Friday, July 30, 2010

Asian Lunch Buffet?

Nope, not even close. These are lovely, deep-fried (thanks to my FryDaddy) asian chicken dumplings from Trader Joe's. Who loves the deep fried goodies at asian buffets? Me, me, me. These are even better.

The slaw is simply shredded cabbage, carrot, and green pepper, drizzled with an asian dipping sauce. I only had 7 dumplings for the two of us and the slaw s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d them into a meal.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Fuss Frozen Yogurt at Home

(Photo off of yahoo)
I have just discovered the most amazing, almost instant, homemade frozen treat.  The idea appeared in our newspaper yesterday and I tried it immediately.  I did no measuring so let me tell you the process.

Open  a bag of frozen fruit (I had mango) and put a portion (or the whole shebang) into a blender
Add a bit of sugar (to taste...the recipe calls for 1/2 cup per pound of fruit) and blend it to a puree

Add some yogurt (I used vanilla greek...the recipe calls for equal parts yogurt and sugar, but you choose)

You can also add a dash of lemon juice to wake it up but I did not.  Mine did darken a bit.
Whirl that food processor and the creamiest, most luscious frozen treat emerges.  You don't need a trip to the local ice cream parlor when you can do this so easily.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Banner size

I know the banner size is not right.  But my old banner clashed with all the Shabby Blogs backgrounds.  And until I learn, someday, how to make the right sized banner they are going to be scrapbook pages.  Shabby does have banners, but I could not make them work, either.  And its the blog content that counts, right???

And if Cutest Blog on the Block gets its act together I'll go back and download the old background.  Like I said, it got removed, and not by me!!

Blog background

Yes, I have a boring background.  No, it does not go with the banner.  For some reason The Cutest Blog on the Block removed my background.  And I could not load another from the site.  So I went to Shabby Blogs and chose a neutral one until I can do some designing. 


Just got back from spending a week at our beach house in Panama City, FL with my son, DIL, and the three grandsons.  And they are surely grand........

We ate shrimp, crab, and fish, played minigolf, dug holes in the sand.............

Lindsay got plenty of Alaskan crab legs, her fav.  I made killer fish tacos that everybody liked.  We got our annual "fix" of Cap'n Dusty's fried soft shell crab po-boy.  The final night I got a fried shrimp po-boy at Hurricane Oyster Bar in Grayton Beach and it sure runs a close second to that crab one.  Unfortunately Margaritaville changed how they make their fish tacos without changing the menu description.....not getting those again....gloppy, gloppy, gloppy.....they used to top them with fresh mango cabbage slaw, this time it was guacamole of some sort.  I was digging soggy chips out of the nachos to scoop the guac up and eating the fish as separately as possible.

Jenni's Garden

My daughter sent me more pics of her garden. I am so jealous I trek to HT for my zucchini......



Posted by PicasaBonus.......look at the vegetable bin in the fridge!!!!!!!!!! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes

Just wanted to show you the yummiest tomato...I bought a giant yellow heirloom tomato at the farmer's market. That thing was ugly, but soooo good.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

French Toast Yum

I have not cooked french toast in years; had actually forgotten all about it.  On our recent beach trip, Nina treated us on our final day with homemade french toast.  I got up, packed, and when I walked downstairs there were the most wonderful aromas in the kitchen............
So, I decided to try my hand at it.  Wonderful!!!  The only tweak I did was instead of thinning the beaten eggs with milk, I used French Vanilla CoffeeMate.  I also used Log Cabins All Natural Syrup, in the opaque jug, which tastes like my childhood.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

New Dishes

I am always searching for the perfect set of dishes for my kitchen....and I found them....for $15!!!!!!

In Panama City, FL, a couple of weeks ago, I spent several hours in a Vintage/Antique market in downtown Panama City.  As my followers know, I love dishes.  The store was full of "china"....little rosebuds, blue and white, and tons and tons of cups, saucers and bread plates (you know, the parts of the place setting nobody ever used).

I was rounding a corner and looked down and saw these.   I got 7 dinner plates, 7 bread and butter plates, 8 saucers.  I love them so much.  They are Corning from Japan and are vintage and you can see how much they really should cost here.  And only one dinner plate is even available.  I really got lucky.  They look perfect in my kitchen.  Now I can stop looking at dishes in every store I go into.

Posted by Picasa(and I took my mom's advice and have only ever bought white dish accessories, so I already have plenty of bowls and such when I succumb at the $ store, Ikea, Crate and Barrell, etc, etc..........

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Bag of Veggies

This is what $14 of fresh veggies can look like if you are lucky enough to have a Compare Foods near you. (It is a large ethnic supermarket)

They sell cilantro in small affordable bundles, which is brilliant, because it is hard to keep it fresh (although if try my tip, you can lengthen it's life)

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

EZ Pastry

Doesn't this look yummy?  It was!!!  I got the idea on Food Buzz from Jacob's Kitchen.  Only the idea, though...did not actually follow his recipe.

I cut 1/3 off a piece of frozen puff pastry, wrapped the rest back up in the freezer.  Thawed it, unfolded and cut three squares along the fold lines.  Preheated my oven to 400.  Dusted the pastry with sugar and cinnamon, put a few blueberries on top (and a couple of cubes of thawed mango, which will never do again...) and dusted again.  Baked for 15-20 minutes.  That is it!  And the possibilities are endless..............

A few weeks ago I tried to make a pizza from puff pastry with hideous results.  So, now I plan to just get myself some squares of puff pastry, put some cheese on each piece, a slice of tomato and bake it.  Garnish with basil.  Will report on it when I make it.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Is this taco salad not absolutely gorgeous?  I went into the kitchen at 7:15 pm, knowing I had an onion and a green pepper, black beans, rotisserie chicken, avocados, tomatoes, and leftover pilaf.  I planned to make burritos and then my eyes lit on my brand new taco shell pans.  I got out two large flour tortillas and was off........

Black Beans
The black beans came from the bulk bin in Compare Foods....soaked overnight, rinsed, into the crockpot with water to cover, simmer 8-10 hours, cool, bag, freeze.  Yum.

Leftover Rice Pilaf
(This was a Trader Joe's mixed grain one)
Rotisserie Chicken heated with cumin and chile powders
(I mixed 1 t. chili powder, 1 t. salt, 1/2t. coriander, 1/2t cumin, 1T cornstarch and mixed in some shredded chicken.  Into the skillet with some water to make a bit of sauce. )

Sauteed Peppers and Onions

Diced Avocado with a squeeze of lime.

Cherry Tomatoes (From Jenni & Kory's garden)


Crumbled Queso Fresca

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Potato Chips

From this............

To this..........

In 5 minutes!!!!!!

Want a portion of completely fat-free, homemade potato chips for lunch? You can do it in five minutes in the microwave (plus a little prep time). I found this idea while cruising through blogs online. I tried it out using the parchment paper method and the results were so outstanding, I literally went out and bought a mandoline, microwave bacon cooker pan, and a microwave splatter cover....

Wash a potato, don't peel it. Slice it 1/8" thick (the first time I used my potato peeler), put the slices in a bowl of cold water and let soak at least 10 minutes. This removes some of the starch for a crispier product, I am told. Remove the slices from the water and dry them on towels. Spread them out on either a micro bacon cooker (ridged) or parchment paper. (spray either pan surface with some oil)  Sprinkle desired seasonings on potato slices.

Put the tray in the microwave, put the spatter lid or a sheet of parchment paper on top.  Microwave for 5 minutes. 

That's it!!!!!!!!!   (You can also do corn tortillas cut into the wedges with the same results, just a little less time in the microwave)

So if you want some crunch with no fat..................

(there are several recipes online, just Google potato chips in the microwave and choose one)

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Heat Wave

With the South in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave (104 yesterday), I got to thinking about my growing-up years in the 1950's and 60's and the key factor that, even though I lived in the South, we had no airconditioning, in the house or in the car.

I remember trips across the Smoky Mountains to Indiana every summer to visit my Grandpa and Grandma.  My Mom would get a galvanized bucket and buy a block of ice.  She'd put three washrags in the bucket and during the car trip (all windows down) she kept the bucket at her feet and periodically handed an ice cold washrag to each of us.  Our version of airconditioning.  (My dad was a travelling salesman and he bought the first airconditioner that you could install in a was literally a small unit that mounted under the dashboard and had three round vents that spewed cold air.

No air conditioning at home either.  In the ranch house I spent my elementary years in, we had a big window fan in the kitchen that was designed to pull hot air out of the house; with all the windows open, it supposedly pulled a breeze through the house.  I remember sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed because that was where the best breeze was.  I also vividly remember wanting to sleep with my sheet up to my chin, holding Mom arguing with me that it was too hot....but I was afraid that a witch would come and carry me off if I did not have hold of my sheet.  (I refused to tell her this reason, though, because I knew she would laugh...)

In my high school years we lived on a small lake and had the value of that cooler breeze.  However, I remember visiting one summer aas a young adult and refusing to budge from one spot in the den because there was a breeze in that one spot.  During that visit, of course my mother was making homemade ketchup and steaming up the entire house....)

While living in Germany in the early 1990's , I was back to no airconditioning (of course it is only hot in June and July).  We bailed out of the country back to the U.S. in June and came back in September twice, but the third year we were moving back and had to stay til mid July and it was HOT.  There is a reason for European sidewalk cafes......restaurants are not airconditioned and you have to eat outside in July and August!

Do any of you ladies of a certain age have living w/o airconditioning stories to tell?  Let's hear them.

Let's Talk Fish

The June 30, 2010 Wine Spectator magazine had an excellent article called "Sea Change", talking about traditional fishing and farmed fish. There is so much encouragement to add fish to our diets and so much misinformation about the fish we actually can buy in the supermarket, that I found this article very enlightening.  Here follows my own summary:

(This article was by Sam Gugino)

  • Twenty years ago farmed seafood on the nation's dinner tables was only shrimp and salmon.  Today it is close to 50% of all fish sold by Samuels & Sons, a wholesaler in Philadelphia.
  • Farmed seafood is becoming increasingly important as natural fish habitats are depleted and world population increases.
  • Aquaculture is farming in water instead of on land.  It takes place in both natural environments, like rivers and lakes, or in artificial ones such as inland ponds that raise tilapia and catfish.
  • Oysters, mussles, etc, are raised in salt water. Salmon is bred in floating pens off the shores of North and South America and Northern Europe.
  • Aquaculture is both a way to create cheaper and greater quantities of seafood, but also as a response to the near-extinction of wild fish, such as Atlantic salmon.
  • Farmed tilapia comes primarily fron Latin America and Asia; catfish is commonly farmed in the U.S.
  • White-tablecloth restaurants have recently been purchasing farm raised sea bream, branzino, yellowtail and bluefin tuna.
  • China has been farming fish for more than 4,000 years.
  • The U.S. is the 10th largest producer of farmed seafood, but is the world's largest importer
  • Carnivorous fish (salmon) are fed wild-caught herring, reducing the amount that the wild salmon have available.  One response is to put farmed fish on a vegetarian diet.
  • Fish ranching is the practice of catching young, wild fish and fattening them up in pens at sea, creating the same problems as farming: uneaten food, fish waste, antibiotics and antiparasitics and chemicals to pass into surrounding waters.
  • Asian shrimp have been raised on farms whose construction decimated coastal habitats.
  • Freshess is one of the hallmarks of farmed fish.  Some chefs say farmed fish tastes sweeter and is cleaner.
  • Wild fish fillets are thicker, which makes them more moist after cooking.
  • Wild fish are larger because they are older and can eat at will.  Farmed fish are given an allotted amount to eat and economically they have to be sold younger and smaller.
  • Farm raised salmon is milder and fattier than wild salmon.  Their special diet results in the milder taste, less movement in the pen than wild salmon in the ocean makes their fat content higher (see, everybody needs exercise!)
  • Wild shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico  are juicier and firmer than their farmed brethren.  However, Mexican white shrimp from the Sea of Cortez are thought to be the best flavored of all the farmed.
  • Some experts point out that many farms are learning to operate with virtually zero discharge of waste products.
  • Expanding aquaculture might mean prices go down as quantity goes up.
This is a photo on an ancient farm pond in on the photo and the Flickr page will tell you about it.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Why, you ask, is there a sprig of mint on the page?  Well, I will tell you.  I am a current newbie of digital scrapbooking and I always like to run before I walk.  I have Memory Mixer and also Photoshop Elements 2.  I have been downloading cool freebie embellishments to use on pages.  I also notice that other digital scrapbookers seem to know how to remove something from a photo and turn it into a transparent embellishment.  Especially photos of people. 

OK, so I don't even know the basics of Photoshop, but I want to be able to create these embellishment thingies so I can put my grandkids into imaginary scrapbook scenes.  Can't be happy with just inserting their photos as is.  Of course not.

So I have googled and watched tutorials and checked out library books and could not figure it out.  Well, it appears that the magic word is PNG.  As in PNG file.  Don't know what it is, but JPEG keeps the frame around the embellishment, while PNG the background is transparent.  Ha. 

In my pursuit of this skill, I have gotten very good at outlining with the magnetic lasso.

Just hit "publish" and see that there IS a background around my mint.  So Blogger is not a scrapbook program.  But I made this in Memory Mixer. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Shrimp and Fish at the Beach

The annual get-together of the three Williams boys and their families is a food-fest.  We all meet at our beach condo at SunnySide on Panama City Beach for a week, rain or shine, stormy or gorgeous.  We are on the beach, with a deck, screened porch with paddle fan, HD tv, and a full sized kitchen, so we are ready!

Since all our kids are now grown (with grands here and on the way, both), the week is quiet, but the food is smashing.  Ted is a fab cook and this year I gave him some competition!!! (He did dinner, I did lunch.....)

Here is our shrimp and fish feast.  The seafood is limited, do to closed fishing grounds because of  the Gulf oil spill, but we did o.k.

Caprese Salad
Sauteed Shrimp
Sauteed Grouper
Roasted AsparagusPosted by Picasa

Ted manned the stovetop for the shrimp and grouper (take a look at that wonderful crusty stuff in the pan!), Norman and Larry managed the caprese salad, and I did the roasted asparagus.  We all poured the wine.

The shrimp and grouper are resting on Malissa's wonderful cheese grits.

More feasts to come.............