Sunday, April 29, 2012

Southern Sundays





Thank you so much for making my first linky party, Southern Sundays, a huge success!


33 entries of scrumptious recipes from salads, quick breads, to sweets galore!  Wow, was I so pleased at how many people joined and impressed with all the excellent recipes!  I think I  copied every recipe listed for my personal cookbook!  I hope all of you enjoyed exploring each other's dishes and found some new items to make.


This week there were 3 recipes that were soooo popular.  They are each fabulous, so I'm going to feature all three recipes!  Makes sure to check these out and say "Hi!" to the contributors!


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 3 FEATURED DISHES!!

by Brandy's Baking

by Country Momma Cooks

by Moogie & Pap


Ready for another party?  I know that Cinco de Mayo approaching fast, followed by the all time favorite, Mother's Day.  What do you have planned for these holiday?  I'd love have you link up these dishes, or any other culinary wizardry that you've made.


Guidelines:
Please become a follower by joining my site with Google Friends Connect in the right side bar.
Link back to your specific recipe and not to your main site.
Link back to Southern Sundays either in your post, or grab my Southern Sundays Button located in the right side bar.
Please visit a few of the links in the post and say hello to your fellow bloggers!
Enjoy, have fun, cook lots of food, and relish your Southern Sunday!

Let's party!






Saturday, April 28, 2012

Linky Party scheduled for Sunday 4/28/2012







Hi there!


I'm so excited about my 2nd linky party.  Come join Southern Sunday's tomorrow, 4/28, and link up your favorite recipes.  It's a great way to swap ideas with your fellow bloggers,and get to know them!


Hope you will join...don't forget to come back tomorrow.


Beth

Banana Brown Sugar Oatmeal



A good way to start the day is with a "healthy" breakfast!

Even better, is to have a heart-healthy breakfast with whole grains.  Eating grains, such as oatmeal, provides you with a good serving of fiber and is known to lower cholesterol.  


Oatmeal is hearty and keeps you filling full which makes it a perfect choice as a breakfast item.  Plus...it tastes good!


Whole grains are a powerhouse ingredient that you should try to incorporate into your diet.  I've taken to eating mostly whole grains...but still slip and have some white flour breads every once in a while!  Sorry, can't be helped! 


Everyone loves a warm breakfast and oatmeal is perfect for adults and is also kid friendly.  This recipe is a simple way to get a hot breakfast on the table fast.  Jazz it up with some fruit and brown sugar and you have a tasty dish!  It's so wholesome and yummy!


Enjoy your breakfast!







Banana Brown Sugar Oatmeal


serves 3-4


2 c 2% milk
1 c quick cooking oats
1 large banana, sliced
2 t brown sugar
1 t honey
1/2 t cinnamon


Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in oats and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.


Add the bananas, brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon.  Divide among bowls and serve immediately.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hollywood and a Birthday

My birthday was two days ago.  


Another year full of new experiences, expanding my horizons, and growth in many areas.  It's funny that the older you get the more you find out you didn't know..but thought you did.  Experience is a main key to knowledge and wisdom!  Can't wait for the experiences the year ahead holds.


This year I was surprised with an outing in Hollywood.  It's always fun to go to Hollywood.  The vibe is electrical and filled with excitement.  



We arrived at the shopping area of Hollywood & Highland.  First thing we noticed pulling in the structure is a Wolfgang Puck Catering Truck starting to unload.  I thought, "Some sort of event is happening".  Next thing we knew the shopping area was closed to a 'private party" and we were being ushered through back hallways behind the Kodak theatre out to the street.  Something was definitely happening.  Red carpets were being rolled out everywhere, up steps, down the side walk.  The street was a buzz with people preparing for a major event.  Exciting!








We were headed across the street to the El Capitan theatre to take in Disney's new movie, Chimpanzee, for Earth Day...which falls right before my birthday.  It was a wonderful movie, funny and family friendly.  Make sure to take your children to this one...they will love you for it!  It's really cute.






When we got out of the movie, chaos was happening on the side walk.  They had closed Hollywood Blvd. down to the cars and forced all the walking traffics, tourists abound, to our side of the street.  It was single file for blocks.  Felt like I was at Disneyland!  So we quickly changed our plans to eat dinner elsewhere to escape the crowd and headed out of the area for a nice romantic dinner.


The best part though?  The flowers and cake I got for my birthday.  Look at these tulips!  Gorgeous!  I love tulips!!  These are a beautiful coral color with yellow tips.  Just perfect!






And then there is tradition.  The cake.  Not a homemade cake. Not for me.  I love them, but ever since I was young, like really young, I've had a Carvel Ice Cream Cake for my birthday.  So that's what I got this year too!  I just love them.  I would say I'm an ice cream addict.  Wonder if there is a program for that??  Does anyone else have this problem with ice cream?


The cake is two layers, chocolate and vanilla, divided by an oreo cookie crumb in the middle.  It's just always been my favorite.  It keeps me young...or I like to think so!  




Tell me how you like to celebrate your birthday.  I'd love to know.




So on to another year full of exciting experiences!  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beef Burgundy Stew




The weather has been strange around here the past few weeks.  

Raining one day, big major rain...and then 90 degrees the next.  Very unusual for this time of year for sure!  So on one of the rainy days...which always land on the weekends mind you, I decided to make a nice hearty stew.  One with wine in it!  What's better than that?  

I love the flavor red wine lends to a beef dish.  So I rooted around, found my favorite chicken and wine stew, adapted it to suit our needs and voila!  Beef Burgundy Stew on a rainy day!

We opted to have the stew over some brown rice, but MGG suggested that next time we try it over mashed potatoes, or some egg noodles.  Either way it is tummy filling, warming, comfort food at it's best.  All you need is some good crusty french bread to help get every last drop.  Better yet, try my Buttermilk Biscuits. Yum!

Hope you give this a try, it's a classic combination!





Beef Burgundy Stew
Serves: 4 


1 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, sliced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon dried marjoram
½  teaspoon dried thyme 
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/8  teaspoon pepper
1 ½  cups beef broth
1 ¾ cups Burgundy wine
2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
4 red potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 T cornstarch


Melt butter in Dutch oven or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions and mushrooms in butter about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Remove vegetables from Dutch oven; drain and reserve.

Cook beef and garlic in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Sprinkle with salt, marjoram, thyme, parsley and pepper.

Add broth and wine and heat to boiling.  Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Add carrots and potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  

To thicken stew mix cornstarch with enough water to create a smooth and slightly thick mixture.  Stir into stew and allow to thicken.  Remove from heat and serve.

Serve over rice. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Southern Sundays


Southern Sundays

Welcome to my first linky party!


I  love visiting all of your blogs and seeing all the delicious recipes that you make week after week.  What better way to show off your talent than by sharing your links and recipes with others.  Let's have a linky party!  I'll be hosting a weekly party called Southern Sundays.  A day for family and food.  So come and join the party!!  Make sure to tell your friends!  There are many recipes to explore and lots of cooking to do!


Please feel free to post any type of culinary dish that you've made.


Guidelines:
Please become a follower by joining my site with Google Friends Connect in the right side bar.
Link back to your specific recipe and not to your main site.
Link back to Southern Sundays either in your post, or grab my Southern Sundays Button located in the right side bar.
Please visit a few of the links in the post and say hello to your fellow bloggers!
Enjoy, have fun, cook lots of food, and relish your Southern Sunday!









Saturday, April 21, 2012

Molletes



Last weekend I made a huge pot of beans.  


Bean soup to be exact. Something my mother made all the time while I was growing up.  She still makes it to this day.  I thought I had posted our family Bean Soup recipe, but alas, I have not.  As I was a dummy and didn't know this when I made it I didn't take any pics to show you.  So no bean soup recipe today!  I promise I'll make it again soon so I can post it.  It's really hearty and satisfying.  Mom mostly used pinto beans however, she was also known to use navy beans, great northern beans, and a nice white cannellini bean.  All are great.


I decided to use a new bean, a pink bean.  They have a nice color and a deeper flavor than a regular pinto bean, but are along the same line.  


Beans are comfort food.  They also a very affordable and filled with protein.  The base of many vegetarian dishes, beans are so versatile you can use them in many recipes.


One way to use your leftover beans is to make Molletes.  This is a kind of Mexican comfort food.  I was first introduced to this when I visited Puerto Vallarta many years ago.  Walking through the town we came across an small older woman who was making these is a restaurant we came upon.  They were heavenly!!!  Such a simple dish of bread, beans, and cheese...but so comforting.  I think they make a  great snack or lunch but they are often served for breakfast in Mexico.  This is one dish you have to try.  If you don't have home cooked beans you could certainly use canned refried beans.  Just zip them up some and they should be fine.






I found a recipe online which I adapted to fit the way I remember them being cooked by this cute little woman.


So if you are hesitant, jump out of your comfort zone a bit and try this recipe.  It's excellent!



a little salsa on top...a nice compliment!






Molletes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 bolillos or other crusty rolls, cut in 1/2
3 cups cooked pinto beans
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
salsa or pico de gallo (optional)

Directions:

Preheat broiler.

Place split rolls open face on a baking sheet and broil until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile drain the beans of most of the liquid, leaving just a bit. 

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.   Add the beans along with a small amount of liquid.  Mash the beans until they become a spreadable mixture, using a meat pounder, or potato masher. 

Divide the bean mixture and spread on each half of the rolls, about ¾ cup for 2 halves.  Top with shredded cheese, dividing amongst the rolls. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and turning golden brown.  Serve immediately.  Note:  You may top with salsa or pico de gallo, or serve on the side.

Adapted from Marcela Valladolid

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Banana Pudding Ice Cream





How about a real Southern treat?


You can't get much more southern than "banana pudding".  It was Easter and I wanted something special.  So I made Banana Pudding Ice Cream!  Ice cream is my favorite, and I love banana pudding so I mixed the two and came up with a real winner!


This is a simple custard ice cream with all the basics ingredients of banana pudding.  You can't go wrong with vanilla custard, bananas, and vanilla wafers.  Heaven!  


I must say this turned out so good that we ate it all in a couple of days...all gone...and I can't wait to make another batch...MGG suggested that I put a little rum in it, so I'm thinking Banana's Foster Ice Cream is next on the list!


So break out your ice cream maker and whip some up right away.  It's the southern thing to do!


Creamy vanilla ice cream, chunks of with bananas and vanilla wafers...YUM!






this one's starting to melt...but see the chunks of banana?






Banana Pudding Ice Cream

makes 1 quart

2 medium-size ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely crushed vanilla wafers

Whisk together Splenda, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Whisk in milk and half and half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 minutes until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl whisk egg yolk.  Whisk in about 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolk. Add the yolk mixture to the cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add vanilla.
Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.  Discard any solids. Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture chill 1 hour.
Using and electric ice-cream maker, freeze according to manufacturer's instructions; stir in bananas and crushed vanilla wafers halfway through freezing. Ice cream may be served right away, as a soft serve consistency.  Or place in a freezer safe container and allow to set up 4 hours.  Allow ice cream to come to room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teriyaki London Broil

How about a product review?


I haven't done one in quite a while and I thought I should put some of the product's I've bought to good use.  So this is a product review for Organicville's Island Teriyaki sauce.  






I had just picked up a London broil on sale and couldn't decide how to prepare it.  I usually associate teriyaki with chicken, but then I remembered I used to get a teriyaki steak at one of my favorite restaurants, The Charthouse in Malibu.  Boy, flashback to eating dinner there on my birthday with my parents when I was younger.  The teriyaki steak was fabulous.  So that's what I would make.


I had bought Organicville's Island Teriyaki sauce because it was sweetened with agave nectar and very, very, low in carbs.  So many Asian sauces are loaded with sugar and this one uses a more natural sweetener.  It's also vegan, and gluten free.


I used the sauce to marinate my London broil for about 1 hour and then I grilled it in my grill pan, on the stove.  You could also broil it, or grill it on an outdoor grill.  Several methods would work here.  Let me tell you...this marinade is outstanding!  It's not overly sweet, with the flavors of pineapple, ginger, and garlic shining through.


See how luscious this steak turned out?







Another benefit is that with such a large steak, you get leftovers!  Utilize them in a wonderful steak salad the next day, using an Asian dressing.  Perfect!  They would be equally wonderful in a steak sandwich, or an Asian steak wrap!


If you happen to come across this product you should definitely buy it, or you can purchase it online as well.


Teriyaki London Broil


serves 6


2 1/2 - 3 lb London broil
1  bottle Organicville's Island Teriyaki sauce


Marinate the steak in a plastic bag using 1/2 of the bottle of sauce for 1-2 hours, turning occasionally.  Cook on a heated grill pan over medium heat for 12 minutes, turning once.  Remove from pan and allow to rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil.


Slice steak against the grain on an angle.  Serve with your choice of side dishes.  



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rigatoni with Chunky Vegetable Sauce



Loving pasta as I do, I don't quite eat it as often as I would like.  Just so full of carbs, and I've been cutting carbs.


Everyone once in a while I get a hankering for some pasta.  Gotta have some pasta my tummy says.  So I was reading some old recipes that I had cut out and came across this one in an old Everyday Food issue.  The fact that it advertised a "chunky vegetable sauce" caught my eye.  I mean, what better way to sneak some veggies in to your diet...or your kids...than to include them in the sauce with a pasta dish?  I keep telling myself that if I'm gonna eat carbs, at least I can eat more veggies too to counter act them.  I Keep telling myself that...


So with the extra fiber and nutrients in mind I set out to make this dish.  It had mushrooms, which I love, and zucchini.  YUM!.  I understand that a lot of you are adverse to mushrooms...so just leave them out and/or substitute them with some other veggie, like summer squash, broccoli, or bell peppers.  They all work, and it's all good!


We loved this dish.  It was easy to make, with little prep time.  The flavors were nice and fresh and the chunky vegetable sauce was fantastic!


Do try this...you'll like it too.


Here are some step by step pics to help you along.



The end result?
Take a gander at this!











Rigatoni with Chunky Vegetable Sauce

serve 6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced medium
1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can 28 ounces tomato puree
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pound rigatoni




In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook until vegetables soften slightly, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomato puree, season with salt and pepper, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in oregano.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and add to sauce, tossing to combine and adding enough pasta water to create a sauce that coats pasta. Serve immediately.
adapted slightly from: Everyday Food, March 2011

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spice Rubbed Pork Chops



Who doesn't love a pork chop?


We grew up eating pork chops.  I can remember mom making them all the time.  A southern thing...eating pork chops.  Mom always chose the thin, bone-in pork chops, so that's what I know best.  We never really ate the thick ones, that's something I'm working on.  Habits are hard to break...


Nice thin pork loin chops and good for you and are a lean white meat.  I usually by mine from Trader Joe's. They have some great thin boneless pork chops that cook up quick and tender.


So the usual way is to fry or saute a pork chop.  They cook really quick since they are thin, and you can have a nice dinner on the table in no time at all.  However, today I wanted to change up my chops and add some more flavor to them.  Typically, like chicken, pork chops don't have much flavor unless you add it.  So I made a nice spice rub to put on them.  No need to marinate, no wasting precious time preparing.  Just mix and cook.  The flavor of the chops were sooo good!


So how nice they came out?  I served these with my Roasted Parmesan Summer Squash.  They went perfect together.  Try them both tonight!


Spice Rubbed Pork Chops


serves 4


1 T oregano
2 T paprika
3/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t chili powder
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
8 thin cut boneless pork chops
2 T canola oil


In a small bowl combine all your spices (first 7 ingredients).  Mix well.  Rub only one side of each pork chop well with the rub, pressing in to adhere the mixture to the chops.


Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to a skillet heated over medium high heat.  Add 4 of the pork chops cooking spice side down first.  Cook for 2-3 minutes per side.  Don't overcook thin chops.  Remove to a plate and keep warm.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and repeat with remaining pork chops.  Serve immediately.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Roasted Parmesan Summer Squash


Need a quick side dish?


How about a vegetable?  A yummy, cheesy, roasted vegetable.


This is a simple side dish to make using summer squash.  You know the yellow bulbous one?  Roasting it brings out a sweetness in a vegetable.  Adding the cheese?  Well, that just takes it over the top with flavor!


Enough said.  This is a perfect side dish for any type of meat or fish.  For a variation change up the vegetable.  It is soooo delishhh!


Try this soon...it a perfect way to eat your veggies!  See how tempting this golden roasted veggie looks?  It tastes even better!




Roasted Parmesan Summer Squash


2 large summer squash, cut into bite sized chunks
2 t olive oil
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt
3 T grated fresh Parmesan cheese, more for garnish


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place squash on a roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat all pieces.  Spread pieces out in pan.  Sprinkle garlic powder and salt over pieces.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.  Garnish with more cheese if desired.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Birthday Weekend & Descanso Gardens



We've had a whirlwind of activities the past few weekends.  MGG had a birthday and we celebrated not one weekend but two!


The first weekend we celebrated with a fun and casual dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Wolf Creek.  It's a restaurant and a micro brewery.  We ran across it about a year ago and love the atmosphere, and the food.  It's decor is like being in a lodge in the Northwest.  The food is eclectic, treats from fish, mexican, steak, pasta...all with gourmet flair.  Oh, and it is DELISHHHHHH!


Here we are celebrating his big day!  It a dark and moody place..so the pics are dark and moody too!



I had the Lime Chicken Tacos and Spicy Rice.....man this dish was spicy!  See how much food they give you?  Wow!




MGG had the Fire Grilled Mahi Mahi Burger and fries.  This was a new combo, and the flavor of chipotle mayo set it off!




If you get out to LA, make sure to stop at Wolf Creek up in Valencia, it is well worth the trip.  The food is awesome!


The following weekend we went to Descanso Gardens in LaCanada, Flintridge.  What a fun day!  All the cherry blossoms were in bloom...and the tulips, my favorite!


Outstanding!


Japanese maple


Lilacs...the best smell ever!


Tulips...







Happy Birthday to my beloved MGG!
Make sure to go outside and enjoy nature!  It's just beautiful!




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