Monday, January 31, 2011

It Is Still January: Spicy Potato Soup

Today is the last day in January.

With January being soup month, I thought I would sneak in one more soup recipe.

A short post today, but a delicious one.

There are three ingredients that I absolutely love in soup: onion, celery, and potatoes.

And I also love a rich broth, which this soup provides.

Just the little bit of hot sauce added to this soup is amazing. I will definitely be making this again, and again, and again.

This soup will be marked as one of my favorites, for sure.

I made this soup in the morning, and by the time it was done I had to be at my grandson's awards ceremony, which meant meeting with my daughter. We went to the ceremony, and from there we had to do a little shopping, of course.

It was one of these:

Daughter: "Do you want to run to Wal Mart with me real quick?"

Me: "Sure." You did notice the "real quick", right?

The whole time I'm in Wal Mart I'm thinking about my soup. Everything I looked at reminded me of my soup, so I bought a box of Cheez-It/baby swiss to eat with my soup, if I ever make it home. An hour later we are heading back to my car, which I left parked at my daughter's job.

Daughter: "Have you ever been to the Red Rambler?"

Me: "Nope."

Daughter: "Do you want to stop in? I'll buy you a coffee."

Oh my goodness, another stop!! But can I ever turn down coffee?? Heavens no. And my daughter was treating MMMEEEE....

The coffee shop that my daughter took me too; let's just say they would sweep Starbucks under the rug. Excellent coffee!! And I will for sure go back.

Spicy Potato Soup

1 lb. ground chuck
4 c. peeled cubed potatoes (1/2 inch cubes)
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce (I used 2 - 8 oz and 1 - 15 oz.)
4 cups beef broth (I used beef soup base, following directions for 4 c.)
crushed black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I used Tabasco)

In a Dutch oven, brown ground chuck with celery and onion. Do not drain. Add potatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and hot pepper sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened slightly. Serves 6 - 8

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lamp stand, that those who come in may see the light." Luke 11:33

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Over-Use Of: Ranch Dressing

Do you have ranch dressing fanatics in your house too?

The abundant amount of ranch dressing that goes through my house is unreal. I am going to invest tons of money in Hidden Valley.

I am taking a stand: I am going to find a way to make my own. Hidden Valley is breaking the bank.

I love the smell and flavor of fresh chives.

I have a pot of fresh chives on my back deck that I use from every summer. Maybe I shouldn't announce that? I will have chive stealer's sneaking around my house at night. Just make sure you don't take them all....

My most favorite way to eat chives is on a baked potato with mounds of sour cream.

How do you use ranch dressing?

In my house, it is used for: salads, dipping veggies, pasta salad, wings, dipping pizza and pizza crust, cereal (Did I just say cereal? It might as well be, it is used for everything else), bread sticks, sandwiches, roasted potatoes, dipping meats, egg salad, mashed potatoes, the list is endless....

At every meal there is always one person that yells, "Grab the ranch dressing!"

This is what I have created:

Ranch Dressing

1 1/2 c. mayonnaise (I used mayo with olive oil)
1 1/2 c. sour cream
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS lemon juice
1/2 - 3/4 c. buttermilk
A bunch of chives, chopped (I used the small fresh herb package from the grocery)
A small bunch of parsley (that is found with the fresh herbs too)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 tsp. paprika
Ground black peppercorns, lots

Combine all ingredients in a blender, adding the buttermilk first. Blend for 30 seconds, or until you think everything is blended together. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"Even a man who has many companions can be destroyed. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

Thursday, January 27, 2011

America's Favorite Meal: Spaghetti

What is America's most favorite, convenient meal?

Of course, SPAGHETTI.

My daughter asked me, "What's for dinner?"

The most common asked question out of teenagers when they return home from school.

When I told her spaghetti, this is what she said, "Finally, something that cannot be messed up."

Can you believe she doubts and dislikes my cooking that much?

She kind of hurt my feelings.....

I would like to use this post to focus on the popular side that is served with spaghetti.

GARLIC BREAD

Do you know there are some people that will refuse to eat spaghetti without garlic bread?

I know, because I live with one.

Garlic bread is so easy to make. You don't have to spend the extra $$$ to buy the pre-packaged frozen kind (the kind that is full of preservatives).

If you have access to a discounted bakery rack in your grocery store, that is the best place to find discounted French bread. Abundant amount of French bread loaves.

It doesn't matter if it's a day old, two days old, or even three days old. You will be baking it anyway.

I slice the loaf of French bread into slices of the desired thickness I want.

To make the garlic mixture, this is what I do:

4 TBS butter
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

Place everything in a bowl and melt in the microwave.

I used a spoon to transfer the butter mixture to the bread. I spread the butter mixture on both sides of the bread slices. I then placed them on a baking sheet, sprinkled them with grated Parmesan cheese, and bake them in a 350 degree F. oven for about 10 - 12 minutes.

Everyone loves home-made garlic bread.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

I have chosen this Bible verse because I am dealing with many different obstacles of fear at this time in my life. Fear is something that I have a hard time dealing with (talking to the public, completing a quiz in school, and what my future holds).

"In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Psalm 56:11

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Time Has Come: Stuffed Pork Loin Chops

Oh, do I have a good one for you today.

Have you ever had a stuffed pork chop?

Out-of-this-world DELICIOUS!!

I have made these with rice mix or stuffing mix. Either way, they are wonderful.

I used the rice mix that I picked up from Trader Joes in Arizona. This one is Garden Herbs and Vegetables, but you can use whatever rice mix you want.

I sometimes treat the family to thick-cut pork loin chops (only when they are on sale).

You can see that they are sliced really thick.

If you don't want to purchase the already sliced pork loin chops, you can just buy a pork loin and slice them yourself. I do that sometimes.

I make a slit in the side, careful not to cut through the bottom side.

I cook my rice according to package directions, and then stuff the rice mixture into the slit. I try and keep them standing up, but sometimes they want to be lazy and fall over.

I place a few pads of butter in the bottom of my dish.

Cover the dish with foil, and bake.

If you don't cover the dish while baking, the rice will turn crunchy. Me don't like crunchy rice....

A very simple meal, and very easy to make.

After my rice was cooked and the pan was emptied, I added my frozen carrots to the same pan without washing. It gave my carrots a little extra flavor.

Stuffed Pork Loin Chops

1 package flavored rice (flavor of your choice)
3 thick-cut pork loin chops (sliced on edge to make a pocket)
2 TBS butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook rice according to package directions. Place rice mixture into pork chop slits. Place pads of butter in the bottom of baking dish, and place the stuffed pork chops on top of the butter. Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 - 45 minutes.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."" Mark 16:15

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Friends: The Special Touches

I wanted to take the time to share a special day that touched my life. Last Friday Marsha Baker (The Better Baker) and I met for lunch (almost a four hour lunch) to chat about creating cookbooks, our personal lives, our future plans, and just every day stuff.

Marsha and I are fellow bloggers, and we live only 30 minutes away from each other. A half way lunch meeting is not at all out of the question.

Marsha came bearing gifts. And sorry Marsha, the German Chocolate Cake Bars didn't make the picture because Sean and I ate them.

Make sure you keep an eye on The Better Baker blog, she will be posting the recipe for the German Chocolate Cake Bars soon. That is one recipe that you will have to snag. They are out of this world delicious.

When I got home from our meeting last Friday, and I started emptying the bag of gifts, I took the time to study each item. I love receiving gifts, but the things that stood out the most for me was the special personalized things that Marsha did.

She added my name to a bookmark (personalized it).

She wrote in our meeting date on a pocket calendar.

She gave me a personalized pen and some spiritual reading.

Marsha's personalized touches, added to the gift bag, touched my heart so deeply.

What a great friend I have found. And I am blessed...

And look, my very first apron. Does it matter that there is a Christmas tree on it? Heavens no!! I will wear this every time I cook, and I will be thinking of Marsha.

Thank God for dear friends.

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Pot Of "Gold": Vegetable Bean Soup/Ree Drummond

Vegetables and beans:

Sometimes I get a craving for a big pot of vegetables. Especially during the winter.

There is nothing more comforting.

Okay, maybe there is, snuggling with the one you love; that is comforting.

Do you know who the Pioneer Woman is?

Have you taken the time to keep up with Ree Drummond?

I check on her daily. I love her stories, sarcasm, and funny demeanor.

If I need to be put in a good mood instantly, I visit Ree's blog, "The Pioneer Woman".

Yesterday when I was doing my normal "favorite" blog checks, I ran across Ree's new blog post. She has written a romance novel about her adventures with her "Marlboro Man" husband, "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels". I am so excited about this book, and Ree last night posted that she is giving away 5 of them. All I had to do was comment on her blog post about my favorite romance novel.

Ha, something easy for me to do.....finally, I may just have a chance at winning something (emphasis on may) .

When I went to leave my comment,

I had to scroll,

and scroll,

and scroll,

and I started experiencing cramping in my scroll finger,

scroll some more,

and more,

finally I reached the bottom of the comment page.

I left my comment, went back to the top of the page and realized I was comment # 18,943....

What are my chances of winning a copy of that book now???

Pretty slim.

That's okay though, as soon as the book hits the shelves I will be the first one there.

I have got to read this book!!

Now that I'm done sharing my excitement with you, I will now return to the soup.

I posted a soup similar to this one in December, but this one has no chicken or spices. Just broth, beans, and vegetables. I love a quick-fix minestrone.

This is what I did, and it is so easy.

Vegetable-Bean Soup/Minestrone

8 c. broth (3 c. chicken broth and 5 c. beef broth)
2 stalks of celery, cut in bite size pieces
1 c. chopped onion
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can white navy beans
1 can light red kidney beans
2 cans green beans
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 box of sea shell macaroni
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the broth in a dutch oven, bring to a slow boil and cook onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until fork tender. Add all the beans and peas. Continue boiling and cook the macaroni according to package directions. When the macaroni is done, your soup is ready to eat.

Very simple hearty soup, even though I longed for some chopped fresh spinach....

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength." Phil. 4:13


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Emergency!! Flop In The Kitchen: Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes

These carrot cupcakes are so yummy!!

"After the second time of making them."

HOLY COW!! What happened?

Have you ever seen the advertisement in magazines where the woman is using a jack-hammer to clean her cupcake pan?

That is exactly what I had to do when I removed the carrot cupcakes (first batch) from my oven.

Look at that mess....

I had to dig them out of the cupcake pan and throw them away.

It pains me to throw food away, but these were not even edible.

I found the recipe in this cookbook, and it makes me wonder if cookbook recipes are tested before they are published.

There is no way this recipe was tested, but I fixed this recipe (with second batch).

I am in the process of publishing my own cookbook, with the gentle nudge of a friend (The Better Baker).

I guarantee every single recipe in my cookbook will be tested and approved before publication.

And if you visit The Better Baker, she sells her cookbook there, and her recipes in her cookbook are tested and approved also. I know, because I have made many from her book (no fail).

Do you own a salad shooter?

This is the next best thing to drooling over Richard Gere. Can you tell I'm a huge fan?

I use my salad shooter a lot during the summer. Shred zucchini, slice cucumbers, and makes a coleslaw easy....

Shredded carrot and golden raisins?

What a perfect match, and they are going to be placed in a fixed flop recipe.

Even though my first batch flopped, don't be afraid to try these. They are excellent, and everyone in my family loved them.

I witnessed my daughter sneaking them to her room....

There is one thing that I longed for when the carrot cupcakes were mastered.

SWEETENED SOUR CREAM!!

I didn't have any on hand so I had to pretend.

Angie's Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes

Blend:
1 c. white sugar (this can easily be cut back to 1/2 c.)
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. oil *the second time I made these I was 1/4 c. short of oil. I replaced the missing oil with unsweetened apple sauce*

Add:
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat in 1 at a time:
4 eggs

Mix together and beat in:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. dry milk powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Stir in:
3 c. finely shredded carrots
1/2 c. golden raisins

Bake in paper lined cupcake pan at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 35 minutes; check with wooden pick. Fill paper liners half way or just a little more. Make sure there is enough room for them to rise without running over the top of pan.
You should end up with 24 cupcakes.

WHEWWW!!

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"No one can serve two masters at the same time. He will hate one of them and love the other. Or he will be faithful to one and dislike the other. You can't serve God and Money at the same time." Matt. 6:24



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Childhood Delish: Chipped Beef Gravy

One thing that I love about public blogging is, I get to share my childhood meals and memories with you.

Back in the day (do I sound ancient?) we produced our own food (huge garden), preserved it, and my parents (one income family) really had to watch the grocery cost closely. Which meant inexpensive meals.

I think we are slowly returning to those ancient times. What do you think?

One thing that families focused on (back in the day) was, meals around the dinner table, and I still enforce that to this day.

I have been to many homes where the dining room table is used to store things, not used for eating.

Not at my house!! Mine is used for congregation, communication, and eating....


This meal was always kind of funny when I was a kid.

I know you know the other name for it.

My dad would come in from working, ask my mom what was for dinner, my mom would say chipped beef gravy over toast, and then my dad would say, "Oh, you mean shit on a shingle?"

My two brothers and I would clasp our hands over our mouths, our eyes would get really big, and then we would snicker behind our hands. But we would never repeat what my dad said....

I never called it shit on a shingle until I became an adult (pretty much knew I could use that type of language without tasting a bar of soap).

Here is something to think about, and run a test if you want. Have you ever stood near a group of (todays) teenagers or grade schoolers (without them knowing you're there)? Yup, their language is very colorful. Go ahead and try it if you don't believe me. I don't remember swearing when I was with my friends. Swearing was something (back then) that was not a necessity. Today it is something that seems to be needed.

I start by chopping the Budding beef.

I melt a half stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat, add my salt and pepper (heavy on the pepper) to the butter, and then add about 3/4 c. flour. I stir in the flour until it looks like crumbs.

Then I slowly add the milk while continuously whisking. Whenever I make this I grab the gallon of milk and just pour. I hope I have this in recipe form for you (OOPS!! I didn't measure).

When I reach the gravy consistency that I want, I then add the chopped beef.

Chipped Beef Gravy Over Toast

1/2 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c. flour
5 to 7 c. milk
2 pkg. Budding beef

Melt butter in a skillet over medium/high heat, add salt and pepper (I go heavy on the pepper) to taste. Stir in flour until it looks like crumbs. Slowly add milk while continuously whisking. Whisk until you get the gravy consistency of your choice. When everything is whisked and there are no lumps left, add the chopped beef and stir. Toast bread slices and pour gravy over the toast.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves. Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord." Romans 12:9-11


Monday, January 17, 2011

Glass Half Full or Half Empty? Hot Chocolate With Marshmallow Creme

This is a picture of an empty office building.

Why am I showing you a picture of an empty office building?

Because I want to voice my opinion on how screwed up our economy is....

No, that's not the reason.

I wanted you to see what I saw Friday every time I looked out the window.

The snow fell most of the morning so soft and slow, it looked like the inside of a snow globe.


Which put me in the mood for hot chocolate.

I dug to the back of my coffee-cup cupboard and found these cute little mugs.

And the mood struck me more when I noticed the day was being spent like this,

And this....

I don't think our pets moved from that bed all day.

I have been holding onto this chocolate bar for quite some time now.

I am going to use it today.

And there is nothing better than dark chocolate mixed into hot cocoa.

After studying Economics most of the day, I headed to the kitchen to reward myself with hot chocolate, since I was all coffeed out.

And a big scoop of marshmallow creme (fluff).

As I am making this hot chocolate, I am thinking that I will be able to share with my daughter. I started pouring it into the cups, and I quickly realized we are only going to get a half cup each. I am still working on proper measurements (what can I say?). At least we each got a taste.

This is what I did:

Hot Chocolate With Marshmallow Creme

8 oz. 2% milk
2 oz. heavy whipping cream
2 TBS light brown sugar

Heat on medium heat until the mixture bubbles around the edge.

Remove from heat and add 2 oz. finely chopped chocolate of your choice.

Whisk gently until the chocolate is melted and well combined. You can adjust your chocolate amount to your liking. If you need to add more than 2 oz. add more.

Top hot chocolate with marshmallow creme and chocolate shavings.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

Live your life in a way that invites others to "taste and see."
~Marcia Swearingen~


Friday, January 14, 2011

Plans Were Perfect: Banana Bread French Toast

Do you remember the banana bread recipe I posted earlier in the week?

I told you that I had plans for that banana bread?

Well, here is the result of my plans.

Have you ever had banana bread French toast?

You will absolutely love it....

I sliced what was left of my banana bread (8 slices). I don't use the ends for this recipe, so you can butter them and eat them if you want.

I made a French toast soak.

6 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Whisk together with a fork.

Add 1 c. to 2 c. milk

and whisk again until everything is mixed together.

I whisk the cinnamon and vanilla with the eggs, because if I try and add the cinnamon after the milk it wants to float on top.

I dipped each piece of banana bread in the soak mixture flipping them over a couple times.

Then I placed them on a hot (400 degrees) griddle and browned them till they were done.

Doesn't that look amazing?

I served turkey breakfast sausage links with the Banana Bread French Toast.

You now have an idea for Sunday morning breakfast.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

God is a perfectionist who creates and expects the very best.
~Charlene Friesen~

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