  Turmeric is a golden spice worth its weight in gold.   It delivers numerous health benefits and may help improve certain medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, ulcers and inflammatory conditions. The University of Maryland Medical Center advises you not to take turmeric supplements without approval from your physician. Ingesting small amounts of turmeric in food is considered safe, however.

Turmeric is a culinary spice that spans cultures.  It is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and makes American mustard yellow. But evidence is accumulating that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a promising disease preventive agent as well, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory action.

Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects.  Turmeric has also been found to help prevent alleviate Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.

To enjoy turmeric's health benefits without the risk of consuming it in toxic amounts, try adding it to your daily diet. 

Here are some simple ideas:

If you are using ginger, add a little of turmeric to the dish also.

Add turmeric to your soups, chili, meatloaf and Sloppy Joes recipes.  I have always put it in my egg drop soup.

Spicy lentils. Use green or brown lentils that can be cooked in around a half-hour with a two-to-one liquid to lentil ratio.  Add turmeric with the lentils with salt and pepper.  You can use it in any bean soup.

How about a smoothie? You can blend a half or a whole banana with some grated or powdered ginger, raw honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a teaspoon of bee pollen with two teaspoons of turmeric.

Sprinkle turmeric with some oil and salt on vegetables such as cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, etc before you bake them.

Add a pinch of turmeric to your salad dressing.

The next time you sauté kale, sprinkle some turmeric on top to combine two superfoods.

Marinate chicken breast in a turmeric and lemon marinade.  You can add it to any of your

Sprinkle a bit of turmeric on your next batch of roasted potatoes with your salt and pepper.

Infuse a half cup of olive oil with a teaspoon of turmeric and brush it onto your corn on the cob in lieu of butter (or in addition to butter).

When sautéing onions, sprinkle some turmeric for added flavor.

Because of the beautiful color it adds, try adding a little to your next mac and cheese casserole.

Turmeric Tea Recipe

2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
2 tablespoon honey
Squeeze half a lime or lemon in tea

Makes two 8 oz. cups.  Boil turmeric and ginger in purified water for 5 to 10 minutes. Divide honey and lime or lemon juice between two tea mugs. Pour boiled turmeric water in each cup, and enjoy the healing benefits and delicious taste of this beautiful anti-inflammation tea.

Remember moderation in all things.  Don’t over do it, but add it to your diet a couple times a week.

Have a great Saturday.  Stay healthy, happy and may God bless you and yours.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sirloin Tips

Heirloom tomatoes were as meaty as the steak.

I splurged yesterday and got two sirloin steaks.  After frying them both in butter and having half of one for supper (and a few pieces to my spoiled 3 chihuahuas), I decided to extend the steaks by making sirloin tips over rice.  I personally prefer rice rather than noodles or potatoes, but you can also serve them over what ever you prefer.  With the cost of beef, this will feed twice as many people or in my case make several meals for me. 

Sirloin Tips Over Rice

1 pound top sirloin steak
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. finely chopped shallots
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
3 tbs. flour
1 ½ cups beef broth
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
5 fresh thyme sprigs or chopped parsley

Cut your sirloin into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.  Salt and pepper each piece lightly.

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbs. butter and then add the steak.  Sauté the tips for 4 to 5 minutes, making sure to brown the steak pieces on all sides. Remove the tips and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in pan over medium heat. Add the shallots (or finely chopped onion) and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and flour.  Mix well and continue cooking for 2 minutes longer.  Make sure to constantly stir the mixture.

Slowly add the broth to the mixture.  Make sure to continually whisk the mixture to remove any lumps.

Season the mixture with salt, pepper and the thyme sprigs (You may use dried if you like – 1 tsp.).  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens, roughly 3 minutes.

Add the beef back to the pan and mix to coat.  Continue to cook until the meat is tender.  Add more broth if necessary. 

Variations – You may add mushroom if you like.  Add them when you add your shallots.  You may also add a can of cream of mushroom soup for more gravy and flavor and extend the tips even more.  Add it just before you add the beef back.

With Mushroom Soup

Rather than mushroom, want to add a little sweetness, color, texture and another flavor?  Add a cup of sweet corn to the tips or you can serve your sweet corn or tomatoes on the side to round out your meal.

Try frying two strip of bacon first and using the bacon grease to start you tips and roux.  Chop the bacon and add with your broth.  Another great way to add another level of flavor to your tips.

Add wine or sherry to the tips after you have brazed them.  I seldom cook with wine, but it will also give you another level of flavor.  If you are adding, cut back on the beef broth and do 50/50 on the liquid.

Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes. 

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Corn and Seafood

These recipes will use up some of your corn and tomatoes.  The first one is great for the grill or your oven.  It is simple and beautiful.  If you love seafood, you’ll love these.  You can put what ever seafood you like in them.  

Seafood Packets

Clams if you can find them (trip to Hy-Vee)
Uncooked shrimp in shells (thawed if frozen)
Sea scallops  
Ears fresh sweet corn
Cherry tomatoes
Seasoning of your choice to taste

Lemon-Chive Butter
1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Heat grill or oven. Cut 18 x 12 inch sheets of heavy duty foil and spray them with your favorite cooking spray.  

Place the clams, shrimp and scallops in center of each sheet; topping them with 2 pieces of corn and 4 cherry tomatoes. In small bowl, mix butter ingredients and melt in the microwave. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons butter over seafood and vegetables in each packet.  Before sealing, you can sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper to taste or Old Bay seasoning.

Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight ½ inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

Place packets on grill over medium heat or in oven at 350 degrees.  Cook 15 to 20 minutes.  If you are grilling, rotating packets ½ turn after 10 minutes, or until clam shells have opened, shrimp are pink, and scallops are white and opaque. Your cooking time may vary depending on ingredients selected.  Discard any clams that don't open.

To serve, cut large X across top of each packet; carefully fold back foil to allow steam to escape. Top with chives. 

Serve it with some crusty bread to sop up the juices and you have a complete meal.

Crab Bisque

Which do you like….white or red?  I love them both, so am giving you both using the same recipe but just adding the red at the end if you wish to add the tomato flavor.   You may also substitute the crab with another seafood like shrimp, lobster or scallops for a completely different seafood bisque.  Any way it is heavenly. 

White Crab Bisque 

3 cups heavy cream or half and half
½ onion
1 carrot
1 cup milk
2 cups of crab meat  (use what you like, frozen, fresh, imitation, canned or you can substitute shrimp, lobster and/or scallops)
3 tbp. flour
3 tbp. butter
2 cup chicken broth or seafood broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 tbp. green onion for garnish

Check through your crab with your fingers to make sure there is no shell.  I use the canned chunk crab.

Grate your onion and carrot.  Sauté onion and carrot in 3 tablespoons butter on medium heat until soft.  Add flour to make a roux.  Whisk roux and let cook 1 minute so your bisque doesn't taste like flour.  Slowly add in heavy cream and stock, whisking constantly until you bring it to a simmer. Allow to it simmer for 5 minutes.  If your soup is too thick just add up to a cup of milk.  Stir in your crab and lemon juice.  Heat and serve piping hot. 

When serving, chop some green onion or parsley for garnish.  You may also set some of the crab aside and pile it on top to show it is crab bisque if you like.  Serve it with some crusty bread or put croutons on the top for your presentation. 

White Variation - Add a bit of sweet corn for extra texture and a little more sweetness and color.  The sweetness of the crab, bisque and corn marry beautifully.

Tomato Crab Bisque - Using the same recipe just add 1 tbs. Worcestershire Sauce and a little tomato sauce.  Taste test it so it has enough tomato taste to your liking. You can also add a ½ cup of sherry if you like.  I leave it out.  The tomato flavor makes the bisque a brand new dish.  Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.  As in the white variation, you can add sweet corn if you like.

Red Crab Bisque 

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sweet Corn Recipes

I thought I would share several fresh or frozen corn recipes with you since it is that wonderful time of year.  First I’m sharing my tip on how I cut the corn from the cob.  Take an angel food pan to hold your cob up right.  It is safer and so much easier.  Also, it really cuts down the mess of corn going everywhere.

Corn Bread in a Skillet

This one is super simple because you use a box mix and goose it up with fresh corn and buttermilk. 

Cooking Spray
1 large egg beaten
1 (7 oz.) package muffin mix
1 (8 1/2 oz.) can cream style corn or 1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup sour cream or ½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter melted

Heat the oven to 375°F. Spray an 8 inch cast iron skillet with no-stick cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in order listed in large bowl; stir until blended. Pour into prepared skillet.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

You may also make them into cornbread muffins if you like. 

Serve with butter and a little honey on the table so everyone can drizzle theirs with honey after the butter has melted.  Serve them warm right out of the oven if you can.

Fried Rice with Sweet Corn

1/2 cup corn kernels or 1 cob of corn
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Parsley leaves
2 scallions, chopped
2 pieces of cooked ham

Throw all the corn kernels in a small pot of water and bring it to a boil (takes about 6 to 10 minutes) and remove from the heat.

Drain and rinse and set corn aside.  You may use the corn water for the brown rice if you like for extra flavor.

Cook a pot of brown rice per instruction of the package.

Chop the scallions, parsley leaves, garlic and ham into small pieces. In a frying pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until there’s a fragrance in medium heat. Add the brown rice, corn kernels, parsley leaves and salt.

Let it cook in the frying pan on medium heat for another 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the chopped scallions and cooked ham. Stir for about 2 minutes and serve.

Variation - You may use white rice if you prefer and if you like add a little soy sauce for a more traditional flavor. 

Corn Hoecakes or Johnnycakes

Hoecakes or Johnny cakes are like a fried cornmeal flat bread.  It is a southern dish.  The inside puffs up like cornbread, while the outside gets nice and crispy from frying it in butter.   They can be drizzled them with a bit of maple syrup and serve them for any meal.

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup fresh corn
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
Butter for griddle

Mix together all ingredients except the butter for the griddle.

Place butter on the griddle over a medium heat.

Scoop hoecake batter onto griddle as you would pancakes.  Cook until lightly browned on one side and then flip.  Cook on second side until lightly browned and then remove to a serving platter.

Vintage Scalloped Corn

I remember having this for many a Sunday Dinner but without the Chex cereal.  How about you?

Crisp rice cereal adds extra crunch and flavor to the scalloped corn casserole.

2 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup milk or cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup finely diced onion
2 slices (2 cups) cubed bread
3 cups frozen corn or about 5 ears of corn (or you may use a can of creamed corn)
1 cup crisp rice cereal, slightly crushed
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine eggs with milk. Add remaining ingredients except cereal and butter. Pour into a 10 x 6 x 2 inch baking dish. Combine cereal and butter; sprinkle over top. Bake in a 350 degrees oven about 50 minutes.

Variation – Everything is better with bacon.  Add a little crisp bacon or Canadian bacon to the corn casserole.  No rice cereal (crushed Chex), you may use crushed saltine crackers or more dried bread crumbs as a substitute for the topping. 

I'm so glad sweet corn season is here.  Grab up what you can and freeze it so you can enjoy it all year.  

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Freezing Sweet Corn

Home grown Iowa Peaches and Cream sweet corn.  How sweet it is!!!!
Husked peaches and cream sweet corn yesterday.  Thought I’d share how I freeze it and a great recipe for simple sweet corn chowder.

Fill a large pot with water and let it come to a rolling boil.  Add a teaspoon of salt to the water.

Place your ears of corn in the water making sure they are all fully submerged.  Boil for 3 minutes.

Using tongs take the ears out of the water and repeat if you have more ears.

Cut the kernels off the cob.  I like to use an angel food cake pan to hold the cob and corn falls into the pan.

Put two large ladles full of corn in a zip lock freezer bag and roll all the air out of the bag and seal it.

Make sure you put the date on the bag.

Here is a great simple corn chowder recipe.

Sweet Corn Chowder 

2 tablespoons butter
1 level tablespoon flour
1 pint chicken stock
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1/2 pint milk or cream
Kosher salt and white pepper

Heat the butter and stir in the flour. 

Add the stock and milk and bring to the boil.  Cook until thickened.  Add the sweet corn and heat for 2 to 5 minutes.

Variation - If you want more flavor you can start with sautéing an ½ of a small onion first with the butter and then making the roux with the flour.  The original recipe did not call for it.  Also add a little crispy bacon to it. 

Season according to your taste.  Garnish with green onions or bacon or serve it with oyster crackers.

Hoping you have a sweet day, be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Veggie Bowls or Wraps

Lettuce, black beans, corn, tomato, avocado, taco sauce, sour cream
Saylor was here this weekend and I needed to make a gluten and dairy free lunch for him, so we looked in the refrigerator and made a meal.  Left overs often make great lettuce bowls or wraps.  My grandson loves these in place of a sandwich.  His favorite is a BLT without the bread.

Lettuce, tomato, bacon and mayo
You can also make tacos with out the shell. Here are some suggestions for filler.

Black beans
Fresh salsa or taco sauce
Sour cream (Saylor has to pass on this)

This is another great way to use up those tomatoes, corn, lettuce from your garden.

Variation - You can add meat to it if you like.  Left over grilled chicken or steak, or taco seasoned hamburger.  Add some grated cheese of your choice.

Make a salad of what ever you have in the refrigerator and put a little ranch dressing on the fixings.   Sliced red onion or green onion, grated carrot, radishes or what ever veggie your garden is producing.  

Fill leaf lettuce with a chicken or tuna salad.  Would be great with a chicken salad with walnuts and grapes. It is a great way to get rid of some carbs and calories by just skipping the bread.

Hope you have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Molasses Muffins

This is a new recipe I picked up from a Lincoln Heritage Trail Cook Book on own Land of Lincoln adventure this week and since it is Sunday am sharing it.  The book has some great old recipes in it that I’ll be making and sharing with you.  The picture is Sawyer standing in front of Lincoln’s Springfield home where he lived before he moved to Washington DC to be President.   We toured the home and it had a very tiny kitchen.

According to the cook book, Lincoln these muffins were one of his favorite foods. 

Molasses Muffins

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. soda
2 tbsp. melted butter
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup molasses
1 egg

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and soda together.  Add melted butter, buttermilk, molasses and egg.  Stir well; pour into hot greased muffin tins.  Bake at 400°
For 25 minutes.  Makes a dozen. 

Have a great Sunday, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

I’m still using up those tomatoes.  Today making a tasty heirloom tomato and cucumber salad. 

2 Seedless (the foot long English kind) cucumbers 
4 heirloom tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cored and cut into a mix of wedges and chunks
Handful fresh basil leaves or parsley torn into pieces
Kosher salt and pepper

Simple Dressing
1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper

Combine the cucumbers, tomatoes and basil.   Put vinegar, oil, lime juice, sugar, and salt and pepper (to taste) in a mason jar and shake until mixed.  Pour over the tomatoes salad. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes before serving so the flavors can marry.

Variation -  Add avocado to the salad for taste and another texture.  You can use avocado oil in place of the olive oil.

Replace the basil or parsley with dill weed. 

I also like Green Goddess store bought bottled salad dressing on this salad in place of the simple dressing..   You can also add some onion powder to the dressing for extra flavor or you can goose it up with slices of red onion or chopped green onion. 

However you make it, cucumbers and tomatoes go great together.

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.