Coconut & Chocolate Pies

Coconut & Chocolate Pies
Made w/Double Filling & Mile High Meringue

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011

Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning !!

Well, I'm back but barely !  As I've told Yall, we moved to the country, but Lord have mercy !  I didn't know we were moving far enough out that they only offer Dial Up Internet here !  It has been years since I used Dial Up and that was when I first got on the internet with AOL.  But, I'm quickly reminded how slow this dadgum thing is, especially when it comes to loading pictures etc.  Oh well, instead of complaining I should be counting my blessings. 

We did make the move and so happy to be in our new house (well, not new, but new to us).  My husband and I both hate to move and of course I had more stuff than the law should have allowed.  We had been in our old house for 11 yrs and thought many times about moving but everytime we thought about what a pain it is to make the actual move, we talked ourselves out of it.  But, we finally bit the bullet and made the move and we are so glad that we did.  Of course it took us several days just to reach the point we could move, get up and down out of our chair etc., without moaning and groaning...LOL  As usual when anyone moves, we still have to think about where we put things and try to remember where it all is.  I'm still shuffling things around because I'm finding that some things I put up just weren't convient for me or I just didn't like it there.  So here I go again, moving stuff around.  We absolutely love the house and it is so much larger than the one we just moved out of.   Because this is an old house, it has gobs of cabinets, drawers etc.  They built this house back in the day when houses were built sturdy with lots of storage.  My husband and I are both short and the kitchen cabinets are so tall and deep, we have to keep our little utility stool close at hand.  Talk about storage !  I have found drawers and cabinets that are still empty, simply because I didn't have anything to put in them after I got everything unpacked.  Believe that? Not me !! LOL  I don't think I've ever lived in a house that there was this much storage room, and I'm loving it !  When I say this house is so much larger that is the truth, but there is one draw back that I don't understand when they built the house.  That is the kitchen isn't that big and isn't very wide, it is longer than wide.  But, I'm making adjustments and we are either going to buy a portable kitchen cart that has a butcher block on top with cabinets underneath or Fred will make one.  We found one we liked, now we just have to decide whether to buy it or make it.  My preference is for Fred to make it, but we will see how that goes. 

We finally got everything unpacked and found a home for it all, but I was beginning to wonder if that would ever happen right after the move.  But it is getting there.  One thing that I'm having to re-train myself to do is learn to cook on an electric stove again.  It has been years since I've cooked on an electric stove and it sure takes some getting used to, I'll tell ya ! lLOL  When you cook with gas and you turn off your fire it is off, but when you turn off an electric stove it stays hot and doesn't cool down like a gas stove, so that has taken some getting used to for sure.  The first few meals I cooked after moving in here became quite a challenge just trying to get a feel for the stove, but I think I finally have it down pat now. 

Since we seem to have everything inside of the house in order, we have started on the yard and the garden.  We brought a lot of our plants that were perrineals with us like our Hostas so we got those in the ground along with a few others that come back every year.  The yard is full of beautiful flowers, bushes etc. so we are still trying to see what grows here every year and we will be adding our own plants as well.  Fred has already tilled up the garden and planted 5 rows of potatoes, some onions and cabbage.  This next couple of weeks, we will start planting other good veggies...Yeahhhhh !  We love our garden and so enjoy the fresh veggies that come out of it.  I had never canned vegetables until Fred and I got married and started growing a garden.  So, that has been a learning experience for me and so far it is working out pretty darn good if I say so myself...LOL.  What we don't eat fresh, we can or freeze and that is so neat to have those fresh veggies all year round.  Of course we share with our kids, family and friends and they seem to love the veggies too.  Fred has also started a Herb garden and they are so good to cook with.  Having fresh veggies and herbs to cook with makes all the difference in the world in the taste of food. 

OK......speaking of food.....(go figure...LOL), last week the grocery store had a sale on Pork Ribeye Roasts and man were they good !  We cooked these on the grill and they were so moist and tender.  Anytime we cook something like a roast, brisket etc. on the grill I always marinate the meat first and it sure makes a difference in not only the taste of it, but then tenderness as well.  My marinade mixture is pretty simple and straight forward and can change from one time to the next (again, as I've told Yall before, a lot of my cooking has NO recipe...LOL)  But this is how I usually do the basic type of marinade.  I start off with the base of it being an Italian Dressing, about 2 cups.  Then I begin adding the seasonings.  But like I've said also, judge the type of amount of seasonings you use according to your own taste.  I then add, Garlic Powder, Seasoning Salt, Worcestershire Sauce, about 2 tablespoons of Mustard, Oregano, Cumin Powder and 1 cup of Brown Sugar.  Mix all of these ingredients well and pour it over your meat, making sure you cover all sides.  Place the meat in a plastic container that will hold all the meat and the marinade and about every hour flip the container over to again cover all of the meat.  I like to marinade my meat for at least 3-4 hours before we cook it on the grill.  Marinading it over night is really the best way to do it if you have time.  Then place the meat on the grill to cook according to your taste and the doneness you prefer.  One little piece of advice though I would like to share is that be VERY careful as to not overcook the meat !!  The longer you cook it, the drier it will become and it also looses a lot of flavor when you overcook it.  Now, I know a lot of people don't care for rare or even medium rare meat, so I'm not saying it has to be rare just not overcooked !  In fact, my thinking is, remove the meat from the heat before you think it is actually done.  That is because after you remove it from the heat and cover it will foil, it will continue to cook somewhat.  So, if you continue to cook the meat until it is very well done, then remove it from the heat it will really dry out and loose a lot of the flavor.  Also, if you want to add any sort of sauce such as BBQ sauce, don't put it on the meat while cooking it.  Wait until right before you pull it off of the grill then baste the meat for only about 10-15 minutes at the very most !  The sauce will burn on the meat if you add it too soon.  Not only are the Pork Roasts good cooked this way, but any briskets, ribs or country style ribs are delicious !  Try this method and let me know how it works for you....Yum-O !!

With the warmer weather coming upon us and we start to grill outside, there is a Salad that I make that goes great with BBQ or anything as far as that goes, but during the Spring and Summer months you have a lot of choices of veggies to use in this salad.  It is also a dish that gets better the longer that it sits.  It certainly is a side dish that is something different than the typical potatoe and pasta salads. 
First of all, when I go to the grocery store to shop for this recipe, I check out all of the fresh summer veggies that are readily available at this time of the year.  So, once again this recipe changes up from time to time according to what veggies are available.  You can use any and all of these vegetables to make this salad.  I usually have them all in there ! LOL  Here are just a few of the veggies to use in this salad, but the combinations of veggies are endless !  Tomatoes (I prefer the Roma for this salad, but you can use any tomatoes), Cucumbers, Green Onions, Purple Onions, Fresh Yellow and Zuchinni Squash, Fresh Broccoli and Cauliflower, Bell Peppers (any color, although the "Stop Light" peppers make a prettier salad, but are very expensive too), Carrots, Radishes, etc. etc. !!  As you can see, there are so many different veggies you can use, that each time you make it, you may have different veggies than the time before, just depending on what is in season.  I cut all of these veggies into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with Seasoning Salt, Garlic Powder, Lemon-Pepper.  Cover all of the veggies with a very generous amount of Italian Dressing.  I normally use a whole bottle of the dressing when I have a lot of veggies.  Now, I'll say the same thing that I've always told people that has asked me for recipes, directions etc.  Taste, taste, taste the food !!  If you make something and don't taste it yourself, you will have no idea if it is seasoned well enough or not.  So taste your food !!  Again, let me know if you try this salad and how you like it and don't forget....the longer it sits the better it tastes.

Well Folks, guess I had better get busy around here.  I hope you have a great day and I'll be talking to you soon ! 

Love ya !


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011

Hey Yall !!

Long time no see....HUH?? LOL  It has been awhile since I've blogged so I'm going to do my best and give this another shot.  I had stopped blogging mainly because even though I blogged daily, I wasn't having any "followers" as they call them (people who read the blog).  When you set up a blog here it has graphs showing how many followers you have and how often your blog is being read.  When the count fell and I wasn't having but an occasional follower or no one at all, it led me to believe that no one was interested in the blog any longer so I began to think that maybe the blog had become boring and maybe I wasn't making it useful to everyone.  Not only was it fun for me to do but I was hoping that in the blogs people would find recipes, tips and information that they enjoyed reading and they could use in their own kitchen.  So, I'm going to do my very best to make this blog fun and more useful for everyone !  I truly love the fact that I can share some of my recipes with Yall and along the way we can all have fun and share a smile.  I have asked everyone in the past if they would like to share their recipes too, I would love to have them posted on this blog.  So if you have a recipe that you would like to share, please do !  I'm sure I've told Yall this before, so please forgive me for repeating myself here but I do want you all to know one thing about the type of cook I am.  I've always loved to cook but even more than that, I love to see others enjoy what I'm cooking, that is the best part of cooking as far as I'm concerned.  Why cook if no one enjoys eating it ?  So, when I prepare a dish for others and I see that it puts a smile on their face or even brings someone to say......"Ohhhhhhh this is sooooooo good", it is all worthwhile.  Also, I have never been the sort of cook that keeps her recipes a secret.  I really love to share my recipes and if someone eats and enjoys something I've made and then asks for the recipe then that is certainly a compliment to me !  So, if you are looking for a recipe that you think that I might have, please feel free to ask me for it.  I will be more  than happy to share it with you.  I've been so fortunate over the years to have friends and family that would share their recipes with me.  Had it not been for others in my life, I would not have a lot of the recipes I do have.  I've also collected recipes over the years from various cookbooks, magazines, the internet and word of mouth.  It's so much fun to see so many variations in recipes that are supposedly for the same dish !  In fact, I've seen recipes that have the very same ingredients but when different ones make this dish, they can taste completely different !  I think that is because we all tend to add our own little touch to a recipe.  Some of us may like a little more or a little less of a particular spice or ingredient, so we adjust our recipes accordingly.  So the end result turns out to possibly being completely different than someone else's, even when the recipe itself all have the same ingredients.  I am certainly one of those people that thinks, make it like YOU like it !  Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, so make what you enjoy .  I really don't think it is written in stone somewhere that you HAVE to make recipes a certain way or you will be prosecuted !! LOL  So enjoy cooking and certainly enjoy eating it ! 

OK.....before I start really talking about food here I need to tell Yall something.  First of all, as I've said I'm going to do my best to get this blog going again, but........we are moving this weekend and I may not be blogging daily for awhile.  As you all know moving is a job to say the least especially when you are like myself and have trouble getting rid of "stuff" !  I tend to hang on to things thinking I might need it one day or maybe someone else will.  Of course there are things too that we might only use one time a year, such as the holidays , but when we need it......we need it !  And yeah......yeah......I know if my kids are reading this they will tell you that I use that for an excuse for not getting rid of things..LOL.  We are really excited about moving but we are NOT excited about the actual moving part. is WORK !  We are though so looking forward to finally getting to move to the country...Yeahhh !!  We already live in what some call a small town, but we have been living "in town" which means the houses are right next to each other and we have to deal with the town traffic.  Now my daughter in law, Tammy thinks that statement is a hoot because they live close to Houston and our town traffic is nothing compared to what they deal with.  But for us that live in a small town, it is an issue for us since we like the laid back type of life.  So, we are moving to the country and enjoy the country life and love it !  We will have a larger area for our garden and of course that itself can become an issue too if it gets too big.  But at least we have the option to enlarging it if we want to, and if I leave it up to my husband it will be larger !  But hey.......that's OK too, we love the fresh veggies and also love canning and freezing them too.  Gosh...they sure taste good during the winter months when you can't seem to get fresh veggies.  Believe it or not, we are also going to get a few chickens for some fresh eggs and my hubby also wants to start raising a few rabbits again, like he did growing up with his Dad.  Now.......Yall don't think that I'm a "real" country girl as far as knowing how to raise these critters, because I don't know how ! LOL  But, I'm willing to learn and help him so we will see how that little project goes....LOL  I am looking forward though to those fresh eggs for my cooking......Yum-O !  Anyway, until we get the move over with and they finally get my internet going I may not be blogging everyday but just remember if you don't hear from me for awhile, just know I"ll be back !! 

Well Folks, I don't about Yall but we LOVE Pork Roast !  In fact, I think that a pork roast has much more flavor than a beef roast.  When I make my roasts, beef or pork, I always make sure that I cook them long enough that they are fork tender.  I hate tough meat !!  I had just as soon have a piece of fried bologna than a tough piece of meat.  I'm sure you all have your own special way of cooking your roasts but I will share with you what I do and I haven't had any complaints on it yet..LOL.  Below I will also share not only the recipe with you but a picture of the last roast I made with veggies.......sooooo good !

I use this recipe for both pork and beef roasts.

Rub the roast on all sides well with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Roll the roast in seasoned flour, seasoned with again.......salt, pepper and garlic powder, making sure you coat the roast well on all sides with the seasoned flour.  Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet.  Add the roast to the hot oil and brown on all sides well.  Remove the browned roast and put it into a large roaster pan.  Slice two whole onions and place them on top and around the roast.  Slice one whole bell pepper into slices and and place them on top of the roast with the onions.  Add enough water to the roaster pan to cover about half of the roast in the water.  Bake the roast on    350 degrees for about one hour.  Check the roast to make sure that you still have enough liquid covering half of the roast. Return the roast to the oven and bake until fork tender.  At this time, add peeled small baby carrots and bake another 30 minutes. Remember.....the carrots should be added about 30 minutes before your potatoes, because they take longer to get tender.  Peel and quarter about 6-8 potatoes and add to liquid along with the carrots. Continue cooking until the carrots and potatoes are tender.  Then to thicken your gravy around your roast, dissolve 3-4 tablespoons of cornstarch in a small amount of water to blend well.  Slowly stir cornstarch liquid into the hot roast liquid until thickened.  

I really like to cook my veggies in and around the roast in the roast gravy, it gives the veggies so much flavor.  Instead of the cornstarch mixture for thickening you can also substitute it with the Pioneer Brown Gravy Mix.  This also makes a really nice brown gravy for the roast.  OK......Yall !  That is how I do it !  Very simple and so good.  There is nothing like a homemade pot roast.  If you try this recipe, please let me know how it works for you and how you like it.  

I also want to share a picture with you of some Valentine Cupcakes I made.  I always love decorating Cupcakes so this was so much fun.  As most of you know, Cupcakes have become very popular and they are now not only making all sorts of decorations for them, but they are also selling the really cute Cupcake Boxes to put them in.  I found these really cute Valentine Cupcake Boxes at Michales Craft Store and at the Dollar Tree.  They really make such a nice presentation for the Cupcakes and everyone feels so special because they have their very own packaged and decorated Cupcake !  A really nice little gift.  

OK.......with that I'll close this for now.  But I am soooooooo glad to be back and hope that you have enjoyed today's blog and the "Recipes of the Day".  Be sure to check back to check out the blog and see what new recipes I've posted.  Again, if you have any recipes or tips etc. you would like to share with us, please do so, I look forward to that !  Have a great day, my friends and cook something good !

Love ya,


Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

Good Afternoon !

How is everyone?  It is cold, wet and dreary here today in East Texas.  Makes you want to just crawl under the cover somewhere.  Although, I haven't done that today, but maybe I should have.  Well, my stats on my blog are really down and it doesn't look like many are even viewing the page.  I don't know what is going on.  I don't know if people have lost interest or just forgotten about the blog.  I suppose I will keep on blogging as long as people want to view it and check out the recipes.  I started this blog at the enouragement of so many people that said they were really wanting to read it, so I don't have a clue as to why the stats have fallen off.  Oh well....I"ll just keep plugging along !

As I said, it has been cold and dreary today, so I did what I usually do on days like this, I cook !  But then there again, it doesn't really take a day like this to make me cook.  I am still trying to get some things made to put in the freezer for Thanksgiving.  All the kids will be here and it is almost impossible to get a lot of things made once everyone starts getting here.  So, the things that can be frozen, I try to make those in advance.  Although, I'm beginning to run out of room in my little freezer.  I told Fred, we should have bought a bigger freezer, but at the time we bought it I didn't realize just how much I would use it.  But that thing is as handy as a shirt pocket as my Daddy always used to say.

Today I made some Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies and some Goo Bars.  They are both very good, but so rich !  It doesn't take much of those to go a long way.  Here is a picture of both....

Tomorrow I will try and get my Truffles made.  These are so good and so easy to make, but they are very time consuming.  But they are so worth it.  Along with the normal Chocolate Truffles, I will be making some White Chocolate Truffles too.  My little grandaughter, Layne loves White Chocolate ! So, I try to have things made with White Chocolate for her or anyone else that enjoys it.  The thing about these truffles that is so great, is you can make so many variations of them.  You can also decorate them with everything from Powdered Sugar to every kind of Sprinkle, Nuts etc. you can think of.  I've had my grandson help me decorate them in the past and you would not believe some of the creations he came up with !  The kids love to do this, so I try to encourage them to cook when they can.  I know sometimes it is hard having them in the kitchen, but not only do they like to come up with their own ideas, but they learn a lot that way too.  Believe it or not, when I was growing up, I wasn't really allowed in the kitchen much.  Only to wash dishes or maybe peel potatoes.  So, I learned how to cook once I got married and started having babies.  And a lot of that was out of necessity with four kids !  So, if the kids can learn early how to at least learn the cooking basics, I think that is great ! 

Days like today are great for making soups and stews.  I love a good bowl of homemade vegetable soup.  My biggest problem when I make soup is, it tends to grow on me...LOL.  By the time I add all the veggies etc., I end up with enough to feed an army.  I would love to hear from Yall about what kind of soups you make on a cold night.  There are so many variations of soups out there, the recipes are endless.  One soup that I love but just don't make very often is a good Corn Chowder Soup.  Do any of you have a recipe for this that you would like to share?  I would love to have one of your good recipes.  Another good soup that can be so easy to prepare is a Cheddar Broccoli Soup.  Years ago while working in restaurants I always had a soup of the day and I was constantly trying to come up with a soup that was quick and easy because I just didn't have a lot of time because I was also preparing the big buffet along with a salad bar, rolls, cornbread and desserts.  I found a recipe for the Cheddar Broccoli Soup that is quick and tasted so good.  You just add your frozen broccoli along with chopped onion and garlic powder to a big soup pot.  Boil it all down until the broccoli and onions become tender.  Then use a good white gravy mix that has been mixed with a little water.  Add that gravy mix to the soup mixture and cook until thickened.  Add more of the gravy mix if you want it thicker.  Then I add cheddar cheese to the hot soup mixture.  Stir until melted and that is it !  It is so easy and very tasty.  When you are cooking for a large crowd anything that helps you when you are on a schedule, is very welcomed ! 

I thought today I would give Yall a few more tips when it comes to cooking.  I have learned so many tips and ideas over the years either from other people or by trial and error.  So, I'm always looking for new tips.  Hopefully you will find a few things here that might come in handy for you. 

To keep cauliflower white while cooking -
    add a little milk to the water.
Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and double the juice you get
      before squeezing.
Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip
      right off. 
 The best way to store fresh celery is to wrap it in aluminum
   foil and put it in the refrigerator--it will keep for weeks.

No "curly" bacon for breakfast when you dip it into cold water
   before frying.

Butter pie pastry scraps: sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and
   bake like cookies.

 If your cake recipe calls for nuts, heat them first in the oven,
   then dust with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from
   settling to the bottom of the pan.

 Noodles, spaghetti and other starches won't boil over if you rub    the inside of the pot with vegetable oil.

  Cheese won't harden if you butter the exposed edges before storing

When separating eggs, break them into a funnel. The whites will
   go through leaving the yolk intact in the funnel.

You can correct greasy gravy by adding a little baking soda to it.

 Before opening a package of bacon, roll it. This helps separate
   the slices for easy removal of individual slices.

Well, I will leave you with these few tips, but from time to time I will add others.  I hope you have found something here that was helpful.

Time for me to get supper started around here, so I will close until the next time.  Have a great evening and "Happy Eating" !

Muahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ♥

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 12, 2010

Good Morning !

How are all of yall this beautiful Friday morning?  The weather is gorgeous here, but I have to say, it sure seems weird that here it is almost Thanksgiving and our days have been in the high 70's to low 80's.  What is up with that?  There is one thing for sure here in East Texas, you never know what the weather will be no matter what time of the year it is.  But, I do hope it cools off a little for Thanksgiving.  All the kids will be here and when it is that warm outside and you are inside cooking with the stove and oven going non stop and the house is full of people, it can get pretty hot in this house !  But, like I've said before, I wouldn't have it any other way !  I'm so looking forward to all of them being here.  While they are here, we are going to take a trip over to Marshall or Jefferson to see the Trail of Holiday Lights, take the kids to see Santa and the kids are going to give the Ice Skating Rink a whirl !  But there is one thing for sure! You won't see me on that ice ! LOL.  I have better sense than that !

As I've told Yall many times, I always seem to have leftovers and I freeze a lot of those if there is too many to finish off within a few days.  Well yesterday, while searching through the freezer for something for supper, I found a gallong zip loc bag full of the  Cuban Beans I had made awhile back.  So, I pulled those out for supper.  We just love pinto beans made that way.  This is a recipe that I got from my sweet Aunt Shirley years ago.  I really have no idea why she called them Cuban Beans, but whatever they are called, they are good.  You just cook your pinto beans until they are almost tender.  In a skillet, you sautee onion, bell pepper and celery.   Add those veggies to your beans.  Brown about 2 lbs. of hamburger meat and add to your veggies. Add this to your beans.  Then you start adding brown sugar, molasses and the seasonings which are garlic powder, seasoning salt, cumin powder and pepper.  Then you add about 2-3 cans of diced tomatoes. You cook all of this down until the mixture begins to thicken.  It has a wonderful flavor !  Now, not only did the beans I took out of the freezer have hamburger meat in it, I had some smoked brisket in  the freezer, so I pulled that out and added it to the beans.  It was great !  Next time you have pinto beans, try making them this way, I really think you will love it!

OK...I have something to share with Yall.  I have talked about the Cookbooks that I have made in the past for gifts.  When I started telling everyone about making the books, I had a lot of people want to order them.  I also had people say that I should publish a cookbook too.  To begin with, I had no idea how to publish a cookbook and really didn't think my everyday type recipes were something that people would like to find in a cookbook, or if I even had enough recipes to go in a book.  Then of course, there is the cost of publishing a cookbook.  After much research and talking to different cookbook publishing companies, I have found out in the long run, it would be cheaper and more effective to actual publish the books.  I have already received about 30 orders for my books.  If I considered the cost of supplies to make the books and everything else that would be involved in making them as well as my time, it just made more sense to publish the books and they would not only be more "professional" looking, but would last much longer too.  Handmade books are great and so personable because they are made especially for that person ! But let's face it !  Handling these books over the years, the handmade books just would not hold up as long.  So, having said all of this, I have decided to publish my books.  I am in the process now of typing all the recipes up so I can send them to the publishing company and this takes some time.  Also, when I get the recipes to the company, then it takes them awhile, about 3 months to get the books ready to ship.  As soon as I know when these books will be available, I will let you all know.  I really think you will like the cookbook.  Like I keep saying, I am not a chef....just a cook !  So, you won't find gormet type recipes in there, just plain cooking.  I can't wait to get my books and hope that all of Yall will like them.

In my blog this month, I am going to try and post some holiday type recipes for Yall.  Of course, you can prepare these any day of the year but at the holidays we try to fix something different or certainly favorites of our families.  I am still waiting on recipes from Yall.  It would be so much fun to see all of the recipes that come in.  So, let's get going and share our recipes !

This weekend, I hope to get some more of my holiday goodies done and in the freezer.  Hopefully, I'll have time to get these done since my husband has to work this weekend, I should have plenty of time.  But my poor little freezer will probably be grunting because of all the stuff I put in it ! LOL.  I'm not sure yet what I will fix for supper tonight, but I have to get the ball rolling here so I know what to take out of the freezer.  I'm posting a picture of the Cuban Beans and Rice with Cornbread, that we had last night.  You can kind of get an idea of what this recipe looks like.  It is very simple and delicious !  

I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy this gorgeous weather !  "Happy Eating" !!

Muahhhhhhhhhh ♥

Cuban Beans  & Rice with Cornbread

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baked Potato Soup with Buttermilk Biscuits

November 9, 2010

Hey Everyone !

It is almost 2:30 p.m. and I've been at it today since my feet hit the floor at
6:30 a.m.  This time change seems to really mess me up.  When I wake up in the mornings, I feel like I've over slept.  I know I don't have a job anymore that I have to be there by a certain time, but if I sleep late or what I think is late, I feel like I'm running behind time the rest of the day.  I have never been the type of person that wakes up, gets dressed and run out the door.  I always had to have time to get myself awake, have my coffee, read the news on the internet or watch it on TV, then I start getting dressed for work. I've never been able to pop out of bed and run out the door, if I do that again, I feel like I'm running behind time!  So, with this time change and it is already starting to get daylight outside, I feel like I've over slept.  It always seems to me, about the time my body gets used to the time change, it is time to change it back again.  I really wish they would leave the time alone! I don't really care which one they choose, just choose one and leave it alone ! Oh well, what I say or think doesn't matter to the ones doing the time changing, so I might as well just hush about it...LOL.

I started my day off by making Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies.  I am still trying to get some of my baking done for Thanksgiving and get them in the freezer.  So everyday I'm trying to get something made.  It sure helps doing this ahead of time.  I've always tried to do it this way but as I've said before, I tend to forget what all I have in the freezer.  Most of the goodies I make can be frozen except for things like my Meringue Cream Pies.  If you ever wonder what things can be frozen and what can't, you can go online and look those things up and it will tell you if you can freeze them or not.  Gosh...the internet sure is helpful.  What in the world did we do before the internet came along? 

Tonight is Soup night for us.  We love a good bowl of homemade soup.  I am making a Baked Potato Soup with Biscuits for supper.  I'm not actually using Baked Potatoes for my soup.  I just peel and boil my regular potatoes for the soup when I don't have left over baked potatoes.  Those work out just as well.  We really like all the goodies that go along with baked potatoes, so I always add plenty of those to my soup.  It tastes so much like a good stuffed baked potato.  When I was working in the restaurants, I made Baked Potato Soup a lot and the customers loved it.  One trick I used to use to thicken my Baked Potato Soup, Broccoli and Cheese Soup or Corn Chowder Soup, is to use the Cream Gravy Mixes.  After you have cooked your veggies for your cream soups, just mix the gravy mix with a little water and stir it into the hot soup.  It not only thickens your soup, but makes it really creamy.  I also use the Brown Gravy mix to thicken my Stew also.  After I have cooked my stew meat until tender along with the potatoes, carrots, onions and celery, again I mix the brown gravy mix with a little water and add it to the stew.  Those gravy mixes come in really handy for that sort of thing.  I don't know if it is a "Southern" thing or not, but to me "Beef Stew" is stew meat (roast), potatoes, carrots, onions and celery in a brown base.  If you have a tomato type base and add all of the different veggies, then that is "Soup", not stew !  A lot of people, including my husband call a tomato based soup.."Stew".  Stew has a brown base, soup has a tomato base.  At least that is what we always called it. 

I keep a plastic container in my freezer and when I have any left over veggies and there is not enough of them for another meal, maybe a cup or so, I put them in the plastic container.  I just keep adding veggies or left over roast, pork chops etc., in the container.  Then when I get ready to make Homemade Vegetable Soup, nearly all of my veggies are right there in one container.  All I have to do then is make my base, which is made of canned or fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste , then add fresh carrots and potatoes and onions and any other veggies I want to put in it.  When I was a young girl, I remember my grandmother even adding left over mashed potatoes to her soup.  She said the mashed potatoes helped to thicken the soup.  And it really does !  So, the next time you made homemade vegetable soup, try adding some mashed potatoes to it.  You will love it ! 

Speaking of leftover mashed potatoes, have Yall ever made what I always called "Potato Cakes"? They are delicious and a great way to use those leftover mashed potatoes.  As I've told Yall before, I raised four children and I tried to use my leftovers in any way I could to stretch a meal.  Just take your leftover mashed potatoes, add one beaten egg, a little garlic powder, salt and pepper, chopped onion and about 1 cup of flour.  Stir all of this together well.  Heat oil in your frying pan and drop a large spoon full of the potato mixture in the hot oil.  If your potato cake comes apart, add a little more flour to the mixture to get the consistency you need.  When you fry the cake and it stays together in the hot oil, then you will know you have added the right amount of flour.  Fry the cakes until they are golden brown on both sides.  These are really good and a really good way to use those leftover mashed potatoes.  My kids always liked to eat those with ketchup, like they would their french fries.  Of course, I think my kids would have eaten ketchup on anything !  Next time you have those leftover mashed potatoes, try this and I think you will be surprised at how good they are. 

Before I close this today, I wanted to remind you all again about sharing your holiday recipes.  So far I haven't received any recipes from anyone and I'm really anxious to see what all you have.  It won't be long before Thanksgiving will be here, then we will have Christmas.  So let's get those recipes started! 

Well, guess I had better get back to my Baked Potato Soup and get my biscuits made.  I hope you all have a great day and "Happy Eating" !

Muahhhhhhhh ♥

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010

Good Morning !

I hope that all of you are having as beautiful weather like we are here in East Texas.  It is gorgeous outside !  Cool in the mornings then warms up in the afternoon.  I'm loving this weather.  I know it won't last forever then it will start turning really cold, so I'm enjoying it while I can.  Fred has been taking advantage of the beautiful weather too. He is working on our Fall Veggie Garden. I can't wait until we start getting some of the yummy Cabbage and Broccoli. We love Cabbage, just about any way you can fix it.  Cabbage Rolls are some of our favorite ways to cook it.  There are so many variations of Cabbage Rolls, I think that everyone can find their favorite recipe for them. 

Before I really get started with this blog today, I wanted to let you all know I have a concern about my blog.  This particular blog has a feature called "Stats", that allows you to see basically how many people visit your blog, it also has the "Comment" feature as well.  I'm not receiving as many "hits" or comments as I did in the beginning.  I do hope the blog is as interesting to all of you as my regular visitors, but to new visitors as well.  So, if there are particular types of recipes or topics you would like to see here, please let me know.  I would love to continue this blog because I do love chatting about cooking and recipes but I also want to make sure what I post is of interest to you also.  I look forward to your comments and would love to share any recipes you would like to post here.  So, as long as everyone is still interested in this blog, I will continue to blog my little heart out !  OK...enough of that...thanks for listening.

We will be having Thanksgiving Dinner here at our house this year.  I absolutely love having all the kids and grandbabies here for the holidays.  My house is very small and it does get crowded and crazy here during that time, but as I've said, I wouldn't have it any other way.  We will be having the traditional Thanksgiving meal, Turkey, Dressing, Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Baked Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Fruit Salads, Deviled Eggs, Relish Trays etc., etc.!!  I always tell the kids to let me know if there is a particular dish they would like to have or if there is a dish they would like to make themselves.  We always end up with way more food than we need or can eat !  But that's OK...what we don't have for leftovers later in the day, I start sending it home with the kids are share with friends and neighbors.  Then of course, we have the Dessert Table !!  Oh my.....I usually have a table that is set up just for Desserts and it is always full.  I start making desserts and goodies that can be frozen ahead of time.  I have already made a Fudge Pie, Snickerdoodle Blondies, Peanut Butter Fudge Pie, Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies, Blonde Brownies and Cream Cheese Truffles . These are things that can be frozen, then all I have to do is pull them out of the freezer when Thanksgiving gets here.  My only problem doing this is, I tend to get carried away and forget what all I have in the freezer...LOL.  But I guarantee you, they will be eaten ! 

Yesterday for our Lunch/Supper, I made Chicken Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Buttered Corn.  Fred and I both really like dark meat, so I use boneless Chicken Thigh meat.  I've also used the boneless Chicken Breast too.  It is just whatever your preference is.  I batter my chicken with Milk or Buttermilk, Egg and Flour.  It makes a really good crust.  If you ever have a recipe that calls for Buttermilk and you don't have any, just add a tablespoon of vinegar to about a cup of milk and let it stand for a few minutes and Wa-Lah!!  You have buttermilk.  I have found myself in that position a lot of times and it works out great.  As you know by now, when I cook I always seem to have leftovers.  I have never figured out how to cook for just two people.  That is really hard for me now matter how hard I try to cook for two.  Not only did I raise four children, I have cooked in restaurants for years and prepared buffets, so cooking for just two is something I have real issues with !  OK...back to the leftovers.  Sometimes when I have leftover Fried Chicken, whether it be with the bone or without, I pull the batter off of the chicken and make Chicken Salad.  When I worked in ther restaurant and we had a Salad Bar, I also made what I called "Fried Chicken Salad".  I would just leave the batter on the cold chicken and just cut it up in small pieces then make my regular Chicken Salad.  My customers loved the "Fried Chicken Salad".  They would say they had never had Chicken Salad made with Fried Chicken, including the batter.  By leaving the batter on the chicken, it added a little "crunch" to the salad.  It is really good that way, you should try it !  Speaking of Chicken Salad, I like to stuff a large tomato or an Avacado half with chicken salad...very good !

So, let's talk Thanksgiving again !  I am still waiting on all of your good recipes.  Thanksgiving is a time that we all want to fix something different or special.  I would love to hear what you are preparing for your Thanksgiving meal and see what kind of special recipes you have.  Please start sending them to me and I'll post them here on the blog.  Like I've told Yall before, I'm not one of those cooks that keeps my recipes a secret.  I love to share my recipes and hope that others will do the same.  So, start sending those Yummy recipes my way so I can post them.  Over the years I have thought I probably have collected every type of recipe there is out there, but I always find out that isn't true at all.  Everytime I turn around I am finding another recipe I have never tried and I've also found out that most people have their own little "twist" to an old favorite.  So that is why I am constantly looking for new recipes, we never have enough recipes...LOL.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Yall have up your sleeves !

Well, guess I had better get back to my baking.  I'm already running out of room in my freezer because of the goodies I'm making, so I have to do some moving around.  I do hope you all have a great day and "Happy Eating"

Muahhhhhhh ♥

Chicken Fried Chicken w/Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Buttered Corn