Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rare...The Elusive...

                       HUSBAND IN THE KITCHEN!!!
     I think I frightened him.  See the expression of fear in his eyes. 

     Folks, I've tried for years to capture a husband in the kitchen. Alas, my efforts have paid off. It was not an easy feat, I assure you. I had to wake in the early hours of All Hallows Eve, for this is the only time when this mysterious creature shows his true abilities. On any regular day you may find a husband caught in this act...

Or maybe he looks something like this:

Ah, but it is a true sight to see one doing something like this~

                                          Creepy, I know.  But, look what they're capable of!
Crepes, voila!
Don't let them fool you.  They can do a great many wonderful things.  I bet there's just a wealth of recipes floating around in that stubborn head of theirs.  You better catch 'em quick, though.  They'll run out of the kitchen lickity split if they think you're on to 'em and they'll revert to their former couch hoggin', web surfin' selves in no time.  The trick is to coddle them and reward their efforts so that you may soon catch them in the kitchen once again.  Happy Hunting on this Halloween.  I hope you, too, can find such a magical, mystical, wonder on All Hallows Eve : )

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tres Pumpkins

Our version of Jack the Pumpkin King...pic's a little blurred.  I'll try to work that out : )
Batty Jack O Lantern
Happy Jack
We had a lot of fun carving these guys out.  The Pumpkin King was carved on a white pumpkin.  Sissy wanted to carve the word 'Boo' but we couldn't find a stencil we liked until after the fact.  The bat was carved into your 'ol standard carving pumpkin.  The jack o' lantern face was carved into a warty variety, not sure what it's called, but let me warn you that was one tough gourd to gouge.  My hand is seriously aching; though, well worth the effort.  How do you like to carve your pumpkins?


The Halloween spirit is alive and well.  I'm getting excited and just can't wait for Sunday.  I took the girls to the pumpkin patch today and took pictures.  See...

Mon petit didn't like being stuffed in a cauldron...recipe to follow, but it will go a little something like this: sugar, and spice, and everything nice.
Baby likes the warty pumpkin
We just can't wait to carve tonight!  Sissy wants to carve the word "Boo" in this white pumpkin.

The cutest pumpkins in the patch

I hope you all have a spooktacular time!  Be safe and Happy Halloween~

Everything but the Kitchen Sink- Chili Mac

Do you ever finish cooking and think, "Gee.  Did I add everything but the kitchen sink?" 
Last night was Chili Mac night.  And, no.  We didn't go the Hamburger Helper route.  Though, I've been known to in a pinch.
Chili Mac

1 small package elbow macaroni
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz.) can corn, drained, frozen works fine, too
1 (14.5 oz.) can red kidney beans
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cumin
Dash of hot sauce
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar

In a large pot, begin boiling water to cook macaroni. Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet, heat oil and saute onion & garlic until onion is translucent. Add ground meat and brown. Add all remaining ingredients, stirring to incorporate all the seasonings. Cover and cook on medium heat while macaroni boils. Add the drained al dente macaroni to the beef mixture, mixing well. Serve topped with shredded cheese.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blackend Shrimp Salad

Late October and South Texas is still experiencing temperatures in the 90's.  Add high winds to the heat, and the crud that mom petit baby so sweetly passed on to me, and you've got a mom that doesn't want to cook...much.  Taking a cue from Marguerite at Cajun Delights, I've decided to cook up some shrimp to toss in a salad.  Dad can handle arranging a salad while I rest, right?!?  Sure he can.  He's super dad and he can do ANYTHING.
I think I'll use Paul Prudhomme's Magic Blackening seasoning on the shrimp which are tossed in olive oil and lemon juice.  All I've got on hand for a salad is lettuce, tomato, celery, blue cheese crumbles, and avocado.  I think that will all do nicely in a salad, right?  Okay, maybe a hard boiled egg or two.  There.  Dinner is done.  Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

When it comes to food, I must say that I truly want something healthy to nourish my family.  Mostly.  I've jumped on the organic bandwagon (when I can find it available since there's not a huge market for it in my community) and I've thrown out all the scratched up Teflon pans since those can be cancer inducing...egads!  But! I'm not one to stand on a soapbox to tell you this is the only way to go and while your at it, cut the gluten, and the carbs, and hold the mayo.  It's trendy, I know, but do what you will.  You'll be hard pressed to see me pass up a celery stick stuffed with that yellow goo called processed cheese and I'll be the first in line to down a cola any day in the summer.  I pass no judgement.  Except, let me ask you this (since I read a blog this ayem and was a little thrown),  if you were to bother to jump on the gluten free, all organic, lactose free, bandwagon, only to cook it up with a dose of the chemically laden nonstick spray,wouldn't you be defeating your purpose?

 Well, maybe I need to read up on cooking spray a bit more before I make such a query.   For all intents and purposes, I like to use good old unsalted butter in a pan.  That's just me.  I did find this article on sprays and thought it was interesting, though.  How true it is, I'm not sure.  I'm set on looking for ants to test on AND I must say, the notion of spraying down my shower and shower curtain with PAM to avoid a buildup of soap scum just sounds like an accident waiting to happen.  Can  you just imagine? 

Me:  Oh, Oh, I'm slipping in the shower.  thought: Let me grab onto the shower curtain to catch my fall. 

Me:  Crap, I've fallen and I can't get up. thought: I knew better than to turn my shower into an oil slick.  I went down faster than a greased pig struck by lightin'!

Now that I've given you an amusing visual, Happy Monday, Y'all!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

For the Love of Louzian

Is there a place that you just love, a place that draws you in like a moth to a flame?
Place D'Armes

For me, that place is Louisiana.
Pirate's colorful

I love its history...
Pat O'Brien's

...and its people.

But most of all,

I love all of the fabulous foods produced there.  Mmm.  We are talking pralines and bread pudding, y'all! And gumbos and reaux, and beignets and strong coffee.  Sighhhh.  I wish I were there.

Because I love Louisiana soooo much, I try to buy as many things made from there as possible to support the businesses, the state, and it's people.  So today's blog is dedicated to this place I love.  How do you show a little love for your favorite place?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Southern Fried

Some days just leave you fried...
and make you yearn for that little taste of home

Memaw's Hushpuppy Recipe:
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg
¾ cup butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 medium onion, finely minced

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Grease your hands and roll batter into balls; gently lower hushpuppies into hot oil to fry. Hush puppies should float in the oil when they’re done and should be golden in color.

Happy Foodie Friday, y'all!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One the near future...just around the bend...

I'm hoping that one day soon, the blog fairies will grace me with their presence and inspire me to write something again but, for now, I'm doomed with blah brain.  I blame school.  And the sick baby. And the sick me (over the weekend).  Yes.  Blah brain, it is.  I've read through your blogs for inspiration.  Seen my fellow bloggers cooking up a storm.  Alas, I haven't even been in the mood to cook.  GASP.  Yes.  It's true.  Why, even moments ago I ripped open a bag (a bag y'all!) of frozen beef lomein.  It's just not the same and I'm definitely off of my game.  And it's not that I haven't tried.  Just last night I experimented with Carne al Pastor but, the pork was gristly and greasy, and I burned the rice.  My family pretended to enjoy it.  They really did.  But, it's no use.  I hope the kitchen witch comes back to bless me soon and I hope the blog fairies clear my brain to inspire my writing once again.


Ever have one of those days?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Market Finds

Better late than never...As you may recall, I went to Market Days in Goliad and found a few great buys. 

This little guy was too cute to pass up

When I rounded the corner I found a lady who sewed this little gem

...and wouldn't you know that this was right next door

I've been searching for a chimenia for a long time.  All the ones I've seen have had the shape of TX patterned on it or some southwestern looking lizard, TX Longhorn , the Lone Star, etc., and guys, I love my state just not enough to have it's image all over the place.  Ahhhh, but this guy, he was perfect and only $35 dollars.  I love him : )

Also, I found this yummy jelly.
Of course, I sampled all she had before settling on this one.  I had never heard of Agaritas before.  Think currants.

Tomorrow is Foodie Friday so I'll post something yummy.  'Til then, have a good night~

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thanksgiving on the Brain

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I can hardly wait for it this year.  I'm thinking about recipes.  Please share some of your favorites and I'll post some of mine between now and then.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Somebody's got a case of the Mondays. Part Deux

So much for the happy mood the weekend brought me.  Yep.  Somebody's got a case of the Mondays.
This morning the alarm clock beeped. Way too early.  Well, no earlier than usual, but it felt earlier.  Mmmmkay?!  I proceeded to get ready at my usual speed which doesn't leave a whole lotta extra time getting moi and mon petit bebe out the door.  In the final moments of getting it all together this happened-

Me:  Hey, do you know where my glasses are?

Big Sissy:  Huh

Me: I can't find my glasses.  Gahhhh

Big Sissy:  Oh. I don't know.

Me: (running thru the house frantically groping around for my glasses because, people, if you need glasses chances are you can't SEE where you left them...just sayin') HOLY CRAP WHY WON'T THE LIGHT TURN ON?
Sissy:  Where?  Where are you?

Me: (obviously losing my cool at this point because I can't find my damned glasses) In my freaking room!  I can't see.  I changed these bulbs last night.  WHATTHEHELLHAPPENED? Aghhhh.  Forget it, what time is it?

Sissy: 7:10  You're gonna be late

Me: Aghhhh (loading up and waving like a spaz while driving out of the drive way)

On the road.  Calling husband to see what happened with bedroom lights-
Me: Hey.  The bedroom lights wouldn't come on
Husband:  Oh.  Yeah.  I unscrewed them all to mess with you
Me: (silence)  I couldn't see to find my glasses.  I was trying to find them.  I'm late to school, now.  Why would you do that?
Husband:  Ummm.  I didn't want you to come into bed and turn on the light again to read.

Ummm.. Great.  Later that morning...8:01.  Officially late.  Classmate walking up behind me.

Classmate:  So why are you running late this morning?

Really, folks, how was I gonna explain this one?  To make matters worse, apparently tardiness has been an issue with my fine classmates and today was the straw that broke the camel's back for ole teach .  Yeaaaaaaaaa (tiny fist pumps).  She asked for everyone that was late to write "late" next to their name on the attendance sheet.  Late.  Thanks, hubby.  Thanks slacker classmates for ticking the teacher off to the point of no forgiveness.  I'd cut no slack, too, if most of the class never read; yet alone brought books to class or showed up on time or even showed up at all for that matter.  Such is life, but may I just add:  Life isn't fair...whaaa haaa hahhaaaa.  Hey, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to. BUT thanks for being a shoulder to cry on.  love ya bunches.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Market Days in Goliad, TX

Happy Sunday, y'all!  Yesterday was such a perfect day to get out and enjoy the weather.  We really enjoyed the market and plan on going again in November.  For anyone in the south TX area, market days are held the second weekend of the month between now and Decemeber. 

The Hanging Tree outside the courthouse.  People were really hung here!
Baby enjoyed a picnic under the trees.
We visited the Mission and Presidio La Bahia on the way into town...important to Texas' history.

Site of Goliad Massacre of Col. Fannin and approx. 340 of his men.
Presidio pooches
I'll post pics of my finds later on in the week.  I found a really cute owl shaped chiminea and a metal art Jack O' Lantern.  We also enjoyed a fabulous, late, lunch at The Hanging Tree Cafe. Yummy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Today is Market Days in Goliad, TX.  I've slept in, drank my morning cup, & daughter made us pancakes (and mastered them-see previous post) so I'm nice and full.  Now, all I have to do is scrub up and get on the road.  Pictures to follow-

Friday, October 8, 2010

Take Me Away, Again, To Margaritaville

TGIF!  I think I will treat myself to a nice Margarita tonight! ; 0

Here's my EASY margarita recipe to enjoy.  I hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Easy Margarita's
1 (6 oz.) limeade frozen concentrate
1 (6 oz.) can tequila
2-3 (6 oz.) can fulls of club soda
Lime for garnishing

Empty frozen concentrate into a pitcher. Fill limeade can to the brim with tequila and add to pitcher. Refill can 2 to 3 times with club soda, adding to pitcher each time. Stir until frozen concentrate is fully dissolved. Serve over ice. Garnish glass with a lime twist or wedge.

Psst.  Remember to always drink responsibly and do not drink and drive...just sayin' 'cause I love y'all and want you to live to read my other blog posts. :)

Oh, I like sharing recipes on Fridays because it's "Foodie Friday" at Designs by Gollum and on Ekat's Kitchen.  Check them out if you love to cook!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Capucine: Cute French Girl's Fairytale

You may have watched this video before; it's a smash!   I wish I could trap that imagination and apply it to all of my writing.  I always watch this when I need a little pick-me-up.  I hope you enjoy ; )

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our termites are foreign

Daughter just asked me about our "Mediterranean" termites...pretty sure she meant the subterranean variety, but with her you never can tell. : )

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wise beyond her years?

My eleven year old daughter, while heating up a can of Campbell's Double Noodle soup, just said, "This doesn't taste as good as I remember it being as a kid."  I know, I know. Eleven IS a little long in the tooth.  ; )  The funny thing is, I know just what she means.  Once upon a time I loved Spaghetti O's w/Franks; I was ready to tear into a bowl not long back and I thought they weren't as good as I remembered them being.  In fact, I thought they were down right gross.  Isn't it interesting, how our tastes change?

Falling for Food-Butternut Squash Succotash

Even though South Texas doesn't get much of a fall season, fall is still my favorite time of year. I love the first dip into cooler temperatures, a welcomed reprieve from the summer heat.  I love leaves turning colors (I know it's happening somewhere in the world just not on our sunny trees), but most of all I love the foods that fall brings.  Somewhere along the last summer days and the first peaks of autumn, feelings of nostalgia wash over me and I yearn to dig through my grandma's recipe box to cook up some treats.  Maybe it's because of all the good Thanksgiving memories I have or maybe it's because the crisp 81 degrees (ha ha) has put a little extra pep in my step.  Either way, I'm anxious to sip on cider, scrape through squash,  and roast pumpkin seeds.

I caught this on Good Morning America years ago and it fast became one of my favorite fall recipes:

Ben Barker's Butternut Squash Succotash


3 ounces of country ham, cut into small dice
1/4 cup peanut oil (or canola oil or safflower oil)
1/2 cup onion, small dice
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flake
1 bay leaf
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into medium dice (or acorn squash, or pumpkin)
2 cups baby lima beans, fresh or frozen (I've used canned in a pinch and it turned out just fine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, as needed (or water)
1 1/2 cups white hominy, drained and rinsed
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (optional)
2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)

Cooking Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over the medium heat, add country ham and cook until lightly browned. Add onion, pepper and celery; cook over medium heat until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, pepper and bay leaf; cook one minute.

Stir in lima beans and butternut squash; add chicken stock ( or water) just until fluid. Bring to a simmer and cook until butternut dice are just tender. Remove from heat and reserve.

While limas are cooking, combine hominy and cream in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until cream is reduced and thickened. Stir into limas, season liberally and stir in herbs. Transfer to an ovenproof casserole. (May be prepared ahead to this point.)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine breadcrumbs and melted butter in a bowl and sprinkle on top of succotash. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe copyright ©1999 Ben Barker.   Ben and Karen own the Magnolia Grill in Durham, NC, I look forward to visiting the restaurant someday : )

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sounds like Somebody's got a Case of the Mondays

Ah, Monday. Today, the school network computer printers are down and so who knows if I'll get credit for emailing the various assignments that were due in class. Fingers crossed. This weekend proved to be a royal pain which only leads to my case of the Mondays. I'm waiting for the pest control guy to call me back to schedule an appt. to come determine what kind of termites we have. (tiny fist pumps) Yea. Aside from that, I feel that my throat is swelling, mother nature has knocked on my door, the babies allergies are kicking in, and the dog peed on the floor leaving my husband peeved enough to swear to banish him outdoors from here on in. (breath) Uhhhhhhhhhhh (sucking the life in) uhhhhhehhhhuuuh.

Going off on this tiny tangent doesn't seem to be helping so let me add this in:
Somehow, I feel I've crossed into an alternate universe via and blogland. Where did all these crafty, master chefs, come from?!?! Is EVERYBODY that damned good at something? I don't particularly think that I'm good at anything. It's all I can muster to keep the house clean, groceries stocked, homework done, laundry washed, and yard weeded. I try to cook everyday and usually I succeed. The kids are bathed, and the floors are swept but, looking at the awesomely, amazingly, creative stuff these people come up with blows me away! How did they do that and why in the heck do I feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants just to keep it all together while they're off making the cutest crap on the planet just as cool as cucumbers and their kids are off learning, oh I don't know, how to knit the next cutest thing in the history of the planet?!?  That was a lot of carrying on, I know.  I just wonder how these amazing people really do it?  Tips please ; )

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Day to Give Thanks

2007 marks the year the hubs and I tied the knot.  It also happens to be the year he introduced me to blogs; upon which, I started this blog.    Between 2007 and July 1010 I had a total of three posts, I think.  It just never seemed to draw me in.  I don't know what changed this past July but, a light bulb went off and I've been typing away ever since.  To date, I have three followers and it might as well be three million...I'm that excited about them!  I'm excited to see visitors from all corners and I LOVE to read your comments so THANK YOU all out there in blogland for dropping in.  I hope you have a lovely Sunday.  Until we meet again~
and thank you, hubby, for supporting me in all that I do : )

Friday, October 1, 2010

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Today is "Foodie Friday", y'all!  I really enjoy sharing and thought I'd post what I made last night.  We ate them up sooo quickly, I didn't get a chance to snap a picture to share!

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped
Stems of 1 dozen good-sized white mushrooms, finely chopped ( a processor works well for this but, not necessary).  Set caps aside, rub them with a damp paper towel to clean them off
1 cup of lump crab meat, picked thru to remove any shell pieces, rinsed and drained
a handful or so of Italian bread crumbs
Parsley flakes, as desired
Old Bay seasoning, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Black or Red pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Grated Parmesan

*This is the type of recipe that I typically gauge by hand, tasting until it's just right.  I always have left over stuffing that I form into crab cakes, an added bonus!

Saute onion, celery, and stem pieces in butter.  When vegetables are tender, add crab meat, bread crumbs, and seasonings.  Turn off heat.

Dot a casserole dish with butter and add your caps to the dish.  Stuff each cap with the desired amount and sprinkle with parm and Old Bay.  You could add the parm in along with bread crumbs and crab meat; I've done it that way, too!

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Enjoy : )