Saturday, December 5

Just a little better

I know its been ages since my last post and I am sorry for that. Life seemed to keep me away. Although I have been practicing on my cake decorating skills and have even had an order! LOL Okay well it was for my neighbors granddaughter but it still counts. :)

This was made with marshmallow fondant instead of the traditional. More kid friendly for a 2 year old birthday party. Simple to make and just as pretty and easy to decorate with.

More post to come...I'm loaded with a new computer and out! LOL

Friday, July 10

Cake help?

I am not a cake decorator, but I would like to get better. Suggestions? I taught myself to knit online so I'm thinking some ubber cake expert out there can point me in the right direction. My daughters 7th birthday cake. Not BAD...but not good either. I don't want to be perfect by any means. Just something I can be more proud to show. LOL

Thursday, June 11

Summer Broccoli Salad

My kids are officially out of school for summer break as of today. So my stress load increases double and my time is basically cut in half through no fault of their own. You all know how much I love salads. Pasta, chicken, fruit, you name it and I'm all over it. Especially if it keeps well in the refrigerator and can be made ahead of time. Anything that makes quick and healthy lunches is right up my alley.

This salad recipe is really to DIE for. I got the recipe from my Aunt Nancy in Virginia. She being a wonderful hostess usually serves this mouth watering side at just about all parties, backyard BBQ's, and family drop ins. It can add some class to any table and is so quick and yummy. You'll be sure to start adding it to your weeknight menus like I did.

Broccoli Salad

2 heads fresh broccoli
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 lb of bacon
2 -1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (or cheese of choice)

Optional add ins: black olives, almonds, cherry tomatoes and sunflower seeds
Substitute: Splenda can be used with great results.

Cook bacon thoroughly and crumble into pieces. Chop broccoli florets into small bite sized pieces. Mix broccoli, onion, bacon and cheese in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Best if refrigerated over night. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2

Rolls you won't mind lugging around...

My family, especially my daughter has a major weakness when it comes to cinnamon rolls. When I say that I mean...not a crumb or even a smudge of icing left on the platter. These are a great way for me to show a little homegrown love on lazy Sunday mornings. 

A few weeks ago my friend Stephanie over at A Close Knit Family mentioned having seen a recipe using potatoes. I had never heard of such a thing and was frankly a little weary. Then...there it was in a recent Bon Appetite magazine...Yukon Gold Cinnamon Rolls. I had to try them and boy am I glad I did! Using potatoes not only made a beautiful dough...the rolls were extremely tasty and moist. Who knew mashed potatoes could be so versatile! So next time you make mashed potatoes...same some for cinnamon rolls. 

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 3 1/4-ounce envelopes active dry yeast (scant 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 1/3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached
  • all purpose flour
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

For dough:
Combine potatoes, 2 cups water, and 1 tablespoon coarse salt in large saucepan. Boil until potatoes are very tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Mash potatoes with water in pan (do not drain water). Add butter and mash until butter is melted. Whisk in eggs, then 1 cup flour; mash until very smooth. Let potatoes stand until barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 1/2 cup warm water into large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; stir in yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add potato mixture to yeast mixture; mix on low speed until well blended, 2 minutes. Mix in 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well. Beat until sticky dough forms.

Spread 1/2 cup flour on work surface. Scrape dough out onto floured work surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 8 minutes.

Coat large bowl with butter. Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make filling:
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in medium bowl. Using fork, mix in butter.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Turn dough out onto well-floured work surface. Roll out dough to 24x16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling evenly over dough. Starting at 1 long side, roll up dough jelly-roll style, enclosing filling. Using large knife dipped in flour, cut roll crosswise into 12 pieces. Transfer rolls to baking sheet, spacing rolls about 3/4 inch apart. Cover baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes (rolls will be very puffy).

Bake cinnamon rolls until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool rolls 10 minutes on baking sheet.

Meanwhile, make glaze: 
Whisk powdered sugar, melted butter, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla, and coarse salt in small bowl. If glaze is too thick to spread, add more milk by 1/2 teaspoonfuls as needed. Spread glaze over warm rolls.

I also want to thank sweet ole Mrs. Honeysuckle from Honeysuckle Nectar for my most recent blog award. :::blushing::: Thank you so very much. She has three very wonderful blogs. Go check them out. 

I would love to pass this award to

 Melissa Have You Seen My Sanity

Grace A Southern Grace

Kim Blessed Hope

Karen Phit Diva

Sunday, May 17

Healthy Snacks #1: CHEESE STRAWS

I'm trying to get back on the horse. These past month my children's diet has been less thanhealthily. Not that we eat perfectly, but prepackaged and take out have increased double.  I've bought more Lunchables than I care to say. Now I'm trying to find a bit of normalcy in my life and spend more time in the kitchen making our meals than buying them. 

This goes for snack foods too. No more Gripes or Little Debbie's. Back to the old recipes and a few new. This recipe is one that my two oldest love to see in their backpacks for school snacks. Light and very crispy. Made with real cheese and so much healthier than store bought cheese crackers. I like being able to pronounce the ingredients in my children's snacks. Pet peeve of mine. Not to say we are perfect...they have had their share of Ritz and Little Debbie's. But these will make you never want to buy a box of cheese crackers again! You can make them extra spicy or mild. Melt in your mouth texture with the perfect snap...great for toddlers, finger food for the big game, picnics, pair with a bowl of hot chili, tomato soup, or a packed lunch. If these replace the cookies in the jar, guarantee your crumb snatchers won't mind!

Cheese Straws

1/2 lb of grated extra shape Cheddar Cheese
1/4 lb of butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (less for children's snacks)
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
3 teaspoons hot water

In stand mixer cream Cheddar Cheese, butter and water until smooth. Add all dry ingredients. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Using a pastry bag and border tip, pipe out mixture to desired length and shape. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an air tight container. 

For a cracker shape, roll dough into a log and wrap with plastic wrap and freezer paper. Freeze, then slice thin before baking. 

Dough freezes well and perfect to keep on hand for unexpected  company.


Sunday, April 26

In memory

Lola Grace "Bitty" Ellett
April 20th, 1954-April 26, 2009

Goodbye momma.

Saturday, April 25

Tequila Lime Chicken Enchiladas ...Delicioso!!

The last few weeks I've spent a lot of time on the phone with friends and family. One of those friends is Melissa from Have You Seen My Sanity. Not only has she kept me sane with feeding my Wii Animal Crossing obsession. I tell you...that game is SO relaxing and addictive! We started hooking up our Wii's to let our kids play together but it ended up that we kept each other up late at night time traveling, planting fruit trees, and making our towns super fabulous! Okay, well my town is rockn' sweet...hers...totally ghetto! My Mii has started carrying pepper spray for protection when she ventures into WildPark. So okay yawl have no idea what I'm rambling about...which means only on thing...I rock and you don't. 

Anyway, I'll stop my yammering and get on with this AMAZING recipe. Mel as I call her also makes my stomach growl with all her cooking! Seriously, we live on opposite sides of the county and still I swear I can smell her cooking through the phone...she conned me into making my own own Mexican rice and yes my OWN enchiladas. So you know me. I'm totally a southern lady. Spanish, Tex-Mex, south western, and Mexican are some of my all time favorites but I've never really attempted making these dishes at home. Well nothing more than the standard fajitas or Mexican lasagna. And yes...go ahead and slap me....(most was from a can). On my wish list for Mothers Day is Gloria's book Foods and Flavors Of San Antonio

Thanks for the inspiration Mel...both in the kitchen and in the heart. 

Tequila Lime Chicken Enchiladas

3 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup of Tequila
1/4 cup of lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/2 cup salsa
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese
1 cup of shredded cheese for topping
Tortillas (corn or flour)**

Cut chicken breast into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add tequila and lime juice and let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium high heat. Saute your chicken until cooked completely and browned slightly. Add remaining ingredients and continue to saute until chicken for 2 more minutes. Set to the side.

Assemble the your enchiladas with the chicken and cheeses. Roll and place side by side in a deep baking dish. Cover with desired amount of sauce and then top with remaining cheese. Let bake in a 375 degree oven until bubbly and cheese is melted. ENJOY!

**If you are using flour tortillas, let your enchiladas bake sauce free for 15 minutes. This will prevent them from getting soggy in the oven when the sauce is added. 

Simple Enchilada Sauce
makes 4 cups

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
4 cups of chicken or beef stock
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of salsa

Saute oil, flour, and spices in a large sauce pan and make a roux.  Whisk frequently to break up and flour. Your roux should be thick and bubbly. Add stock, sauce, and salsa and let simmer of medium heat, stirring frequently until thickened and smooth. 

Tuesday, April 21

Suck It In Girl

That is what my husband had the audacity to say to me this morning while getting dressed. My diet of Starbucks, Fig Newtons, and Combos is taking its toll on my bum. I need to chill. Now that things have calmed down for now, hopefully I can start eating at home more and start back blogging. I missed it. Blogger detox is not easy I tell ya. 

My poor POOR deprived crumb snatchers have been tortured with the all fatty all nasty lunchable and peanut butter diet. They love it. Its easy and something my husband can even remember to do. You know, easier than a just pull the plastic back or unscrew a lid. I tried to make it as simple as possible while I've been back and forth to the hospital. 

You all can read more about my mother at my other blog Screams From My Front Porch. It really doesn't look good but we are just keeping our chins up and trying to stay positive. 

 Thank you to everyone who commented and sent emails. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. 

So you know me...SOOOO long winded. The gist is...I'm back. Miss me? I sure missed all my foodie friends...good food, great recipes, and mouth watering pictures.

Tuesday, April 7


Sorry about the lack of posting. Personal issues at home with the health of my mother. Things do not look well as of right now. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, March 30

Simplicity at it's BEST #3...Pimento Cheese

My husband claims to be a pimento cheese snob. He truly, but that wasn't always the case.  What he doesn't remember s the first time I made him homemade pimento cheese he asked me what the little red things were. LOL...guess his only experience was the plastic tubes of you buy in the supermarket. Poor man. 

If you have never made your own, I pity you. You are still stuck in the cave man era of sandwich spreads. I promise you this, if you do, then try to sneak back to the prepackaged junk cheese stuff your taste buds will revolt. Then make you swallow your own tongue before it will let that revolting load of crud pass threw your lips again. Mean sneaky little boogers they are. 

Pimento Cheese

4 oz of cream cheese
1- 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese (for milder flavor try Colby Jack)
1/2 cups of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of pimentos
2 medium shallots, chopped fine
Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Let cream cheese sit out until it reaches room temperature. 

The key to good pimento cheese is cheese and how well you cream the cream cheese. Make sure to take the extra 5 minutes to grate your own cheese. It really is simple and makes the pimento cheese so much more lighter and creamier. 

Mix all ingredients well until smooth and fluffy. 

*Great on sandwiches, crackers, use as a vegetable dip or try it on a burger at your next cookout! 

I want to thank my bloggy friend The Blonde Duck from A Duck In Her Pond for the awesome blog awards!! Thank you so much my little chickadee! If you all haven't visited her wonderful website you are missing out! Great food, recipes, humor and stories! 

I pass this award to 

Thursday, March 26

Goat Cheese Beer Biscuits and New Print Feature!

Okay, seriously who doesn't like biscuits? That's just as about as un-American as hating peanut butter or hot dogs. This was a recipe passed to me by a friend. Although I still think my regular butter biscuits still rock the house...these are very worth the time....great escape from your everyday bread. 

Goat Cheese Beer Biscuits

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup Goat Cheese 
1/4 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup beer 
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Do not over mix. Drop biscuits on sheet pan at least 2" apart or fill lined/greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 10-15 minutes, or tops are lightly golden. Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve.

Yields 8-10 biscuits

As requested, you see I've added a new Print Recipe button on my post. Thanks everyone who emailed me suggesting this. Great idea! Now, I'll also be working on printable 4x6 recipe cards. These will soon be added to all my recipes. As of now, all previous recipes do have a print recipes link. I've triple checked all links, but by chance if you see a mistake please let me know ASAP. 
Also, I tried my hardest to keep all printable recipes on one page for your convenience, but there were a few that it was just impossible without making the print so small a flea would need glasses to read you'll just have to suck it up and deal with those. LOL 

Sunday, March 22

Vintage Tips and Blog Awards

Someone passed these cooking tips to me. I'm not exactly sure where they came from. Either a vintage lady's magazine or book, but I have used a few of them and they do work! Thought I would pass them on to my foodie friends. 

25 Vintage Cooking Tips

  1. A little oatmeal adds much flavor and richness when used as a thickener for soups. Try it.
  2. Believe it or not, a boiled egg should never be boiled. Simmering produces tastier, better results. The same is also true of “hard-boiled” eggs.
  3. Cheese souffle will stay up high, light, handsome, if you use quick-cooking tapioca instead of flour to thicken the milk base. Take 3 tablespoons tapioca to 1 cup milk for a 3-egg souffle.
  4. Add one-quarter teaspoon soda to cranberries while cooking them and they will not require much sugar.
  5. Don’t add sugar to sweeten peas. It’s much cheaper, and tastier, to cook peas with a few empty green pods.
  6. To prevent the smell of cooking greens, add a lump or so of loaf sugar to the water, or put a piece of dry toast in a clean muslin bag and boil it with the greens. Another method is to add a teaspoonful of vinegar to the water when it is boiling.
  7. Lemon juice or vinegar in the water cauliflower is cooked in makes it keep its snowy-white color.
  8. To preserve the color of green vegetables, put them on to cook in boiling water with a pinch of soda, or keep the cover off the kettle while boiling them.
  9. If a vegetable or cereal burns, plunge the vessel containing the burned mass into cold water and allow it to remain for a few minutes before pouring the contents into another pan. This will do away almost entirely with the burned taste which is so disagreeable.
  10. Salt beef is improved in flavor if a few small onions and a dessertspoonful of brown sugar are added while cooking.
  11. Vegetables that are to be cooked by steaming will preserve their color in the process if, after being washed in the usual way, they are given a final rinse in boiling water containing a little soda.
  12. To prevent the odor of boiling ham or cabbage permeating the house add a little vinegar to the water in which they are boiled.
  13. When frying fish, use clarified dripping or salad oil. Lard smells, and butter fries a bad color.
  14. A teaspoonful of vinegar added to the water in which eggs are poached keeps the whites from spreading and makes the whites cook over the yolk.
  15. To prevent milk or cream from curdling when used in combination with tomato, add a bit of bicarbonate of soda to each before they are mixed.
  16. Sausages will shrink less and not break at all if they’re boiled about 8 minutes before they’re fried, or rolled lightly in flour.
  17. Wash leafy vegetables, such as spinach, thoroughly just before cooking. Add no water–the water that clings to the leaves is enough to cook them in.
  18. To keep cauliflower snowy white, soak for half an hour in cold salt water before cooking it.
  19. Lessen the odor of cooking turnips by adding a teaspoonful of sugar to the water. They’ll be more flavorful, too.
  20. When slicing potatoes, hold the paring knife over a gas flame or in boiling water and the potatoes will slice easily.
  21. Root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, etc., should be freed from all dirt and grit; those of the green variety should be allowed to soak for a few minutes in cold water to which a generous pinch of salt has been added.
  22. You won’t waste flour if you dust it from a large saltshaker onto meats, fish, or patties, instead of dipping the food into the flour. It’s easier, too.
  23. Retain flavor and vitamins and save waste by boiling carrots in their skins. Instead of peeling, mash them with salt and pepper.
  24. Keep sweet potatoes from looking dried out by greasing the skins with any cooking fat or oil before baking them.
  25. Why waste celery tops? Cut them up and use to flavor meats, stews, soups, roasts, stuffings.

Secondly I want to thank one of my favorite foodies, Donna from My Tasty Treasures for passing some great awards to me! If you haven't visited her awesome blog yet...just what the heck are you waiting on? Seriously this girl will rock your socks with her obsession with Tyler Florence and kielbasa and most of all her recipes! She makes me wet my pants at least twice a week with her wit. Go check her out. 

The rules for the Friends Award are to pass them on to eight wonderful bloggers along with this message. 

 "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."It also says : "Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award." 

And the Excellent Blog Award

This was hard, not only to find ladies who haven't yet receive these awards...all my foodies friends hit the mark with being both charming and full of true friendship. I love them all. I truly appreciate all the comments and support you all give my tiny little spot on the web. You all inspire me and teach me. If you have a second check out my foodies friends link list...they each bring something different and delicious to the table. 

So now to pass both of these awards to some new friends, some old friends, and some I stalk, ummm....follow.

And last but not least my friend Melissa at Have You Seen My Sanity, for two reasons, its her birthday...and because she has helped me find forgotten recipes! 

Friday, March 20

Maui Luau Salmon with a Macadamia Coconut Crust

 I am not really a "fish" person. I'll eat it but its not something I 'll order out, even at a seafood restaurant I'll stay with shrimp, oysters, scallops. That is...unless they serve salmon. Next to salad this particular dish is one I really could eat everyday and never grow tired of. 

It's a cross between two recipes off a seafood recipe site that I just couldn't decide between. So instead of confusing myself more, I infused the two my way. Results were INCREDIBLE! Even the kids approved which surprised me because of the hidden heat.  

If you love Salmon try it. If you love spicy, try it. If you aren't a fish person, try it..and you can thank me later. It has a great kick with the sweet chili peppers yet, not overwhelming then the sweetness of the pineapple and nut crust me...perfection! 

4 ( 6-8 oz) Salmon filet's, skinned
1/2 cup Macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup Coconut flakes
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Cut salmon into desired sized pieces. If you can buy skinned, do. If not, good just kidding. Using a very sharp knife gently cut close to the skin careful not to tear the fish. Here is a great video on how. How to skin a salmon 

Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil. Lay salmon down side by side, do not overlap. Salt and pepper to taste. 

In a bowl, mix sweet chili sauce, pineapple and Cajun seasoning. 

Spoon sweet chili mixture on to each piece of salmon.

In a clean bowl, thoroughly combine nuts, coconut, sugar, panko crumbs and butter. 
Spread mixture on top if fish.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. 

Tuesday, March 17

Simplicity at its BEST #2... Blackberry Cobbler

Cobbler...can you get any simpler? Humble, delicious, cheap, and easy! Seriously good eats. 

Blackberry Cobbler

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups milk
1 egg
2 cups blackberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Whisk milk and egg together and let sit until room temperature. 

Preheat oven to 350 degree. 

Poor melted butter into a 9x13 baking dish.

Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in milk and egg mixture, until the batter is smooth and creamy. Pour into baking dish. 

In separate bowl combine blackberries, remaining 1 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread over batter in baking dish but DO NOT STIR. Batter will come to the top. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until deliciously golden brown and bubbly. 

Sunday, March 15

Spring Fling Scuppernong Winner!

Thank you everyone who entered my first giveaway! An extra thank you to my new followers. This was fun and makes me want to do more giveaways. I used to generate a winner fairly. The winner of the Scuppernong wine jelly and W.I.N.O.S recipe book is........ (drum roll)

Natasha from 5 Star Foodie

Congratulations! I know you'll make something scrumptious!
 I'll contact you to get your information. 

Thursday, March 12

Rocotillo Pepper Pasta Salad with White Baslamic Dressing

Don't forget my Spring Fling Giveaway! You can still enter to win here. Winner will be announced on the 15th.

This week the weather has been just plain out CRAZY. We went from snow and ice to beautiful 80 degree weather. All that gorgeous sunshine has me wanting to spend the days outside and eating lighter summer foods. I'm so ready to plant my garden and reap the benefits of homegrown veggies. Can you believe the weather is changing yet again tonight? Goodbye beautiful, hello freezing rain and 30 degree temps. My sinuses are going to go bonkers. 

Rocotillo Pepper Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dressing

8 oz Ditalini pasta (cooked and drained)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons country-style grainy mustard
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 large tomato (chopped)
1 Rocotillo pepper (sliced)
1 Banana pepper (sliced)
3 small onion (sliced)
1 large can black olives
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl whisk, oil, vinegar, and mustard. Toss in pasta, tomato, peppers, onion, olives and mix together. Fold in Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10

Welcome Spring Fling: Scuppernong Giveaway!

Welcome SITS ladies! What a great kick off to the "Spring Fling" for The Secrets In the Sauce. A new giveaway each hour and hundreds of links to giveaways from our SITS girls! Go check it out.

I was totally oblivious to what to give away this week. Then the interest in my Spicy Scuppernong fudge and what exactly a scuppernong was hit the mark! I wanted to give away a beautiful bottle of scuppernong wine for you to make your own, but after reading the shipping details state to state even for a gift certificate had me rethinking my idea. 

How about a drool worthy Scuppernong Wine Jelly from one of my favorites North Carolina wine makers, Duplin Winery. The culinary ideas will be over flowing with my foodies friends I'm sure!

But that's not all! Since I love cooking with wine, how about this hysterical book by Bonnie Jesseph, W.I.N.O.S (Women In Need Of Sanity)...don't you just love the cover! Jam packed full of recipes for the wine enthusiast!

All you need to do is comment on this post to get your name in once...For an additional 5 entries become a follower! No linking or re posting...I'm a simple gal. 

Good Luck ladies and happy Spring Fling!

The winner will be announced March 15th.

Sunday, March 8

Those Old Familiars: Scuppernongs and fudge

North Carolina. There is no better place on earth in my opinion. The beautiful beaches, the Outerbanks, wild horses on the Ocracoke Islands, breathtaking mountains, and gentle rolling foothills. 

We have it all, including some of the best vineyards. When explorers first set foot upon these shores they discovered that North Carolina had more grapes than Italy, Europe, and all alike at that day and age.  Our grapes are the oldest cultivated grapes in the world. There is still an original vine called the Mothervine on Roanoke Island that continues to grow and has since the 1500's. And it only grows wild in North Carolina. Ahh, that lovely sweet scuppernong.

 As a child I remember eating hordes of them until we were all sick with its fruity sweetness. Now as an adult I love it even more. Scuppernog wines are my favorite. A sweet wine. It's crisp and slightly sweet. Like plucking a grape from the vine and revelling in all its flavor.  

I've stocked up on my favorite local vintage and have big plans for the up and coming week. 

Here is a sneak peak. What a better why to experiment with my favorite familiar than with another familiar...chocolate. Spicy chocolate scuppernong fudge. A chocolate lovers delight. A smooth, rich and creamy texture with the perfect tangy sweet taste of chocolate and the slight wow of spice. 

Spicy Chocolate Scuppernong Fudge

1/4 lb Oleo
12 oz package chocolate chips
1 lb powdered sugar
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup Scuppernong wine

Butter a rectangular 1 inch deep dish thoroughly. 

In a medium saucepan melt Oleo and chocolate chips together. Set aside. Mix powdered sugar, cayenne pepper and wine together until smooth. Combine both mixtures together. Spoon mixture into buttered dish. Refrigerate fudge for 1 hour. Cut into 1 inch squares using a non serrated  knife. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4

Easy and Economical: Stuffed Shells

This was my first time making stuffed shells. While growing up, my Godmother would slave away in the kitchen. She would say how hard stuff shells and manicotti was to make. We would all hear curses and ouches coming from the kitchen. Believing that, I really never ventured to the "stuffed" category. 

Since I make a very MEAN lasagna, my mother suggested stuffed shells. I put some thought into it and couldn't come up with why it would be as hard as I remember my Godmother saying it was. You know me, I started playing around basing it off my lasagna ingredients. The results were FANTASTIC. Not only was this cheaper than was such a very easy meal to put together. I've come to the conclusion either my Godmother was a airhead in the kitchen or a total drama queen. Probably both. 

I really love adding the cottage cheese to this. Gives it a great richness and compliments the ricotta perfectly. I did cheat and used shredded Italian cheese. I'm trying to save a little on our food budget and I love the taste of Fontina, Asiago, and Ramano with Italian tomato dishes. No simple Parmesan would do for this dish. I seriously believe I was a rat in my former life. 

Great dish for those families on a budget but don't want to scrimp on flavor! 

Sorry about the poor quality on the pics. I had no time to plate with the kids growling at my feet. 

Stuffed Shells the Homegrown Way

1 box Jumbo shell pasta
1 (80z) package Sargento Classic 6 Cheese Italian Blend
1 (16oz) container Ricotta cheese
1 (16oz) Cottage Cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Sauce of choice (basic meat sauce recipe below)*

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add shells. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Pasta should be softened but still firm in the center. Drain and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup Italian cheese blend, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and parsley. Mix well. 

Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of casserole or baking dish to prevent pasta from sticking. 

Spoon cheese mixture into each shell and place on baking dish. Top the shells with desired amount of meat sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese and sauce is bubbly. Top with remaining shredded Italian cheese. Return to oven to melt. ENJOY!

Basic Meat Sauce

2 medium onions, diced
1 tablespoon oil
2 lbs ground beef
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 (28oz) can stewed tomatoes
2 (5 1/2oz) cans tomato paste
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine

In a large pot, saute onions in oil. Add ground beef and brown. Drain and return to pot. Add tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, pepper, salt, garlic cloves, Italian seasoning and wine. Cook on low for two hours. 

Tuesday, March 3

Screams From My Front Porch

That is my second home from here. I decided to transfer all family topics, rants, raves, and my general daily delusions to a new blog home. Screams From My Front Porch, seems a fitting name. 

I do it on a daily bases, either calling the super fab pooch, the kids to stay away from the road, or on days like we had this weekend. Dreaded snow turning into black ice. In North Carolina we rarely get snow...although we've been dumped on this winter. Snow I don't mind, its when we get 10 inches, then 5 of them melt and refreeze making a solid sheet of hard ice. It pulls large tree limbs, downs power and cable lines and makes it impossible to drive without slamming into non-moving objects. 

As you can see, it started out very pretty. 

Then of course the next day..... Tomorrow should be worse. The road look clear doesn't it? Nope, its a solid sheet of black ice. Anyone up for some skating?

Yes we lost powder. It flickered all weekend. One hour with, one without. Then went completely out on Monday afternoon. We just got it back up this morning. Thank gosh for kerosene heaters, oil lamps, and poker chips. So now you all know why we southerners go bonkers at the slightest call for flurries. It's not the snow we fear...its being trapped by ice. 

So needless to say, there has been no cooking at my house this weekend. I had planned on something special, but we got stuck with sandwiches and cold leftovers. I hope all my fabulous foodie friends kept warm and toasty, chowing down scrumptious goodies..I hope you ate enough for me! 

Saturday, February 28

Honest Scrap Award

Good ole Reenie from  Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice was so sweet to pass this award to me. Made my day after dealing with three sick kiddos. The requirements state I have to list 10 things about myself then pass the award on. I just hope I don't bore you all to tears.

Here goes nothing.

1) My favorite all time food to eat is brandied peaches. There was a lady who was friends with my grandfather...stereotypical southern lady. Just like Ouiser Bordreaux from Steel Magnolias....she used to make them for him...and would sneak me one every now and then as a kid....she's past now, and I've never been able to come close to hers....but I can still taste them when I think about it...they were just pure heaven.

2) I have a love for nature, gardening, flowers, trees, everything...BUT....I have the worlds worst black thumb and can't grow anything.
3) I'm a history lover. Enjoy researching the past. Its trilling to me. I become absorbed in books about cultures, monarchs, favorite periods would have to be 15th century Ottoman Empire and of course English and French monarchy...Tutors and the House of Bourbon.

4) I love the feeling you get making your family happy and content.....whether it be laughing together with a good meal, soothing away nightmares, or pretending to see fairies behind a leaf and watching your daughters eyes light up in our make believe world....those little moments....when you just watch the happiness sparkle down to their toes and knowing you brought that.....its amazing to know you can do that to people...and they can make you feel the same with just a smile or touch.
5) I love my husband....LOL...funny but hey, its a fact....he is my soul heart. He is the tall quiet polar opposite but we fit perfectly, like a pair of old jeans you just can't seem to grow tired of. I love the way we are together...our silent jokes, the way he doesn't see the post baby pudge and the start of crows feet...but makes me feel like a Victoria Secret Model, even in my old sweat pants and no make up. I love the way he brings me peach tea because he thinks I might be thirsty...or sneaks up behind me when I'm cooking just to snuggle my makes me not grumble so when he throws his clothes on the floor and not in the hamper and his addiction to the SPEED channel. 

6) I live in an EXTREMELY small town in North Carolina. Population under 600. Even for me that is to many people. My dream would be to have a small farm...full of chickens, roosters, goats, and cows. No neighbors for miles. 

7) When I was 2 I got attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets. (I'm fishing here, can yawl tell?)

8) I'm diabetic, diagnosed at a young age. 

"And you cook like that?" you say...yes...I do. We don't eat like this each night. I portion control and only taste my baking. I do that mainly for my husband a children. I'm also addicted to salads. I eat at least two a day and sub with Splenda for myself.

9) We have a very busy LARGE and sometimes exhausting household. My husband and myself, our three children. One with mild CP, one with PDD/NOS among other issues, and one wild toddler. I take care of my disabled mother, three cranky cats and a puppy. Its a lot of work..but I do really embrace the ups and downs. Life is never boring.

10) I have many goals for myself this year. One is to start my first vegetable garden, teach myself to knit and crochet, living more frugally and be more green. So far I'm off to a pretty good start.

:::SWOOSH::: I'm done....hey...wake up! It wasn't that bad. 

Now I have the pleasure to pass this award to others. Forgive me if you have already received this award (or secretly hate them). So many here in the blog world have inspired, advice, ladies rock. LOVE YA!