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Showing posts from 2015

Easy Chili

Here's my new go-to chili recipe.  I can make the seasoning mix ahead of time, so all I need to have on hand is a beer and a pound of any ground meat.  I usually use turkey.

Mimi's Chili:

1 pound ground meat of your choice (or lots of chopped up veggies or those veggie crumbles)
1 12 ounce beer (I use Blue Moon, but if you use ground beef, Guinness would be good)
1 recipe of chili seasoning (recipe follows)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 beef stock cubes or 2 teaspoons beef base
1 can chili beans (or any other kind of beans you want to use)

Put ground meat and half of the beer in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook meat until no pink remains.  Add the seasoning mix and stir.  Add tomatoes, beans, beef base and what's left of the beer.  Simmer chili covered for 30 minutes to an hour.  The longer, the better.

This is best served with shredded cheddar, chopped green onions, fresh cilantro and a big ole piece of buttermilk cornbread!

Seasoning Mix (1 recipe)

2 tablespoons chi…

Teacher Party- Pulłed Pork

Sorry I don't have an actual pic of the pulled pork yet, but I will take one this evening. 
I've always been apprehensive about making pulled pork. What if it doesn't come out tender enough?  What if it doesn't have enough flavor?  But not anymore. What has changed my pulled pork world?  My pressure cooker.  I've cooked pork shoulder in my Instapot 3 times- and it has been perfect every time. 
I don't think there's any one right way to do this. You can adjust it to your tastes.  
In my opinion, the secret to good pulled pork is the dry rub. There are tons of brands on the market, but I like to make my own.  Here's my basic combination: brown sugar, granulated garlic, granulated onion, finely ground black pepper, salt, and smoky paprika. Amounts?  Depends on how much butt you're rubbing and what flavor profile you like. I like more brown sugar and garlic.  
However, for this party, I went a little crazy and cleaned out my spice pantry. 
I order most of my…

Pesto v. 1.0

After spending some time in the herb patch this morning, I decided to make pesto. 
The first experiment involved sage and cashews. 
Classic pesto contains basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. 
I decided to do something a bit different. I picked a huge bunch of sage leaves, and threw them in my mini food processor with 2 small cloves of garlic, some salt and pepper, cashews and olive oil. I didn't add the cheese because I'm going to freeze this. I'll add grated Parmesan when I'm ready to use it. 
I just blitzed everything into a paste, scraped it into a small mason jar, put a layer of olive oil on the top, and popped it in the freezer. 
Easy!

Eggs with Sweet Potato Hash

I made turkey burgers for dinner last night.  I can't eat turkey burgers without sweet potato fries.

When I was making dinner last night, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, because I made way too many sweet potato fries.  So I popped them into a container and stashed them in my icebox.

Fast forward to this morning, when I was rummaging around looking for something to make for breakfast.

I saw the container of sad little sweet potato fries on the shelf.  I started thinking about what I could do with them... what about some kind of hashbrowns?  I had about 1/8th of a bag of regular frozen hashbrowns in the freezer... an idea began to take shape.

Here's what I did....

Sweet Potato Hash

2 tablespoons bacon grease or olive oil or butter
A handful of leftover sweet potato fries, chopped up (any kind of pre-cooked sweet potato will do)
A handful of grated frozen hashbrowns (any kind will do)
Half a small onion, chopped
6 small mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
s/p

In an 8inch…

Tuna Two Ways...

This summer, I will be primarily contributing to the other blog I have, called 1700 Miles of Cooking. The blog is a joint venture with my best friend, Diane.  We've had the blog forever, but we almost never update it.  This summer we have committed to bringing it back!

Here's the link, so go take a look at the post on cooking tuna!


My First Coffee Cupping (Tasting)

So I'm going to let the pictures I took speak for themselves...

Summer Lunches

This is what summer lunches look like at our house sometimes. To tell the truth, these are my favorites. I get to clean odds and ends out of my ice box- and get away with eating cheese and crackers for lunch. Plus I found beautiful figs at Whole Foods and this is my favorite way to consume them. 
Here's to many more summer lunches!

Cheater Calzones and Thoughts about My Blog...

Lately I've been a little bummed about the state of food blogging.  I've had this blog for almost 8 years, and although I've never monetized it, I admire people who make money from their blogs.  It seems like the days of being paid "per click" are gone, so the only way to make money on a blog is to do sponsored posts.  And sometimes, that feels dishonest.  People should be able to blog about whatever they want, not choose what to blog based on their ability to pay the bills.

Anyhoo, I've never had much traffic or comments here.  I get much more play on my Facebook and Instagram accounts.  Which has been making me think.  I have mainly been using my Instagram to journal about my cooking day to day.  I really only use the blog for original recipes.  It makes them easier to share.  I feel like my online presence is shifting from the blog to other, shorter forms of communication.  And I'm ok with that.  My blogging will never pay the bills.  I'll stick t…

Farm Tour!

So I celebrated my first full day of Spring Break 2015 by taking a tour of our local organic farm, Osage Farms.  I took about a thousand pictures. I find loading pictures on my blog to be absolutely tedious, so I'll link you to my Flickr page and you can see them there.

I have been a customer there for about 2 years, and I really love the place.  I buy my eggs, milk and most of my other dairy there, as well as fresh veggies and organic, local cheeses.

My husband and I plant a garden every year, and it was cool to get to ask questions and get information about how some of these plants behave in our climate.  When I lived in Savannah, it was easy to grow things because it's so warm.  Out here, I've had to learn everything by trial and error.  I never know what things will thrive, and what things will die.

In a few weeks they'll have their bedding plants for sale.  I like to buy their stuff because I know it was raised organically, and I know it will grow here, because …

Natural Product Review- Tea Tree Oil

Next on my list of items to replace was my acne cream.

Although I've never had awful acne, I do suffer from occasional breakouts, usually associated with PMS.

Because of the frequent breakouts, I used to keep acne cream on hand.

After reading up on natural remedies, I noticed tea tree oil kept coming up in magazines and books as a very effective treatment for acne.  So I decided to give it a try.

So far, I've been impressed.  You can use the essential oil straight up, or combine it with other things to make it a bit less powerful.  I use it straight up.  I put it on a cotton ball and apply it wherever I need it.  Actually, I've begun using it once a day in the spots I know I have trouble, to see if I can ward off breakouts before they happen.  I'll let you know if it works.

I will say that this stuff is fairly odiferous.  I don't mind the smell- it's sort of piney.  But some folks might not like it.

Natural Product Review- Jane Iredale Dream Tint Moisturizer

This was one of the first natural products I invested in when I decided to eliminate chemicals from my daily routine.

This was pricey.  I mean, like it hurt to place the order.  I paid $39.00 for this stuff.  I think I sat and stared at the screen for about 5 minutes before I mustered up the courage to hit the "confirm order" button.  But I'm so glad I did!

I read about this company in the book No More Dirty Looks.  I highly recommend this book for people who want to learn about the dangers of chemicals in personal care products.  Dream Tint was a product they recommended by name.  After looking at the whole line of Jane Iredale products, I'm pretty sure this won't be my only purchase from them.

I adore this stuff.  Firstly, I don't use very much, so this tube could last at least 6 months.  The coverage is light.  It makes my skin feel so soft, and the tint is very subtle.  It almost has a matte effect.  And I love the fact that it has safe SPF built in!  I …

Going Green

I have been struggling with making a decision for a long time now.  For the last few years I've been making great strides in eliminating processed foods from my diet, and switching over to mostly organic foods.  I understand the need to be careful about what goes into my body.  But there was one area I seemed blissfully ignorant about- my personal care products.  I'm not sure why I never thought about the zillions of chemicals that get absorbed through my skin.

So I started educating myself about it.  And what I learned scared me to death.  I started with the book No More Dirty Looks.  After I finished that, I read The Green Beauty Guide.  Then I checked out the Environmental Working Group website.  I use their cosmetic ingredient database, as well as their new FoodScores app, which identifies safe, organic food options.

Now I'm slowly but surely replacing my chemically dirty personal care products with clean, natural options.  I am finding that this is a daunting, sometim…

My Favorite BBQ Sauce Recipe

These are the raw ingredients for my favorite bbq sauce.  I have tried quite a few different recipes, but none of them grab me the way this one does.  I think it's because of the molasses and chipotle.

I found this recipe on the Foodnetwork.com site years ago-way before I ever started blogging.  As a matter of fact, I think it was the first from-scratch condiment I ever attempted.  Now I regularly make bbq sauce, ketchup and mustard.

This is a Bobby Flay recipe.  It went with a burger recipe, but that part of it was lost years ago.  It looks like there are 3,000 ingredients, but honestly, I have every single one of them in my pantry at any given time, so it really isn't hard.  Oh- and I ALWAYS double it.  I give a few small jars away, then find excuses to slather the rest on anything I can find! :)

Here's the rundown:

Bobby's BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup ketchup (I use my own homemade, but if you don't …

Chai French Toast

This was my culinary project for Sunday Brunch.

Yesterday we drove to Grand Junction to do some shopping, and on the way out of town we stopped at one of our favorite places to eat sushi- No Coast Sushi.  Will wanted dessert, so we ordered the Chai Creme Brûlée.  It was delicious.  I guess that's what inspired me to try this out.

So I don't make French toast very often, and I'm not sure why.  It's pretty much easier than pancakes or waffles, and you get the same sort of carb-soaked bang for your buck.

I really don't have a recipe for French toast, but here's what I think I did...

Chai French Toast

3 slices homemade bread- or something of good quality- not white sandwich bread- mine were huge
3 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 good pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup chai tea liquid concentrate
3 scant tablespoons unsalted cultured butter (or regular)
a few pinches of kosher salt
maple syrup for the table

First, I cut 3 pretty thick (about an inch) slices of homemade bread.…

Reflecting...

I was looking at my blog stats this weekend.  I don't do that very often, because I don't make any money off my blog, and I really just use it as an easy way to transmit recipes to people when they ask me for them.

But I saw something odd.  The number one most popular post on my blog- and I mean over the entire time it has existed (2007)- is Brunswick Stew.  And it wasn't even a real version.  It was a total and complete cheat.  I have no idea on earth why people find this recipe.  I don't even think I used key search terms with it because I didn't know what they were.

Just for fun, I'll post the link to it here.  Seriously, people have way too much time on their hands....

Here's my cheater Brunswick Stew.

Old School Simple Egg Salad

Egg salad may be the least photogenic salad in the universe.  I tried to get all artsy with it.  But it still looked like sewage.  So this post will have no picture of the yumminess.  But I felt the picture of Duke's would suffice, because using the best mayo you can get your hands on is essential.

Egg salad really only has 2 ingredients: eggs and mayo.  Everything else is just window dressing.  So you need to get the best eggs and the best mayo you can.

I am an egg snob.  I am fortunate enough to live about 10 minutes away from Osage Organic Farm which sells organic, free range eggs.  I can even go and spend time with the chickens if I want to.  Most of the time I don't, but I could.   I think organic, cruelty free eggs are important.  End of sermon.

I've written in another post about my fanaticism when it comes to Duke's mayo.  I've smuggled gallons of this stuff out of the South.

As far as variations on this recipe, there are untold millions.  The number of egg…

Tuna Fish Salad

School starts back this week.  No more gainful unemployment for us.  This means many sad things.... No more breakfast at 10am.  No more leisurely trips to the grocery store after lunch to dream about dinner.  You get the idea.

One of the worst things about working is figuring out lunch.  My husband and I are teachers, which means we have very little time to eat lunch (especially on the days when we have lunch duty).  It's a treat to have time to leave campus and eat food from the outside world.

So we brown bag it.  A lot.  And it gets boring.  And it's not what I want to be thinking about as I'm doing the dishes from dinner.  And I guess I whine a lot about it.  Moving on.

Since today is our very last day of Winter Break, I decided to get a jump on lunches for the week.  I know tomorrow is going to be a long, hard day- so lunch needs to be something decent.

I made 2 different old-school salads.  This post will center around the tuna fish salad.

As a kid, this was one of m…

Blender Salsa

I think everyone has their own recipe for salsa.  Because honestly, even the worst homemade salsa is fathoms better than store bought.

Since I've been making salsa at home, I've become quite a snooty salsa person.  Jarred salsa just tastes too salty and bland.

One of the things I like about making my own salsa is, I can use up stuff I have in the icebox.  What I've written here is a base recipe, but you can put anything you want in salsa.

I use canned ingredients during the winter, because the fresh produce at the grocery store usually leaves something to be desired, or my store has no organic option.  In the summer, I grow and roast my own peppers.  I usually freeze a few batches, but those are long gone.  If you want to sub fresh stuff, please do!

At the end of the recipe, I will show you pictures of the brands I use for the canned stuff.  These are just my personal preference.  But I do think that if you use quality ingredients, there's no way you can go wrong!

I…

Simple Guacamole

Have you ever read one of those articles in a magazine or on the interwebz that asks you what food you would choose to take with you if you were trapped on a deserted island?

If I found myself deserted on an island, one of the foods I'd take with me would be avocados.  I would also insist on limes and salt,  because why have avocados if you don't have lime or salt?

One of my favorite delivery methods to get avocados from the counter to my stomach is guacamole.

But what I've discovered in my 40s is that my favorite type of guacamole is simple.  It's not that I won't eat complicated guacamole, but if left to my own devices, all I really need is a ripe avocado, some lime and some salt.  Everything else is negotiable.

My best friend Diana knows I love guacamole.  She gave me a molcajete for making authentic guac.  It's basically a mortar and pestle made from lava rock.  The texture it gives the guacamole just can't be replicated any other way.  But I don't…

Chicken Potpie and a huge Cuisinart FAIL

I roasted a chicken earlier this week, and I had a container of shredded meat in the icebox that needed to be used up.

I pondered several options: fajitas, quesadillas, bbq, stir fry, fried rice, etc. I decided to wonder through my often-forgotten digital collection of recipes.  Since the advent of Pinterest, I have completely neglected both my cookbook collection and my digital recipe collection.  It's so much easier to just type in what I'm looking for in Pinterest, I never look anywhere else anymore.  But really, that's crazy!  I have so many other recipe resources right in my own house!

After looking around,  I decided on potpie.  I haven't made it in ages, and I found a biscuit pie crust recipe I'd forgotten about, and this was a perfect opportunity to dust it off and take it for another spin.

Credit where credit is due... the crust recipe is from an amazing food blog called "Closet Cooking."  I have been following this blog for a few years now, and…

New Years Resolution #1

Everyone is posting about New Years Resolutions this week.  I guess I'm going to add to the trend.

I am resolving to reduce the number of harmful chemicals in my life this year.  I've been doing that for a while in the food category, but this year I'm adding cosmetics and other beauty products.

Your skin absorbs every bit as much chemical crud (or possible even more) than your mouth and digestive system.  It only makes sense to educate yourself about the chemicals you are feeding your skin.

I've done quite a bit of research into this topic over the last few months.  I won't go into a lot of details now, but trust me when I say some of the stuff out there is scary.

I work for a living, and I don't have time to make all my own food AND stir up batches of beauty products on the weekends.   So, I've been researching safe brands and ingredients.

This is a picture of the first product I have purchased with my resolution in mind.  It's tinted moisturizer- so …

Welcome to the World, Delainey Marie!

I have a grand-niece!  Can I really be that old?

My niece Taylor gave birth to Delainey Marie today!  What a great way to start a New Year!

I'm mailing off her blanket tomorrow.  I have a feeling she'll be the recipient of many more knitting projects in the future...

Mommy and baby are both happy and healthy- and you can't ask for more than that.

Welcome to this crazy world, Delainey.  I can't wait to see what life has in store for you.

My Hot Tea Addiction

This is my new best friend.  It's been wicked cold outside so far this week, and I've been mainlining hot tea the whole time.  I love organic Earl Grey, but I can't do the caffeine later in the day.

This stuff is quickly becoming my absolute favorite.  It's naturally decaffeinated, so I don't have to worry about pulling an all-nighter, or drinking chemically decaffeinated tea.  It has a very warm, smooth flavor and goes great with sweet and savory things.  I especially like it with a piece or two of authentic shortbread.

I figure I'll go through a truck load of this between now and May.