Archive for June, 2010


Cajun Potatoes

June 29, 2010

We had ribs for dinner the other night with these Cajun potatoes.   I hadn’t made this dish in a long time probably because there was a time when we ate them too often. 

These potatoes always remind me of camping.  When my husband and I were dating we made them for the first time on a camping trip.  Then when we were first married I made them, a lot.  They taste great reheated in the skillet for breakfast.

This dish is pretty simple, you just stick it on the grill and leave it.

Let’s fire up that grill!

Cajun Potatoes

  • 4 large potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced I must admit that this time I didn’t use a whole green pepper  I used half of one because that’s all I had.
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Cajun seasoning, I use Tony Chachere’s
  • 1 C Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Mix the potatoes, onion, and pepper in a foil pan.  Cut up the butter and place on top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning, to taste.  Cover with tin foil and place on the grill for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Remove the foil, toss and sprinkle the cheese on top.  Continue to grill until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. 

Hey-how do you prepare your ribs?  I like to take the ribs, rap the slab in foil, add some sliced onion and pepper to it and stick it on the grill 20 minutes a side.  Then I remove the slab from the foil and let it brown for a few minutes on each side then add BBQ sauce and honey.  That way the ribs don’t get too charred and the ribs are so tender from steaming/cooking in their own juices.


Welcome to the Jungle

June 27, 2010

I know that I’ve been complaining about all the rain we’ve been having the last month and a half.  It has rained almost everyday for that long.  Usually it’s been a storm.  Lots of thunder and lightning.  It’s brought a lot of mushrooms in the yard.  It’s also made my vegetable garden a jungle.  My aqua cones seem like an after thought.  I’ve been weeding it as best that I can. 

That picture is of my zucchini.  I’ve got a few veggies growing on the vines and tons of zucchini flowers.  I’m looking forward to my neighbor coming into my yard to take the male flowers to fry.  Sometimes I think I grow the zucchini as much for those fried flowers as the squash itself. 

Here is one of my tomato plants.  I love those ladders that I bought this year.  In the past I would use some rebar and fasten the plant to the bar.  I don’t have to fasten anything to these ladders, plus they are sturdy and tall.  I’m planning on getting a few more next spring once we expand the garden.

Here are some Romas.  I love the flavor of the Roma tomato.  A beefsteak is a great tomato, too, but nothing comes close to the Roma.

These little babies are cherry tomatoes.  I have about 50 getting ready to turn red.  Meeshie will just stand at the garden and eat them like grapes right off the vine.  She and my husband love cherry tomatoes.  I have to say that they are my least favorite tomato.  I think it’s the pop in my mouth that puts me off.

Here is my celery.  A few weeks ago it looked like something was eating it.  What could be bothering my celery?  I have fencing around it, afterall.  Well a baby rabbit had gotten into the garden by boroughing under some of the fencing.  I was ready to ring the rabbit’s neck, but Meeshie saw it and wanted to keep it as a pet.  That is never going to happen here.  It goes without saying that I’m not a fan of the rabbits.  They are everywhere here and they eat everything in sight.

Here’s my cucumbers.  This plant has tons of flowers on it.  I planted cucumbers a few years ago and never got a single one.  I’m pretty hopeful this year.

Here’s just one of the peppers that I’ve planted.  These are a sweet banana pepper.  I’ve also planted jalapeno.  On the side of the garage is some cilantro, basil and oregano.  Can’t wait to make some  fresh salsa!

I started composting this spring.  One of my girlfriends suggested that I keep coffee grounds and egg shells to help with my rose bushes.  Unfortunately, the rose bushes didn’t come back and I had to replace them. 

I started keeping the waste in a coffee can, but the smell was horrible.  I bought this compost pail and have been putting some vegetable scraps in there too.  When we started the garden in May, I dumped the contents in there along with some top soil.

I just emptied the pail again over the weekend and Meeshie and my husband have been complaining about the smell.  I sprinkled the compost around my herbs and underneath my Japanese maple.  I told them to put their big boy pants on.  Stop being such Sally’s and be quiet.

That’s where I have those beautiful wind flowers.  A little smell for a few days is worth all this bounty, don’t you think?


Butterscotch Coffee Cake

June 25, 2010

When Meeshie was about a week old, my husband came home from work and handed me a piece of paper. 

You have to make this recipe.

I do?

Yes.  I had this today at work and you have to make it.  It’s awesome.

We had been invited to a get together at one of our neighbor’s houses that weekend so I decided I would give it a try.  Of course, I didn’t know these neighbors because we hadn’t been living in our house long before Meeshie came along.  I’m not afraid to make a new dish so I gave it a try.  It didn’t hurt that most of the ingredients are things that I keep in the pantry.

It was such a big hit.  I’ve made this cake again and again.  It’s best when it’s still warm but since it doesn’t really stay around long once I make it, it doesn’t really matter what temperature it is.  The pudding in the recipe makes it extra moist and if you love butterscotch, you will love this cake.  I’ve had others say they have put brown sugar on the top instead of the granulated sugar, but I’ve not tried that yet.  I think that would add an extra layer of yumminess, don’t you? Or maybe mix some brown sugar with the granulated sugar.

Butterscotch Coffee Cake

  • 1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 box (3.4 Oz. Box) Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 2 whole Eggs

  • ⅓ cup Sugar
  • ¾ cup Chopped Pecans
  • ¾ cup Butterscotch Morsels
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Mix the pudding as directed and let set. Add the cake mix and eggs to the pudding. Mix until blended and pour into a greased jelly roll pan. Mix the ingredients together for the topping, sprinkle on top of the cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


    Tomato Bacon Dip

    June 24, 2010

    Once again, we had thunderstorms roll in yesterday.  The creek down the road has overflowed, again.  It seems like we’ve been a perpetual state of flood watch.  There was a hint of tornado talk yesterday evening too.  I love a good storm but I’m getting tired of the rain.  My husband said he feels like we live in Florida, I’m thinking Seattle. 

    Since the rain is making me melancholy I want to share this recipe with you.

    I made an amazing dip over the weekend. 

    I found it on Tasty Kitchen and it was submitted by a friend I made on this blog.  She is a sweet lady that lives over the border in Wisconsin.  

    I love a good dip.  When I saw this one I was immediately interested.  My husband loves BLT dip and I thought he might like this.  I liked that you didn’t need to cook a pound of bacon and mix it with a cup of mayo.  Let’s face it, BLT dip is not the most figure flattering dip going.  That’s probably why my husband likes it so much.  He likes BLT dip so much that when I told him I planned to make this dip he wasn’t exactly excited.  Until he tried it.  This dip has a lot of flavor and is very simple to make.  My only complaint about the dip is that I didn’t double it. 

    As clarification, I do not have garlic salt, so I used granulated garlic instead.  Also, I peeled two Roma tomatoes but did not seed them.  Since I always serve BLT dip with toast, I served this dip with whole wheat crackers.

    Tomato Bacon Dip

  • 8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Mayo
  • Garlic Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tomato – Peeled, Seeded, And Chopped
  • 6-8 Slices Of Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • With a hand mixer, blend cream cheese, mayo and garlic salt.

    Continue mixing in tomatoes with the mixer to blend completely.

    When ready to serve, stir in the bacon.

    Serve with rye chips, Wheat Thins, bread pieces, or any cracker that would hold dip well. Fresh veggies also work well with this dip.




    June 22, 2010

    We have a pug.  We’ve had him for three years.  We got him when he was a year old.  His name is Vader.  As in Darth Vader.  He sneezes a lot.  He breathes heavy.  He snores.  He jumps.   He eats the cat’s food.  He won’t go outside if it’s raining.  He follows me around everywhere I go.  Basically he is a pest.  He is the Dark Lord.

    Meeshie loves him.  I mean LOVES him.  He is her favorite thing in the entire world.  The princess loved Anakin, right?  Vader, of course, doesn’t reciprocate unless she is eating.  Vader is her BFF when that girl eats because she drops so much food.

    Meeshie talks about Vader constantly.  She looks for pugs where ever she goes.  She talks about Vader’s big ol eyes.  She talks about his curly tail. 

    Meeshie says the word pug so much that we charge her a quarter every time she says it.  Making her part with her money once a week with the tally has really helped curb her obsession.  

    Vader allowed this picture because he is sitting next to me.  Look at him, he’s ready to bolt.  He did jump down and then got right back up next to me once Meeshie moved.  The Dark Lord doesn’t like it when you bother his private time. 

    You can’t tell, but the first picture in the post took about an hour to get.  Every time I would move to take the picture, Vader would sit next to me.  Meeshie would slide next to him and then we would start the process over again.  We needed to take a picture of the two of them for a class project.


    Wind Flowers

    June 20, 2010

    I planted these wind flowers in March.  Then I planted some begonias.  Then we had a frost or two, or three times.  Both flowers are not hardy in this climate until after the last frost.  Parts of March were so mild that I was anxious to plant, so I did.  Then I sweated that decision every time it dipped down to 30.  The wind flowers and the begonias both need to be dug up in the fall and stored  for the winter. 

    They are called wind flowers because they are bout 6 inches tall and sway in the wind.  We have plenty of wind out here being surrounded by farms.  They bloom continually all summer,  and I really love the colors.

    They last well in a vase for up to 10 days, but they are a thirsty little flower.

    They smell fresh.

    Now I’m waiting for the begonias to bloom and my balloon flowers.  But I’m having issues with the balloon flowers.  That issue is rabbits and that is post for another day.



    June 18, 2010

    Last week I started making blueberry liquor.  Three weeks ago I started limoncello.   Neither one of those are near ready, so because it’s Friday.  because it’s Father’s Day weekend.  Because it’s the sun may finally come out this weekend, with a vengeance,  I thought I would share two great warm weather cocktails.

    Fuzzy Sherbet

    • Andre peach flavored sparkling wine
    • Dean’s Lemonberry Sherbet

    I made this for the communion party.  I take about half of the sherbet, softened and place in a pitcher.  Then I add a bottle of the sparkling wine.  I’ve garnished it with a cherry, or oranges but you don’t have to.  This is so light and refreshing.  A really great summer time drink.

    Here’s the sparkling wine.  It’s usually sold for about $5 a bottle.

    Here’s the sherbet.

    Captain’s Punch

    • Dole pineapple orange banana juice
    • Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Waive Runner

    I started putting these two together because the Captain Morgan’s is too much alone so I cut the flavor with the Dole and I love the flavor.  I use half of the juice in proportion to the Captain. 

    Here’s the Dole juice.

    Here’s the Captain Morgan’s  I think they come in a 6 pack and are sold by the wine coolers.

    Cheers!  Here’s to a nice relaxing Father’s Day weekend.  Hopefully the sun will come out for longer than an hour.  I’m beginning to think that I live in Seattle with all this rain.


    Blueberry Raspberry Coffee Cake

    June 15, 2010

    I made this cake this morning and brought it to work.  It was still warm and let me tell you this cake tastes awesome when it is still warm.  It is so good warm but it is just as good room temperature. 

    I also made it a few weeks ago for breakfast and used blackberries instead of the raspberries.  It was good too, but I think I like the raspberries best.  Maybe it’s the color contrast.  Maybe it’s the tart with the sweet. 

    I used to make this cake for my dad.  The funny thing is he hated blueberry.  He thought all blueberries taste like dirt.  He would always say that whenever someone talked about blueberries.  Oh those things, they taste like dirt.  As passionately as he hated blueberries, he loved raspberries.  We used to have a raspberry bush in our yard when I was a girl.  I remember standing out in the yard in my nightgown and picking them to add to our cereal.  I’m not sure what happened to that bush.   But I do miss those fresh raspberries.

    Any way somehow my dad approved of this cake and really enjoyed it.  Since Meeshie asked me to buy raspberries last week and since we still have a gross of blueberries in the freezer from last July, I made this cake.

    Blueberry Raspberry Coffee Cake

    • 3 cups Flour
    • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
    • ½ teaspoons Salt
    • ½ cups Butter, Softened
    • 1-½ cup Sugar
    • 2 whole Eggs
    • 1 cup Sour Cream
    • 1 cup Blueberries
    • 1 cup Raspberries
    • _____
    • 1 cup Sugar
    • ⅔ cups Flour
    • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
    • ½ cups Butter

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan.

    Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Cream the butter in a large bowl until light, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix the eggs in one at a time. Mix in the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Combine the berries in a small bowl. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, spoon the berries over the batter and top with the remaining batter.

    For the topping, combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the butter and cut it into the dry mixture until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the cake.

    Bake for an hour or until a tester comes out clean.


    Wild Asparagus

    June 13, 2010

    We have wild asparagus growing near where we live.  There is nothing that compares to it.  Wild asparagus is something we look forward to once the weather starts to break.  I sent my husband out to find some in early May when we were over at my sister’s house but the weather wasn’t quite warm enough yet to find much. My nice Italian neighbor goes out and brings me some.  I’ve never looked for it myself.  This past year the neighbor was supposed to take me so I know what to look for in the grass but she’s been busy.  Something to do with her youngest daughter having twins. 

    My brother-in-law called me Friday night to let me know that they had some so I picked it up yesterday.  The great thing about the wild asparagus is that even the bigger pieces are good to eat.  We love the asparagus tossed in olive oil with salt and pepper.  We throw it on the grill.  But now I’m excited to try it with something new. 

    Truffle salt.  I was fortunate enough to have someone send me a comment about this wonderful salt and I had to try it.  I actually made green beans with it this week.  I make the fresh green beans in a saute pan with some bacon grease.  Once the beans are cooked I add bread crumbs and some Parmesan cheese.  This time I added the truffle salt too, just a pinch and Meeshie had two extra helpings! Usually I’m trying to get her to each just one small helping.

    We also went to a graduation party yesterday and someone made the most wonderful appetizer with asparagus.  The asparagus was cut 3 inches long and wrapped in ham.  The ham had cream cheese and mustard inside.  I had never seen anything like it before.  It was so simple and elegant looking.  The nutty crunch of the fresh asparagus and the ham/mustard combo was so unique.

    Thankfully I have some of this great veggie on hand to enjoy for a little while.


    Pulled Pork

    June 12, 2010

    We love pulled pork.

    I used to always make pulled pork in the crock pot with the barbecue sauce but now I don’t. That’s because pulled pork is so versatile. Of course we love it as sandwich in barbeque sauce but we love it as a pulled pork taco too. Or enchiladas. Or quesadillas. It seems that using the meat without anything except the seasoning I cook it in really opens it to so many things.

    Pulled Pork

    • 2-4 lb boneless pork shoulder
    • 1 package of dry Italian dressing seasoning (I use Good Seasons)
    • Onion, sliced
    • up to 2 C Water

    Remove the string from the port roast and place the roast in the crock pot. Add enough water to the pot to cover the roast less than half way. Sprinkle the seasoning on top of the roast and add a few rings of sliced onion. Cook in the crock pot, on low, for 6-8 hours. Carefully remove the roast from the pot. It will be very tender. You can remove the onion from the roast or not. It’s up to you. Transport the roast to a plate and use two forks to shred.

    When I’m ready to prepare the pork for a barbeque sandwich I add the desired amount to a pan along with barbecue sauce and honey. Right now we are on a KC Masterpiece kick but we also like Sweet Baby Ray’s. I’ll serve it a nice french roll with Swiss cheese. I know, Swiss cheese. I don’t know why, but it really adds to the flavor of the sandwich. Of course Meeshie doesn’t like Swiss cheese and some days she doesn’t even want the pulled pork on a roll but she loves barbecue pulled pork.

    When I’m ready to prepare the pork for a taco or quesadilla I add the desired amount to a pan along with a small amount of water or chicken broth. Just enough so that the meat won’t stick to the pan while you heat it through. Then prepare the taco or quesadilla with whatever you like. The meat doesn’t need any additional seasoning, in my opinion. Just add whatever you want on your taco. I add cheese, salsa, lettuce, olives, and sour cream. I usually stick to just cheese when I make these quesadillas, but you could add grilled onion and mushrooms.

    This meat freezes well too so you can have one meal and then pull the meat out of the freezer to enjoy it another way in a week or two. Or do like I did this week, have barbecue pulled pork sandwiches on Sunday and pulled pork quesadillas on Wednesday.

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