Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread - OH MY GOODNESS!!!

We had our Christmas Eve party this year as pot-luck and I decided to give Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread a try.  The recipe is dead simple.  Let me just say what everyone at the party said "Oh my goodness!!!  This bread is the BOMB!  Give me the recipe!"  And it was the bomb and I suppose it should be, with almost a pound of cheese and a full stick of butter...

This is NOT my photo.  It was gone too fast to even think about getting one, haha.  This photo is straight from the Pioneer Woman's website.  She gets full credit here!  Click here to visit Pioneer Woman's website.


  • 1 loaf French Bread
  • 6 ounces, weight Pimiento-stuffed Green Olives
  • 6 ounces, weight Black Olives
  • 2 stalks Green Onions (scallions)
  • 1 stick Butter, Room Temperature
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 pounds Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated

Preparation Instructions

Roughly chop both black olives and pimiento-stuffed green olives. Slice green onions into thin pieces.
Combine butter, mayonnaise, cheese, olives and green onions in a mixing bowl. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture onto French bread that has been sliced lengthwise. Bake at 325ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.
Mixture can also be refrigerated (up to two days) and used as a dip. Great with crackers.
Thank you Ree "Pioneer Woman" for this wonderful recipe that we will definitely make again and again.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crock Pot Mongolian Beef or Chicken


1.5 pounds beef, cubed.  I used sirloin, but you can use stew meat, round steak or whatever you have or is on sale.
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons corn starch
1 onion chopped
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce, optional

Into your crock pot add the oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, chopped onion and sriracha sauce, stir to combine.  Coat your meat cubes in the cornstarch and add to the pot.  Cook on HI 2 to 3 hours or on LOW 4 to 5 hours till done.  Serve over rice.  Garnish with green onion, peanuts or whatever you like.  This recipe was super simple and was good.  I thought it tasted pretty close to what I've had at an Oriental Restaurant.
You could also use chicken, but the cook time may be shorter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Make ahead Manicotti - Super Easy

What you need:

1 box Manicotti noodles
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce, I used Prego
1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes, I used home canned crushed
1/2 carton of cottage cheese
1 carton ricotta cheese
1 egg
shredded cheese to taste any kind
1 teaspoon Parsley flakes - optional
Chili Powder to taste - optional

In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, parsley flakes, 1/2 cup shredded cheese and egg.  Mix well.  In a bowl or pitcher combine spaghetti sauce, canned of diced tomatoes with liquid and chili powder to taste (I probably used 1 to 2 teaspoons) and stir.

Spray pans with a non-stick spray and pour about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce mixture into the bottom and spread around.  With a spoon, fill the manicotti noodles UNCOOKED.  Line up in pans.  Spoon remaining filling around if there is any.  Pour the remaining sauce over top, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.  If you are freezing cover with plastic wrap and then foil and place in freezer.

To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.  Top with shredded cheese and put back in oven to melt.  Remove, let it set uncovered for 10 minutes and serve.  For this recipe to work it must sit at least 8 hours before baking.  To cook right away, you would need to cook the noodles before filling.

 I forgot to add the egg...I just noticed!  Still tasted great though :)
 Make sure to cover as much of the noodles as you can.  You should have plenty of sauce.  And of course you can use a homemade sauce.
I put two trays of 5 in the freezer for later and baked one tray with 4 the next evening.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Baked Flounder stuffed with Boudain

Hi everyone!  I just got back from a vacation to the Texas Gulf was beautiful weather!  My Dad and nephew, Geoff, went fishing every day we where there and brought back mouth watering flounder, red fish and trout.  Here is some of their haul...

Okay, so on the recipe.  First let tell you that there are NO photos of this recipe.  Why? you ask?  Well, we were just too hungry and totally forgot to take any.

After you scale and clean the flounder use a knife to cut down the middle of the fish to make an opening.  Take some good ole' DJ's Boudain ( ) and stuff it inside.  Place on a pan lined with foil and sprayed with a non-stick spray.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until done.  This will depend on the size of your fish.
We demolished it pretty was so good!

Great food and a wonderful vacation in Gilchrist, Texas on the Bolivar Peninsula.  You may not know, but Gilchrist and the Bolivar Peninsula was hit hard by Hurricane Ike in 2008.  After Ike there were only five or six cabins left standing in Gilchrist and the other communities on the Peninsula were devastated as well.  People are rebuilding and moving forward there.  I would love to live there someday....

Now for my review of the cabin we stayed in.  It is called the "Seagull House" and is located in Gilchrist, Texas.  We rented it through Swedes Real Estate in Crystal Beach. Here is a link to them  This house has some pros and cons.
The pros: location, view, outside space, lots of decks, pretty well stocked kitchen utensils etc., good shower, nice washer/dryer, tap water was good, beds were comfortable, gate on the mid deck to keep dogs contained, they allowed pets, cost.

The cons: Was dirty when we arrived, not filthy, but we did have to clean some.  The stairs lead straight into the door, there is no landing (see photo below), no sofa in this house!; only chairs which was weird, no good TV channels...most of them were Spanish or Chinese, the loft has a ladder instead of stairs, burned out light bulbs in several lamps, fire detectors in bedrooms were clearly missing a battery, some of the outdoor furniture needs to be replaced as it is broken beyond use, NO linens are provided...NONE!  You can "rent" them for $100 extra but we opted to bring our own.  Our own sheets, pillows, towels, wash cloths, hand towels, dish towels..., NO toilet paper or paper towels are provided, NO soap of any kind.  The kicker for us was we had to put a $200 security deposit down that is refundable IF the cabin is left clean and, in their words, "ready to be sanitized." They have a long list on the fridge that tells you what you are expected to clean and it includes everything but moping the floor.  We wanted our deposit back so we cleaned before we left, not exactly a great ending to a vacation.
The reason I point this out is because my mother manages some rental cabins here were we live.  Here the guest is not required to clean the entire cabin before they leave.  We provide sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, toilet paper, paper towels, soap and shampoo and it is included in the price.  I guess the idea of all of that not being provided for the guest is just a foreign concept to us.

We still had a great time and would even rent this cabin again, at least we would know what to expect.  It was a nice place, despite the cons.  See photos below:

 Those two white chairs were very comfortable.  We were surprised!

 Small but adequate kitchen.
 No landing right out the door, which was hard to handle at times and the handrails aren't far enough out to use in some areas.
Upper side deck.  The dogs liked to sun there.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Home Canned Salsa

 Home Canned Salsa

This is, by far, the best home canned salsa recipe I have found yet.  Credit must be given to as I used her recipe.

1 gallon diced tomatoes, I peeled mine, but you don't have to.
2 to 5 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 to 3 onions, chopped
2 to 3 bell peppers, chopped
1 to 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 can (4 oz.) of chopped green chilies
11 ounces ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
2 to 4 tablespoons salt to your taste

Combine everything in a large cook pot.  Bring to boil, then simmer 30 to 40 minutes.  Pack into hot sterilized jars, top with hot sterilized lids and water bath for 25 minutes.
 I got 18 cups of salsa from this recipe.
 Just starting to cook here.
After a 30 minute simmer.
This recipe was super easy and the finished product is very delicious!  Hope you enjoy and Thanks to Krista for the great recipe.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Candied Jalapenos

You need:
3 pounds of fresh jalapeno peppers, washed well
2 cups vinegar, cider vinegar is best but you can use half cider half white or all white
6 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
3 teaspoons garlic powder OR 3 fresh cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground

Wear gloves to slice your peppers.  DO NOT skip wearing gloves.  I'll say it again, wear gloves!  Remove the stems and slice jalapeno peppers about a 1/4 inch thick or whatever you like best and set them aside.

In a large pot, add vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic and cayenne pepper.  Stir to mix well and  bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the jalapeno slices and let simmer 4 to 5 minutes.  Using a "holey" spoon transfer the peppers into hot clean sterilized jars leaving about 1/4 inch at top.  Bring the syrup mixture back up to a rolling boil and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and ladle syrup into the jars over the jalapenos.  You may need to tap the jars to release air bubbles.

Wipe the rims clean with a folded paper towel dipped in boiling water to clean and top with lids & rings.  I had leftover syrup that I also canned.  Hot water bath your jars for 10 minutes.  Remove from bath and let stand overnight.  Remove lid rims, wash jars and rims to remove any water residue.  I have hard water so this step is important to keep the integrity of the rings and lids.  Let the peppers age at least a couple of weeks before eating; longer aging is better.  I only got 6 half pints from this recipe, but I didn't  weigh my jalapenos, just eyeballed them.  I also got three half pints of "jalapeno honey" or leftover syrup.  I will use this in marinades and salad dressings for a good kick.  I will definitely make this again....I have plenty of peppers to use up!
NOTE:  During this whole process, do not touch your face and eyes!  As soon as I was done I took a shower to prevent any unnecessary accidental burning of face and eyes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cucumber, Onion & Tomato Relish

Sorry it has been so long since I posted something, but you know how it is...time slips away from you.  Canning time is here, especially if you have a garden, so here is an easy relish recipe to help use an over abundance of produce.  More canning recipes coming soon!

You need:
3 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes
8 cups chopped onion
8 cups chopped cucumbers
1/4 cup pickling salt

Place all into a large bowl, cover and let sit overnight.  Drain very well and rinse.  Place mix into a large non-reactive pot (no aluminium) and add:

2 Tablespoons powdered mustard
4 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons Turmeric
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups sugar

Stir to mix well and boil on med/low heat for 20 minutes.  Spoon into hot sterilized jars and seal.  To make sure your lids will seal properly, place them into a pot of boiling water, use tongs to grab a lid and place on top of your hot jar.  These do not require a hot water bath, but you could if you wanted to.
Made 11 cups of finished product.
After overnight salting.
Boiling away.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Homemade Wine - 1 gallon recipes

Photo here shows apple jack and red (grape).

What you need:
a gallon jug - I prefer glass
an airlock - cheap on amazon
a drilled stopper - photo below
a funnel
a large bowl
siphon tube

For Apple Jack Wine - Packs a punch!
6 cups sugar
2 containers of apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon yeast - I used champagne yeast
more recipes below

In a large bowl add sugar, juice concentrate, spices and a quart of warm water.  Stir and mix well making sure the sugar is dissolved.  Using the funnel, pour this mixture into your clean gallon jug.  Add yeast and stir well.  Fill remainder of jug with water leaving about 3 inches at the top.  Stir well.  Place stopper/airlock on top and store in a dark cool place.  Remember to add water to your airlock to the indicator line.  The amount of time it takes for your wine to finish will depend on the conditions where it is stored.  Mine usually takes 30 to 60 days.  You will know it is done when you can no longer see bubbles traveling up the side of the jug.
Siphon off the wine into clean bottles (there are lots of videos on youtube that show you how to do this), you can reuse bottles you don't have to buy new ones.  I prefer the screw top bottles the best...corks are hard to work with.  You can drink the wine right away, but it will improve with age.  If you don't have a tube to siphon off your wine, you can strain it through paper towels, however, tubing is really cheap and a lot less messy.  Discard the sediment at the bottom of the jug.
NOTE: I do not purchase any of the other things you can add to your wine to help clear it up or anything else, I don't think it is necessary.
 I store mine in the pantry.  Here I'm making Peach/Pineapple and Cherry/Tangerine.
 Early stages with lost of bubbles!
I like Red Star yeast.  Each packet is actually for 5 gallons.  I just measure out what I need, tightly seal the packet, place in a ziplock bag and store in the fridge until I need to use more.

More recipes:
Red (Grape) Wine
6 cups sugar
2 containers of grape juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 teaspoon yeast.

1 quart of frozen cherries
the juice of one tangerine
6 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon yeast

1 quart pineapple juice
2 - 15 oz cans peach slices with juice pulverized in blender
6 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon yeast

 I like this style of stopper best.  I ordered it from amazon...very cheap!
Tubing to siphon off your wine.

This is how I became interested in making wine.  I found this recipe on the internet and gave it a try.  It is super simple and the results were very good.  I have used apples, peaches, strawberries and green grapes.  All were good.

To a gallon jug add 6 cups sugar and 6 cups fresh or frozen fruit.  If you use fresh fruit you will need to chop it.  If you use grapes, just slice them in half.  Fill jug with water, leaving about 2 inches and stir well.  Put a lid on and stir everyday for 30 to 45 days.  You will begin to see the magic happen.  Strain the wine through paper towels and bottle.  Good right away, but became stronger as it aged.
I made mine in half gallon canning jars because they were easy to find and had a wide mouth.  I suggest that wherever you decide to store this mix you place a pan under the jars or put them inside a tub.  As time goes on the mixture can fizz over when you stir it.  Discard the sediment and fruit.  Don't eat the'll regret it!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I call these "any ingredient" scones because I have made many different varieties using this as a base recipe with good results every time.

Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup of your ingredient - I used chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon flour
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup half and half or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl, mix the first 4 ingredients, no sifting required.

Place your ingredient into a bowl and add 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour and mix.  Place in the freezer until needed.  Here I used chocolate chips.  Frozen fruit works beautifully.  I have also used pecans and cubes of cheese.  The cheese scones are out of the world!

To your dry mix, add 6 Tablespoons cold butter cut into chunks.  Using a pastry cutter or a fork cut the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are incorporated and are small.
Measure out 1 cup of half and half and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.
You can use regular milk, but will have to use less than a cup or your mix will be too wet.
Add the half and half/vanilla to the flour mix and stir until barely incorporated.  Add your ingredient, stir to mix and turn out onto a large piece of floured waxed paper.  Using the was paper to help you, fold the mixture onto it self three or four times then pat it into a circle.
Cut with a pizza cutter or knife.  Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and top each piece with a small square of butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.  You can also bake them in a toaster over but the cooking time may be less, you will need to keep an eye on them.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Frito Corn Salad

1 can whole kernal corn, drained
2 jalapenos, fresh or canned, chopped
1/2 red or white onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper any color will do, chopped
1 bag of your favorite shredded cheese
1 to 1.5 cups mayo
1/2 to 1 bag of Chili Cheese Fritos

Mix well and serve.  If you are making it for later or the next day, do not add the Fritos until right before serving or they will become soggy.  This is a staple at our family cookouts!  Super easy and delicious. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Can Organizers from Product Review

My house is over a hundred years old, it was built in 1905, so closets barely exist much less a pantry.  So in one room I made my own pantry using free standing and wall shelves and it was a mess!  I looked for some type of can rotation system and found  They offer cardboard can rotation boxes for a reasonable price, 4 pack for $13.96 plus shipping.  Cardboard! you say, but just price the plastic and metal ones for yourself....they are PRICEY, to me anyway.  These work really well, each holding 8 to 10 cans depending on the size.  I ordered the shelf organizer, but they offer others, even some that hold bigger cans or more cans.  Now my shelves are neat and I don't have to worry about rotating most of my canned goods.  One con to these boxes is that, at first, they are a real pain to put together, and yes they come to you flat.  Instructions are provided, but are not very good.  They also offer a how-to video on youtube which was more helpful.  After you do a few, its not so bad.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Golden Salad Dressing

Golden Salad Dressing
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's dressing of the same name.  While her dressing is good, I find it to be too sweet for me so I tweaked it a bit to suit my taste.

In a 1/2 pint jar add:
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
The juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon, tangerine or orange.
Salt to taste, a good pinch
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Put the lid on the jar and shake well until blended.  What you have is a fantastic dressing for a fancy salad or just lettuce alone.  So good you could drink it!  I used an orange or tangerine that looks more like a blood orange that I bought at Wal-Mart.  I can't remember what the label said they were but it said they were supposed to have the hint of raspberry with a blushed skin.  Whatever they are, they are really good but not neccessary for this recipe.  It works equally well with a lemon, tangerine or orange. 

After a good mix:
On top of my salad.  Romaine lettuce with orange wedges.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Knives

I use Rada knives.  I use them because they are some of the best knives I've ever come across.  First, they are made in the good ole' U.S.A, second they last forever.  My mother has some Rada knives that still cut like new and she has owned them for at least 25 years.  I paid about $30 for the six knives here, including the sharpener about two years ago.  Steel blades with aluminum handles make this a light knife, but they do the job.  They are, of course, dishwasher safe and sharpen nicely with the Rada sharpener, I know because I have cut myself several times!  When sharpened they are like razor blades!  The knives here, left to right are: regular paring knife, stubby butcher, cook's knife, cook's utility, bagel knife and tomato slicer.  What I also like about these is that you can buy them individually or in sets so I was able to customize my set to fit a knife block I bought at a thrift store for $2.  Rada also carries a large variety of kitchen utensils.  Next time you need a gift or just a new knife for yourself give them a try.  You can even buy them on Amazon.


Winner will recive the Rada Cutlery 7 pc. boxed gift set.  Made in the U.S.A.  Steel blades with aluminum handles.  Set includes: cheese knife, granny paring knife, heavy duty paring knife, utility/steak knife, cooks utility knife, stubby butcher knife and the serrated slicer.  You will also receive a Rada sharpener.
To enter you MUST Google Friend Connect this blog.
This is a $55 value prize.