Tag Archives: recipes

Easy Tears

We were in the kitchen, adult son and I.

I was fixing lunch, quesadillas. Easy.

We were talking about the day and about feelings and life. I told him about an upcoming trip that had me feeling nostalgic. He told me about an incident he had witnessed over the weekend that turned on my tears.

Instantly.

He began to apologize. There was no need. He had done nothing wrong. I was feeling my reality. The tears were inviting me into more of it.

Last week we were on vacation. We had a beach day. Every year we take the same lunch in the cooler.

  • Ritz crackers
  • Polska kielbasa cut into slices
  • Easy cheese in cheddar and American styles
  • sodas and water
  • some kind of fruit

When I am well-prepared there are also paper plates and napkins. This year was a not-well-prepared year. We had to live dangerously, risking dropping the can of cheese in the sand or the cracker in the sand, or the meat into the sand.

All to be coated in sand.

There is always a lot of sand. Some people like the added texture. It is a lunch not for the faint of heart. It is the beach.

This year I noticed a can of Cheese Wow! mixed in with the name brand cheeses. My husband had offered to do the grocery run when we arrived in town to start our vacation. For a good $3 less, it was quite comparable.

But you have to say Cheese Wow!

So in the kitchen today, as my tears began to squeeze out of my eyes, I couldn’t hold them back. No matter how hard I tried to keep them in, they came squirting out.

Easy Tears just like the Easy Cheese at the beach. Just as salty, too.

Tears Wow!

I have a lot of them inside, crashing like the ocean’s waves.

That is all.

Sweet Potatoes

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, and tonight I am thankful that the sweet potatoes are fixed and ready to be baked tomorrow. I am thankful for my parents and their willingness to host Thanksgiving dinner. It is lovely to just show up.

I first tasted this casserole twenty-eight years ago, Holiday Season 1987, with Steve’s family. His sister-in-law, Robin, prepared it. I asked for the recipe. I still have it on a faded pink piece of paper.

Siblings have requested the recipe in the past. This year an adult child texted to ask. After digging around, looking for, and finally finding it, I decided to post it here.

Robin’s Sweet Potatoes
4 or 5 sweet potatoes, baked, and middles scooped into a mixing bowl.*
Add
1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c milk
3 eggs
Mix well.
Pour into a greased baking dish.
Prepare topping.
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 stick butter, melted
Mix together, spread over potatoes, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

*To cook sweet potatoes, wash and then prick them all over with a fork. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet or baking pan and bake at 375 for an hour or so. Remove from oven to counter or just turn off the oven and let them cool in there. When cool to touch, the insides scoop right out.*

This dish can be made ahead of time and baked later. I have played around with this recipe by adding more potatoes, cutting the sugar/butter to taste, etc. It’s still good, but definitely not diet, low-carb, low-fat, or low anything. It’s like candy.

Perfect for twice a year!

Fall Chowder

How have I never heard of Croctober? 

Facebook introduced me last night. Pretty cool, since today I was planning to post about Fall Chowder made in the crockpot. Now it can be for Croctober, too! Win~win!

Back in the day before the internet was in every home and wifi connected all of our devices to sites like Facebook and Pinterest, there were people. And books. You had to actually connect face to face (not facetime) with real people and look things up in literal books.

You couldn’t click a mouse and instantly find 50 pumpkin recipes for the season, or 50 crock-pot recipes for your freezer, or any of the other knock-off seasonal latte drink recipes that fill one’s feed while scrolling through Facebook. You had to have cookbooks or recipes from friends or something cut out of a newspaper or magazine to find that unique dish or drink. You had to work a little harder for your variety.

You needed connection.

A small season of connection came for me when I was fifteen, and my family began attending a new church. Looking back, it was such a short season, maybe seven months at most, but I was impacted for the rest of my life by my experience there.

The ladies of the church, who all seemed so virtuous and perfect to my untrained eye, assembled a cookbook that I acquired somehow, maybe from my then-boyfriend, who might have wished that I could be as stellar as they when I grew up. Maybe I came across it some other way. My memory doesn’t serve, and I am choosing not to go to that season in my memory right now.

Where I am choosing to go is to the fact that I received a treasure trove of recipes that I have followed throughout my married life and that has followed me. Each recipe has the name of the woman (or, rare, man) who contributed it. There are no links, websites, or blogs listed. I feel a connection to those whose recipes I prepare.

Some recipes have now been inspired by, since the original is lost or has fallen out of the book or been removed and not replaced (long ago when the book began to fall apart, I put the sheets in page protectors in a binder, which was both good and bad. Good – protect. Bad – remove and lose.)

So, if you are reading this (and I know some of you do) and recognize your (or a friend’s) recipe, send me a shout-out. I’d love to remember.

Here is my crock pot adaptation of Fall Chowder. It is not healthy, fat free, low calorie or anything. It is comfort food at it’s finest, unless you are nine. Then it is torture.

Crock Pot Fall Chowder

4 c red potatoes, cut into small cubes
4 c carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4-6 c chicken broth or bouillon cubes and water, or equal liquid choice for the base
12-16oz bacon
Small bag of frozen corn
2 cans Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup
2 cans milk
4 c shredded cheddar cheese (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Put the cut up carrots and onions into the Crock Pot (mine is the larger 6 qt size).
  2. Cook the bacon. Either cut it into pieces first and cook it up with the chopped onions, or cook up the strips and then drain and cook up the onions in some of the grease. Put the cooked bacon into the pot. Add the cooked onions. Stir everything together.
  3. Add the broth or cooking liquid of choice. I make big batches of broth when I cook chicken, so there are often frozen bags or containers of broth in my freezer. Since this is going to cook all day, I put the frozen chunk right into the pot. It works great. If you do this, move it to the bottom of the pot and sort of pile the vegetables around the frozen chunk.
  4. Start the pot on low if it will be cooking all day.
  5. An hour or two before you plan to eat (this works for me on a workday when I get home at 3:15, and we eat at 6), remove the lid and give the soup a stir. Everything should be cooked and soup-like. Add the 2 cans of cheese soup and 2 cans of milk. Stir. Add the frozen corn. Stir. Add the shredded cheese. Stir. Replace the lid and continue to cook on low until you eat.

In my ideal world, we eat this with jiffy cornbread muffins and honey-butter. There is a salad.

Reality is sometimes Pillsbury pop-biscuits or bread and butter.

Enjoy! Happy Crocktober!

Mardi Gras Crepes

It’s Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras. (Paczki Day. I hear Grammy’s voice clearly.)

The year I made crepes to celebrate the occasion, it became a tradition. I don’t even remember when that was, and since I didn’t have a blog back in the day, there is no official documentation. Maybe I should have made Paczkis. Yes. I even know it is pronounced poonchkeys, and they are like fried jelly donuts.

Thanks to my Grammy.

Did I even have a life back then? Before the world-wide-web?

On Fat Tuesday we eat cherry and blueberry crepes (and, apparently, starting this year, the adults drink Pinot Noir…excellent pairing). I also add a side like bacon or sausage patties. This year was sausage, since we had bacon for breakfast, recently. (Like, yesterday. The snowday morning.)

It’s difficult to believe that I did things like this. Started traditions. Made memories.

But I did!

Now that I have a blog I thought it might be helpful to actually save and share the recipe that I used, since each year seems to be a surprise to me.

How do I make those crepes, again? I know there’s that lemony-cream cheese filling, but does anyone else like that or just me and Steve?

So here goes. It’s a little late for your Fat Tuesday celebration this year but makes an excellent treat any time. In our family, Steve and I and the oldest little like the cream cheese filling added in before the fruit filling, and the little girls just like plain filling.

Roo only liked the sausage. She tried crepes last year and says her tastes haven’t changed.

Everyone who ate crepes, squirted whipped cream on top, except for Mommy, who has had enough Fat Tuesday to last for the next 40 days. She’ll have another glass of Pinot. Orange juice also makes a great beverage choice for this meal.

Basic Crepes
1 c flour
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c water
2 T butter, melted
1/2 t salt (If there is anything better than RealSalt mixed equally with Kirkland Sea Salt, I haven’t found it. I am a salt freak. Wait. There IS that Celtic Sea Salt. Whatever salt you like, add 1/2 tsp. or a few cranks with the grinder.)
Mix flour and eggs. Gradually add milk and water. Add melted butter and salt.
Pour a scant (1/4-1/3 c) amount of batter onto hot omelet or frying pan and swirl around to coat the bottom. Cook like a pancake. Remove cooked crepes to plate for filling and rolling.

Fill with fruit or pie filling of choice. We like cherry and blueberry.

Lemon-Cream Cheese filling (if desired to add before the fruit filling)
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 lemon, juiced
Powdered sugar until desired consistency (1 or 2 cups)
Mix cream cheese and lemon juice (used Kitchen Aid for this)
Add powdered sugar until desired “icing” or “filling” consistency
Spread on cooked crepe, add cherry or blueberry pie filling, and roll up.

Omit cream cheese filling for small children or those who don’t like it and just use your favorite pie filling or fruit. I also served the cream cheese filling concoction on the side for those who wanted to add some to theirs.

There you have a yummy celebration dish. It is not “free” of anything and it is “fully” everything. Once a year. We can do that. Happy Mardi Gras!

 

Here’s the Rub

Today was beautiful and difficult and so many things rolled into one.

We did the Cystic Fibrosis Walk with Team DeeDee.

We went to Costco.

I had a delicious nap.

The kids did their chores.

I woke up agitated.

My amazing husband who did many gallant things for me today (moved the drum set remnants from the front entryway, cleaned out the fridge, and bought me flowers to plant to name a few) was super patient with me as I struggled through my triggers.

Supper time approached, and I was determined to fix a real meal. I pulled a package of pork chops (that I had gotten marked down from Food Lion) from the fridge and saw a recipe for a rub on them. Since I was feeling so bugged and everything was rubbing me the WRONG way, I decided to try something that might rub the RIGHT way and fix this rub.

May I confess here now that I am not a big meat griller like others in my family, and this was my first attempt at such a feat?

It was delicious and easy!

Maybe you eat pork (maybe not, and that’s ok, too) and would like to try this recipe from the peel off on the pork chops.

4 bone-in loin pork chops (I did 6)

2 tsp brown sugar (or more, like me)

1 1/2 tsp coarse salt (I ground up a bunch of Himalayan Pink Salt coarsely)

1/2 tsp coarse black pepper (or so)

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves

You combine these spices in a small bowl then rub them on both sides of the chops. They rest for 15-30 minutes (while you are making the vegan biscuits).

Prepare a medium-hot fire on the grill, and then grill the chops over direct heat for about 5 minutes on each side (Steve did this part). The internal temp should reach 145 F (If you check your meat with a thermometer).

Let them rest for 3 minutes or so (while you get the rest of dinner on the table, maybe salad and biscuits).

Yum!