Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Going Greek Burger and Salad

Going Greek Burger
1 to 1-1/2 lbs ground lamb
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. crushed oregano
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 pkg. hamburger buns, your favorite variety
a handful of washed baby spinach leaves
1 sliced Campari tomato
a handful of pitted Kalamata olives
Tzatziki sauce

To begin, mix ground meat with seasonings, water, and red wine vinegar; form into patties.  We grilled our burgers on the pit, but feel free to cook them in a skillet if that's what you've got.  Cook them until no longer pink, but do not over cook them or they will dry out.  We heated our buns on the grill, too, but this is not necessary.  Top burgers with tomato slices, spinach leaves, tzatziki sauce, and olives, too, if you like.

Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 of one large cucumber, seeded and grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Dill
cracked black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  Top burgers with a dollop of sauce or cut heated pita bread into wedges and serve as a dip.

Greek Salad
Tomatoes, rinsed and cut into quarters. (we used 6 Campari tomatoes, but have used Roma tomatoes in the past)
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 to 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl and serve.
 Ms. enPlace

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Trifle

Welcome followers, old and new, I have a yummy dessert for you!

Here's what you'll need

1 box chocolate cake mix, prepared as directed.  I used triple chocolate fudge cake mix
2 cans cherry pie filling, refrigerated

For Chocolate Mousse:
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 oz. (1-1/2 bars) Ghirardelli Semi-sweet Chocolate Baking Bars, bashed into bits

To begin, I prepared and baked the cake, according to directions, in a rectangle pan.

While that was baking I started on the chocolate mousse.  Begin by beating the four yolks in a small bowl on high speed until thick and lemon colored, about three minutes.  Gradually add sugar and beat for another minute or so.  Heat one cup of whipping cream in a sauce pan over medium heat just until hot (not boiling).  Gradually stream a little of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs.  You don't want to add too much too fast or you might scramble the yolks, only pour about half the hot cream into the egg, mixing all the while.  Then, add the mixture back into the sauce pan with the remaining cream and continue to cook over low heat for about five minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is blended and thickening.  Let cool for 10 minutes and add chocolate bits to the mixture.  Stir to melt and incorporate the chocolate.  Cover and refrigerate for about two hours, stirring once or twice within that time.  When chilled, beat remaining 1-1/2 cups whipping cream in a chilled medium sized bowl until stiff.  Gradually add 3/4 cup of the chocolate mixture to whipped cream and stir.  Gently fold in remaining whipping cream until blended.

Once cake is cooled, cut into bite-sized squares and layer about half of the squares into bottom of trifle bowl.  Cover cake squares with one can of cherry pie filling. Spoon half of the chocolate mousse over cherries.  Continue layering by covering mousse with remaining cake bites, the second can of cherry pie filling, and remainder of chocolate mouse.  I garnished the trifle with the chocolate crumbs that fell from cutting the cake into squares and a little whipping cream that I reserved, but you can get as creative as you wish...chocolate curls or shavings, pipettes of whipped cream.  You get the idea.

Sharing at Design by Gollum's Foodie Friday.  FOODIE FRIDAY Click for details

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bon Ton's Bread Pudding

When I'm looking for great Creole and Cajun recipes, I often turn to Louisiana's newspapers.  This bread pudding recipe was found in New Orleans' own, Times Picayune.  If you search the Times Picayune and recipes, you will find a wealth of recipes on the web.  Without further ado~

The Bon Ton's Bread Pudding
1 loaf French bread
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 quart milk
3 tablespoons oleo (margarine) I used unsalted butter 
3 eggs
1 cup raisins, I used golden raisins
2 cups sugar

Soak bread in milk; crush with hands till well mixed. Then add eggs, sugar, vanilla and raisins and stir well. Pour oleo in bottom of thick pan and bake till very firm. (NOTE: The original recipe has no baking time or temperature; readers say to bake it at 350 degrees for 1 hour.)

Let cool; then cube pudding and put in individual dessert dish; when ready to serve, add sauce and heat under broiler. Serve with whiskey sauce.


1 stick butter or oleo
1 cup sugar (I used brown sugar since I was using Rum)
1 egg
Whiskey to taste (or Rum-I used dark rum this go round)

(Note: Original recipe says "cream sugar." Mix the butter and sugar until creamy.) Cook sugar and butter in double boiler till very hot and well dissolved. Then add well-beaten egg and whip real fast so egg doesn't curdle. Let cool and add whiskey to taste.

recipe courtesy of the Times Picayune.

Sharing @  Ms. enPlace and 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Read

photo credit
If you are in the market for a new read, I suggest checking out Piper Maitland's, "Acquainted with the Night."  This was such a good book.  My only disappointment is that I'll have to wait 'til 2013 to read more about these addictive characters.  "Requiem for Daylight" arrives in 2013; I'm so looking forward to its arrival.  You may visit the author's blog by clicking here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bow-Tie Pasta with Ham & Peas

2 tbsp. butter
2 lugs olive oil
1 package cubed ham
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 package bow tie pasta
1-1/2 cups frozen peas
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. dill weed, I used dried, but if you have fresh, chopped dill that'll do.
black pepper to taste

Begin boiling salted water for pasta; I used half of a package of bow-ties, but feel free to use other pasta shapes if you have them.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Throw frozen peas in boiling water for last few minutes to thaw them out

Heat butter and olive oil in a medium sized skillet.  Chop onion & garlic while oil is heating.  Saute onion 'til translucent.  Add garlic & ham and continue cooking until ham begins to brown.  Add cream, dill, pepper, and cheese, stirring to incorporate all the ingredients.  Add pasta and peas at the end.  Mix well to coat.  Garnish with grated Parmesan, fresh dill, or both.

Sharing @  Ms. enPlace

Friday, January 13, 2012

School Daze

So it begins, folks.  School is back in session and this go 'round will have me in an actual elementary classroom doing observations and trying my hand at lessons.  I've got a lot to think about.  
From how I'm ever going to do it ...
...to how I'm going to dress.
It has all crossed my mind in the past few days.
Bebe and I have had a lovely break together.  I'll miss our lazy days.

Graphic of winning poster  - “Lazy day? Come anyway.”
“Lazy day?  Come anyway.”
Rhyme by Franchesca Bongcaron, Elk Grove Elementary School
Artwork by Joshua Kim,
 Carroll Elementary School

This student's artwork speaks to me.  Actually, it scolds me. ; )  I know, I know, "Go to school!"
I know I'll relish this weekend, these last peaceful moments before the whirlwind of information overload.  I hope you have a lovely time, too.
Happy Friday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tres Leche Cake

With just a few simple ingredients, jazz up a boxed, yellow cake mix.  This "three" milks" cake is over-the-top good.  It's got a lot of calories, but if you're going to be bad don't you want it to be good?! ; )

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small can Coco Lopez
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small container cool whip or fresh sweetened whipped cream
shredded coconut for topping, I like the unsweetened variety

Bake cake according to directions.  When done, poke holes all over with a fork or toothpick.  Do not cool the cake.  Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk and let absorb into the cake.  Pour Coco Lopez on cake and let absorb.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight if you can stand the wait.  Top with whipped cream and shredded coconut before serving.  I use unsweetened coconut since the cake itself is ultra sweet.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


1-3/4 cups flour
2-1/4  tsp. baking powder
3 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix dry ingredients.  Add melted butter.  Add milk alternating with egg yolks.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Serves 5.

This was my great grandmother's favorite waffle recipe, a real vintage treat.  We received a waffle maker for Christmas this year and so have been putting it to good use.  Usually we use the Krusteaz box mix and we like that just fine, but the flavor and texture of this recipe is much better.  I'm thinking it may have something to do with the stick of butter.  You decide...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Recently, I rediscovered the Betty Crocker recipe website.  I've perused the page before, but kinda forgot about it.  I was hungry when I clicked through countless recipes and so ended up with many dinner ideas.

An image of French Onion soup was on the entry page which immediately caught my eye.  Today, I stocked up on the necessary ingredients.  My picture didn't turn out as nice as the website photo, but the soup was tasty.
Here's what you will need
large onions, sliced (3 cups)
tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
tablespoons all-purpose flour
tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
teaspoon sugar
teaspoon pepper
cans (14 1/2 ounces each) ready-to-serve beef broth
Cheesy Broiled French Bread
slices French bread, 1 inch thick
cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1Mix onions and margarine in 3 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  • 2Cover and cook on high heat setting 30 to 35 minutes or until onions begin to slightly brown around edges.
  • 3Mix flour, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and pepper. Stir flour mixture and broth into onions. Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 9 hours (or high heat setting 3 to 4 hours) or until onions are very tender.
  • 4Prepare Cheesy Broiled French Bread. Place 1 slice bread on top of each bowl of soup. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of bettycrocker.com. Sharing @ Designs By Gollum for  FOODIE FRIDAY Click for details

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nook Know-How

Christmas, birthday, and babysitting money finally enabled Big Sissy to buy a Nook Color.  She's excited to explore.  Unfortunately, I'm not much help with that.  The whole concept of apps and e-reading is new to me.

If you're savvy, please feel free to share tips, favorite apps, etc.  You're feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon

My Grandma says that cabbage is meant to represent wealth and is considered to bring good luck for it when consumed on the New Year.  Now, I don't know if any of that is true, but I won't deny myself the added good fortune if there's any to be had.  Besides, I love cabbage so the addition of it on a New Year's menu is just an added bonus.  I read that the green of cabbage leaves, along with greens such as Kale, Collards, Mustard, and Turnip are supposed to represent money so if you prefer any of those to cabbage feel free to substitute the leaves without loosing out on any good fortune.  The preparation's much the same so it's really just a matter of taste.

Here's what you'll need
1 head of cabbage or a package of your preferred green, chopped
4 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Fry bacon until crisp, adding onion just when bacon begins to brown, in a dutch oven.  Don't add the onion too late or your bacon will burn before you're onion has a chance to go soft.  When you've cooked your bacon and onion, add the chopped cabbage, salt and pepper; cover with a lid and let the cabbage wilt down, maybe for 10 minutes.  Stir, turning the onion and bacon so that it doesn't all remain on the bottom of the pot. Recover and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Adjust salt and pepper to your taste and serve.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Black Eyed Peas

Considered "lucky" if consumed on New Year's Day, freshly prepared black eyed peas are easy to make and oh so much better than from a can.  I save my ham bone and trimmings from my Christmas ham to flavor my peas, but you could use bacon if you'd rather.  Black eyed peas, cabbage, and pork, all considered lucky foods, always make up our New Year's Day menu.  If you'd like to add a little luck to your next New Year menu or if you'd just like a tasty side to any meal...

Here's what you'll need.
1 (16 oz) pkg. black eyed peas
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups water
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, whole and in their skins
1 ham bone, ham hock, or diced side meat
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp.ground mustard powder
2 tbsp. honey

To begin, wash your peas thoroughly (1pulled four little dirt clots out of my colander while picking over my peas).  After my peas were cleaned, I placed them in a stock pot and covered them with approximately 2 inches of water and placed them over high heat and boiled for two to three minutes.  Reduced the heat to medium-low and add the remaining water, chopped onion, garlic cloves, and meat and cook until peas become tender, around an hour.  Keep your pot covered and check often to ensure that there's enough liquid in the pot, adding more if it looks like the water level is getting too low.  Add your seasonings near the end, turning the heat to low and cooking for another 15-30 minutes after adding so that the flavors incorporate.  Remove the garlic pods  from the pot and place on a cutting board.  You will be able to slip the garlic from its skins and mash with a spoon.  Add the mashed garlic pulp back to the pot and stir well to mix it all in.  Taste before serving and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Ornament

If you thought you were done with Christmas, hold your horses...err reindeer?!
Bebe made this sweet ornament for daddy, with my help, of course.  We got the idea from The Crafty Crow blog some time back.  Here are some more pics.  
We used a brown acrylic paint from Walmart and dad's Sharpie marker and red paint marker.  I found a pack of white ornaments in a box, a mix of shiny and matte.  The mattes work best, as the prints didn't smear nearly as bad.  With a 1 yr. old, the no smearing part of the task was a challenge, but as you can tell from the images, the imperfections made it all the better.  I wrote her name in sharpie on one side and the year on the other.  I loved the finished product, a great thing to do in the classroom, with grand kids, or with your own children. 

To all of my friends,