Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring Flavors Recipe Roundup and #Giveaway

Welcome to the April Recipe Round-Up! This months round-up brings you yummy recipes perfect for Spring. Our bloggers are sharing their favorite Spring recipes, from breakfast to dinner to dessert. Come check out what we are bringing you this month! Plus another GIVEAWAY!!

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Easter Feast and the rest of the Weekly Menu as well

Today we mourn the loss of our Lord as we remember his crucifixion and death.  It is a quiet, solemn day for Christians throughout the world.  But it is not depressing as we know that it was this suffering and death that proclaimed Jesus as our Christ and King when He was born again to show us His promise of eternal life to all who would follow Him.

Image result for good friday

So as I contemplate such deep and unconditional love.  As I am awestruck that anyone could love so selflessly and completely....I begin my plan to celebrate His love this Sunday.

Our celebration is small this year.  Chuck is not home and Nicole, Pierre and Anthony are unable to come due to work obligations.  The menu is smaller than usual but no less love will be used in the preparation.

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Easter Menu 2018

Scallop Crudo

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Spring Greens with Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette

Baked Ham
Roasted Fresh Kielbasa
Pierogi
Baked Beans
Sweet Potato Casserole
Baked Pineapple

Strawberry Shortcake Parfait

And here is the Menu for the rest of the week, mostly using leftovers.......Happy Easter Everyone!!



How do you use up your Easter leftovers?

Saturday
Out for dinner before Vigil Mass

Easter Sunday
See Menu above

Melody Monday
Farmer's Casserole

Tuesday
Carry out at Aunt Irene's

Wednesday
Kielbasa Skillet

Thursday
Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
Garlic Green Beans with Mushrooms

Fish Friday
Halibut Tacos

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Beartown; An Audible Book Review

This is a fictional account of the lives of people in a small community called Beartown.  It is a disturbing and truthful look at humankind and current life, at least in First World Countries.  Beartown could easily be the true account of any community and is probably closer to the truth in our communities than we would like to believe.

See the source image

So like the residents of Beartown, we put on our blinders.  We tell ourselves that it couldn't or wouldn't be our kids.  That we are the parents that will have more influence over our children than their peers and that we are the kind of people who would stand up and shout out about truth, honesty, goodness, kindness, responsibility and consequences in the face of popular opinion and beliefs.

My daughter, Amy, also read this novel. Neither of us knew the other had read it but when having a pedicure/lunch date we were talking about what we were reading and discovered that we had both just finished this novel.

Amy believes it should be required reading in high schools world wide.  I believe she is correct.  I also believe that it should prompt daily discussion in schools and homes. Discussions about how it is so easy to get caught up in the we/they mentality.  Discussions about overlooking someone's faults/sins/crimes because that person is important to the community/society.  Discussions about the inequality between men and women that still exists today even though we try to deny it.  Discussions about taking responsibility for your own actions.

The list goes on and on.  You could have daily dinner conversations with your teens for a month and not cover it all.

This novel by Frederik Backman is very different from the others of his that I have read and loved.  A Man Called Ove,  My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She Was Sorry,  and Britt Marie Was Here were all novels featuring loveable characters, even the cantankerous ones, who learn to accept and care for one another despite initial difference.  They are feel good novels that I enjoyed immensely.

Beartown is, by no stretch of the imagination, a feel good novel.  All of these previous audible novels were narrated by a pleasant, soft spoken voice that contributed to this relaxed, feel good atmosphere.

The narrator of Beartown has a harsh voice, perfectly suited for this novel.  It is a powerful novel and one that I would strongly recommend, especially for a book club setting where it will provide great fodder for your reviews and discussions.

There was not a lot of food in this novel.  There was however a lot of invitations to "come in for coffee".  There was also an explosion of a smoothie in the beginning of the novel when the lid was not properly placed on the blender and lots of alcohol consumed.

This inspired me to make and share this Frozen Irish Coffee.  Join me over at Foodies Read as sip our smoothie and see what the other food bloggers are reading this month.


Frozen Irish Coffee

1 c. cold coffee
1/2 c. Irish cream liqueur
2 T. chocolate syrup
2 c. ice cubes
whipped cream and chocolate syrup for garnish, if desired

Place coffee, liqueur, chocolate syrup and ice cubes into a heavy duty blender. Puree until smooth.  Divide between 2 glasses.  Garnish with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup, if desired.



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

#Recipe Redo: Corn Chowder

Today I am updating the third post and the first recipe that I ever put on this blog on September 1, 2013.

It is amazing to look back at my old posts.  My first and second posts were also on this day LOL so you can get a look at my first day of blogging AND get one of my husband's favorite recipes that I make.

My first post was simply a photo of a painting I had done with one paragraph below.  In my second post, a couple of hours later on the same day, I talked about canning salsa (no recipe though) and building a lean to for my hogs.

Then, later that night, I decided to share another post.  I liked this blogging stuff right from the get go.......

The final post of that first day contained my recipe for Corn Chowder.   I shared that each year I make pot after pot of corn chowder at my husband's request and freeze it so we can enjoy it all winter long.


And I shared this photo of all my chowder ready to go into the freezer.  No markings on the photo.  No editing of the photo.  I was green as green could be but I knew that this recipe had to be shared so I shared it.  I did know that much about blogging!

It is now nearly 5 years later.  I'm still blogging (sometimes multiple times a day) and I am still putting up corn chowder each and every year.  I pulled some out of the freezer the other day and served it up for dinner with these Ranch BBQ Beef Sandwiches.  


This time I made sure to get a photo of the actual chowder.  It is like summertime on a spoon regardless of the weather outside.   Please link back to the original recipe.  It is written for 4 servings but is easily doubled and quadrupled. 

I'm anxious to hear how you like this soup, please stop back and let me know.




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Pasta with Pork Ribs #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

Today is the final March entry for the Kitchen Matrix Cooking Project hosted by Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. 



Camilla invited us to visit the chapter on Pork Ribs in the cookbook written by Mark Bittman and create a recipe inspired by his 9 ways to serve them.

Mark only spoke of Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs in this chapter.  We love baby back ribs, especially slow grilled and slathered with BBQ sauce.  We usually follow this recipe when we get a hankering for Baby Back ribs.

We like spare ribs too and have had them Chinese Style, Slow Cooked with Cabbage, in a Cassoulet (also taken from Bittman's cookbook), and Baked.



But my favorite kind of Pork Ribs, especially during the winter months, are country ribs.  Bittman didn't even mention them.  So I adapted Bittman's recipe for Pasta with Pork Ribs to accommodate this delicious and meaty cut.

I used the slow cooker for braising on a day that was busily spent running errands and working the food pantry.  When we came home, the house smelled wonderful.  I baked up these Cheezy Garlic Muffins while the pasta water came to a boil and the pasta cooked.  Less than a half hour after walking in the door, dinner was served.



I chose the themes for each week in April.  We would love to have you join us.  You can learn how in this post by Camilla.  We post on each Tuesday of the month and these are the chapters we will be visiting for the next 4 weeks:
  • Salad Greens + 12 Ways
  • Pasta Primavera + 8 Ways
  • Shrimp + 12 Ways
  • Dessert Bar + Recipe Generator
What is your favorite type of Pork Ribs and how do you like to prepare them?  See if any of the others used your favorite technique in the links following my recipe.

Pasta with Pork Ribs
inspired by Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman

4-5 Meaty Country Ribs
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 c. dry red wine
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over med high heat.  Season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Add to the pan and sear on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.  Remove ribs from skillet to the crock of a slow cooker.  Add the red wine to the skillet along with the garlic, red pepper, basil and oregano.  Cook and stir, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomatoes with their juices and stir to combine.  Pour over the ribs, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hrs. Toss your favorite pasta with the sauce and top each serving with one or two of the ribs.  Print Recipe

Let's see what the others were inspired to make




Monday, March 26, 2018

Cheezy Garlic Muffins #MuffinMonday

It's Muffin Monday and do I have a great treat for you today.  I was cooking up a sauce for pasta in my slow cooker and it smelled sooooo good that I knew I wanted to have some bread to sop it up.

I didn't want to go through the time and trouble for a yeast bread so I thought muffins would be the perfect solution......and they were.



All the garlicky goodness of a cheese bread in less than a half an hour.  THAT is what I call a win/win.

This recipe only makes six muffins.  This is perfect when there is only 2 of you.  We each had one with dinner, one each for breakfast the next day and then the last two were turned into breakfast sandwiches with the addition of an egg and another slice of cheese the following day.  YUM.


My husband slathered his with butter but I ate mine plain and dipped in this deliciously rich sauce that I will be sharing with you tomorrow.  I love those little flecks of cheese and herbs you can see in these muffins.


Do you prefer your muffins sweet or savory?  You will find lots of choices in the links below my recipe.

Cheezy Garlic Muffins

1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 T. baking powder
2 T. butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. shredded Colby Jack Cheese
1/4 t. thyme
1/4 t. oregano

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.  Combine the milk, butter, egg, garlic, thyme and oregano in a 2 cup measuring cup.  Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Fold in the cheese.  Batter will be thick and stiff.

Divide the batter between a 6 cup muffin tin that has been treated with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin removes cleanly.  Print Recipe


Muffin Monday







#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Easiest Ever Individual Cheesecakes #EighteenCheesecakes

A few years ago, my friend Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, invited me and 13 other bloggers to join her making and blogging cheesecake recipes.

Cam chose that number and theme because she and her husband were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary.  When they got married, she and her husband chose not to have a wedding cake but served their guests cheesecakes instead.

I love Cam so I was happy to help her celebrate her anniversary.  I made an Irish Cream Cheesecake that first year and it was lovely.   The following year I made Individual Grasshopper Cheesecakes and they were scrumptious!!

Somehow the event got sidetracked last year but this year we are back in full force and I'm, once again, sharing individual cheesecakes.



These are the easiest little cheesecakes you will ever make.  I made them the first time nearly 30 years ago when one of our Sergeants was having a baby.  There were not very many females on the force 30 years ago.

We worked afternoon shift and often after work during the summer months we would gather in the parking lot after work and shoot the breeze to decompress a bit before heading home.

Donna and I were the lone 2 females on the shift at the time of her pregnancy so I recruited all the guys together and we planned a midnight baby shower for her, held in the parking lot of our police station.  Some of the guys brought snacks and I brought these individual little cheesecakes that I had found in one of those cook booklets that you find at the checkout counter of your grocery store.



We had balloons and gifts.  She was very surprised and touched.  My daughter, Amy babysat her children for many years until she went off to college and then the baton was turned over to the daughter of another officer.



I can't remember the original booklet that contained this recipe but it is simply a plain cheesecake filling poured into cupcake papers in which you have placed a nilla wafer.  Top it with some canned fruit pie filling and call it a day.

When making these for a crowd or taking them to a potluck I use several different kinds of pie filling for variety.  These are always a welcome addition to a dessert table.



Happy Anniversary Cam....Thanks for letting us share your day with you.

Easiest Ever Individual Cheesecakes

12 Vanilla Wafer Cookies
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
12 T. fruit pie filling

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.  Place a cookie in each.

Cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until light and fluffy.  Divide the cream cheese filling between the muffin cups.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30 minutes.  Turn off heat, open the door a bit and leave in the oven for another 30 minutes.  Top each cheesecake with a dollop of pie filling.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Print Recipe

More Cheesecakes for Cam






Saturday, March 24, 2018

Happy Heavenly Birthday Mom Klik....this Weekly Menu is for you


Today is Mom Klik's Birthday. She would have been 94.  This is our 2nd year without her and the 3rd birthday she is celebrating in Heaven, having died a month before her 92nd.  This is a photo of her and Frank celebrating her 90th.  She was in great shape, danced up a storm and enjoyed a family cruise with the whole family that we provided as her birthday gift that year.

We have so many wonderful memories of this lovely lady.  She was well loved and much missed, especially around special days such as this.

I have shared a lot of Mom Klik's recipes over the years.  Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy, Kielbasa and Sauerkraut, Stuffed Cabbage....these are just some of Frank's favorite foods that I continue to make for him.

I am making Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy on Monday as that is now one of Melody's favorites as well and as a nod to one of the best Mother in Laws a person could have had.



This is a busy week as we get ready for our Easter Celebration.  Tomorrow we are attending a concert in town with John and Kirsten.  We will grab dinner out afterwards.

Wednesday we will be distributing Easter Food Baskets for the Food Pantry.  Thursday begins the Triduum and we will be celebrating the washing of the feet at Mass.  Good Friday we will fast and mourn from 1-3 pm and will be singing for Mass with the choir.

Please stop by and visit during the week.  Here is the Weekly Menu.....what are you serving up this week?

Saturday
Flat Bread Pizza
Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Sunday
Out for dinner after Concert

Melody Monday
Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy
Egg Noodles
Corn

Tuesday
Carry out at Aunt Irene's

Wednesday
Leftovers

Thursday
Garlic and Pepper Chicken
Steamed Rice
Stir Fry Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Friday
Spring Pea Pasta






Friday, March 23, 2018

Roast Pork Loin with White Wine Sauce #EasterRecipes

In this household, as in many in the USA, we often serve ham for Easter.  However, there is no rule that you have to serve ham on Easter.  What if you don't like ham?  What if you don't want the high sodium content?

I normally rectify these problems with my guests by offering several meats with dinner.  But this year, I'm not having 20 guests.  In fact, I think there is only going to be 6 of us for dinner.  It's kind of senseless to make 3 or more entrees for only 6 of us.

So what is a person to do if they aren't feeding a crowd, don't want to serve ham but want to have an elegant entrée to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord?


How about this gorgeous Roasted Pork Loin with White Wine Sauce.  It makes a beautiful presentation and works wonderfully with all the traditional side dishes normally served on Easter Day.

This is out final day of Easter Week.  My Festive Foodie friends and I shared recipes on Monday and Wednesday as well under the leadership of Christie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures.  Make sure you stop by and see what the others are sharing today.  You will find links at the bottom of this post.

Monday I shared a Broccoli Gratin and Wednesday I posted a recipe for Carrot Cake Cheesecake, both of which would be perfect to serve along with this roast.



Roasted Pork Loin with White Wine Sauce
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #116

1 (3 lb) boneless pork loin roast
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. dry white wine

Cut slits all over the roast with a small knife.  Insert garlic slices into each of the slits. Season the roast with salt and pepper.  Set aside to come to room temperature.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large, oven safe skillet over med high heat.  Brown the roast on the lean side for about 5 minutes.  Flip over so that fatty side is down and sear for another few minutes.  Place into a preheated 425* oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  An internal temperature of 145* is desired.

Remove pan from oven.  Transfer roast to a platter to rest, tenting lightly with foil.  Place the skillet over med high heat and stir the flour and salt and pepper to taste into the drippings.  Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until the flour browns slightly and is nutty smelling.

Add the wine, and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the broth and continue to cook and stir until thickened adding any juices that are on the platter from the roast.

Slice the roast into 1/4" pieces and top with the pan gravy.  Print Recipe

Easter Week Recipes

Friday Easter Week Recipes

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Carrot Cake Cheesecake #EasterRecipes #FantasticalFoodFight

Today I am lucky enough to be able to combine two events into one post.

On Monday I shared with you that we are celebrating Easter along with Christie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures and the Festive Foodies group ran by Ellen of Family Around the Table.


Easter Week Recipes

I previously posted a Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin that is the perfect accompaniment to your Holiday Ham.  Today I am posting a dessert. 

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Specifically a Carrot Cake Cheesecake that I chose because Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes invited us to duke it out over Carrot Cake for this month's edition of Fantastical Food Fight.

This is the point, on last Sunday, where I stopped typing and went into my photo file to edit the photos for this post. They were GONE!!  I felt a moment of panic. 

I searched by date instead of name....nothing. 

I pulled out my back up drive, plugged it in, and searched....nothing. 

I went through each photo folder individually thinking that perhaps they got misfiled....nothing.

I went through my recycle bin...nothing.

I checked my phone photos...nothing.

I vented on the event pages and got a lot of suggestions that I tried....nothing.

I told myself, this is only a blog mishap, it is not cancer.....get over it.

Then I did what I always do when life kicks me.  I sought solace from my husband and best friend.  He asked me for my memory card that was used for the photos.  He has a recovery program for my camera on his old laptop!!!  It worked!! 

It took hours to download the thousands of photos and then I had to click on them individually as there was no rhyme or reason to the order in which they were listed but I found them....Frank always makes my life better!!!




I hope you enjoy these photos.  They were hard fought.  I know you will enjoy the cheesecake.  Making the cheesecake was the easy part of this post.  Starting with a boxed cake mix, that included a package of shredded carrots and raisins, made this cake simple and relatively quick.



I adapted this recipe to omit the coconut as we enjoyed this after taking Little Miss to see Seussical the Musical with John and Kirsten and Kirsten is allergic to coconut.  I also left off the frosting because I'm not a frosting fan.



Make sure you stop by and visit all the other Easter Recipes and Carrot Cake Recipes.  You will find links to both at the bottom of this post.



Carrot Cake Cheesecake
adapted from Duncan Hines

1 pkg. Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake Mix
1 1/4 c. hot water
eggs and oil as listed in directions on package for cake
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c. toasted walnuts, chopped
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature

Remove carrot and raisin packet from cake mix box.  Place in a bowl and cover with the hot water and let stand while you prepare the cake mix according to package directions. 

Drain and squeeze dry the carrots and raisins.  Add them to the cake batter along with the pineapple and walnuts until just blended.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla at medium speed until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, until light and fluffy.

Spoon 2 cups of the cake batter into a springform pan that has been treated with baking spray.  Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the batter in the pan.  Cover with the remaining batter and top with the remaining cream cheese mixture.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 50-60 minutes, until just set.

Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing the sides.  Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hrs. or overnight before serving.  Print Recipe


More Wonderful Easter Recipes

More Carrot Cake Creations


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ranch BBQ Beef Sandwiches #CrazyIngredientChallenge

I would like to start this post off by thanking our leader,  Kelly of Passion Kneaded, for allowing me to participate today even though I completely screwed up the theme.

The theme for this month is Buttermilk and Barbecue.  That is what I have marked in my calendar.  Somewhere between reading it on my calendar and planning my recipe, my brain changed Buttermilk to Ranch.  I have no idea how that happened.  Probably because when I make Ranch Dressing I use Buttermilk for it.

So, anyhooooooo, we had Pot Roast for dinner on Saturday.  Often when making my menu, I will plan another meal around the leftovers.  In this case, knowing thinking that the ingredients were Ranch and Barbecue, I decided that Monday night dinner would be BBQ Beef Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries. This would use up the leftover roast beef AND take care of the CIC theme, or at least what I thought was the theme.

Crazy Ingredient Challenge is a fun little group that gets together each month and creates recipes that include the same 2 ingredients.  It is fun to see what everyone makes.  Of course, it helps if everyone uses the same 2 ingredients instead of changing one of them as I did this month.


Oh well, it will still be fun to see what the others made and Kelly kindly invited me to come to the party anyway.  I'm brining along these Ranch BBQ Beef Sandwiches, they are good enough that perhaps no one will notice that I screwed up again LOL.


Ranch BBQ Beef Sandwiches

2 c. cooked and shredded roast beef (I used leftover Pot Roast)
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. hot sauce
1/2 t. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1 oz) pkg. Ranch Dip Seasoning Mix
4 hamburger buns

Whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic and Ranch seasoning in a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir in the roast beef.  Stir to combine and continue to cook over med low heat until heated through.  Divide between hamburger buns and serve.  Print Recipe

Now Let's Go See What Was Made With The Real Ingredients!!









Miso Spice #KitchenMatrixCookingProject

It's Tuesday.  That means it is #KMCP day.  Each Tuesday for the next year a few of us are getting together and sharing our thoughts on recipes inspired or taken from The Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman.  This great idea was thought up by Cam of Culinary Adventure with Camilla.  You can learn more about it and how to join in the fun at her introduction post.


Last week, I shared with you a Miso Scented Pasta with Celery.  This was inspired from the Celery section of the cookbook.  The miso stock in which I boiled the pasta came from the prior week's theme of  Quick Stocks.  


See that sprinkling of what looks like coffee on that pasta?  That is actually this month's recipe taken from the Miso section of Bittman's cookbook.  It is miso spice and Bittman compares it to Parmesan Cheese.  In fact, Bittman states that if he were on a deserted island and could only have one or the other, he would opt for the spice over the cheese.

I wouldn't go that far but it is an easy recipe and used up some of the red miso paste I had bought to make the stock.  These two recipes are my first foray using miso. They won't be my last, only because I still have half a package of miso in my fridge and it is not inexpensive so I need to use it.  
Luckily there is an entire section of recipe ideas in the Kitchen Matrix for me to experiment with.


Spread the miso, as thinly as possible, onto a parchment paper or silicone matted baking pan.  Put into a preheated 175* oven for several hours until easily lifted from the lining.  Flip over, bake for another 3-4 hrs until completely dry and able to be broken into chunks.  Place the chunks into a food processor and pulse until finely grated.  Use as you would Parmesan Cheese, or not....I think I'll stick to Parmesan.

Let's see what the others decided to make from Miso.