Monday, December 24, 2007

Have a Blessed Holiday!!!

Making cookies is my way of ushering in the Holidays. My family always looks forward to this sign of Christmas, because I rarely bake cookies during the rest of the year. My favorite recipe this year is a 2002 recipe from the Barefoot Contessa show on the Food Network for Jam Thumbprints.
No matter how expensive the presents have been over the years, I only remember the time spent with my family and the special meals we have shared, particularly on Christmas Eve. So, my prayer for all who visit my blog is that you will have a special memory during this Holiday Season that you can wrap and bring out whenever you need to be uplifted. And, if you are alone this year, I pray you already have that memory wrapped and ready to bring you joy, peace and goodwill.
Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year!!! Linda

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chicken Again!!!

I think the problem with chicken is it can be so predictable. Much as I love it, I also can get very tired of it. So today I thought I would create a new pasta dish to incorporate the boneless chicken breasts I had waiting. Checked the freezer and pantry and came up with this...very tasty! Got rave reviews from my husband and son, so check out my 'recipe' for Baked Chicken and Sausage Rigatoni with Tomato Basil Pesto.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Too Busy + Colder Weather = Crock Pot!

While drinking my morning coffee, I started thinking about how busy today would be for me. Next thought, of course, was what would I make for dinner. So, I padded into my kitchen, opened the freezer and poked about for inspiration. Found a package of stew beef and thought, "Soup!" Rummaged in the fridge and pantry to see what else I had for the soup pot and put it all in my trusty Crock Pot. Yes, I still use my Crock Pot. It is so gratifying to come home after a busy day and smell the home cooking as soon as I open my door. Here's how it looked...I call this one Vegetable Beef Barley Soup.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Smothered Pork Chops for Sunday Dinner

Happy Sunday! Wanted to do an old favorite with a new twist, so brought out my Mom's cast iron skillet to do one of her basic recipes with a little of my flavor. This recipe is easy and so delicious served with a salad, mashed potatoes and some applesauce. Comfort food is so right sometimes, even if the calorie and carb count is outrageous. So, save this meal for just the right time...and make up for it by eating salads for a week!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Memories of My 'Kid-Friendly Goulash' Days...

I decided to spend some time today putting some of my recipes in the blog and kept thinking of the goulash creation I made up (with help from my Mom) when my kids were very young. I used to pride myself on my authentic Italian recipes I had learned from several of my Italian friends and could never understand why my children would turn their noses up at my creations. One day, my son (about 6 at the time) told me he had a great dinner at my friend Maria's house. "Mom, Maria makes the best spaghetti!" I was hurt. So, I called Maria and asked for her recipe. She responded, "Hamburger and Ragu spaghetti sauce." After I hung up the phone, I recalled a "spaghetti" dish my mother used to make when I was a child and decided to give it a try. It worked! The kids loved it and I felt some sense of creativity because it wasn't Ragu! The recipe for Kid-Friendly Goulash reigns supreme and has many variations. My son picked the green peppers out, but liked the onions. We only added the cheese if we had some on hand (no time to run out for extra ingredients in those days). On one of my nostalgic days last year, I made the original goulash dish for my family. My son and daughter (24 and 19 at the time) were unimpressed. Actually, my daughter said, "This tastes like tomato soup!" But, my husband still liked it....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Orleans Steamboat Cruise....

This is me in June 2007 on the mighty Mississippi River. Note the 'West Georgia Mom' t-shirt. Took a road trip with my 20 year-old daughter to spend 4 days in New Orleans. We had a great time and sampled many of the culinary delights the city has to offer (not to mention the drinks!). Post-Katrina, the city still looks like a war zone in some areas. The bayous have houses on stilts that display the marks of the rescue teams to indicate the date, the rescue team, the number of bodies and the date the bodies were removed...sometime much later. Very sobering to see. On a lighter note, the French Quarter was remarkably spared the worst of Katrina in terms of physical damage. However, the damage is there nonetheless. Gone are many of the original businesses and/or their original owners. My daughter (who is too young to remember The Quarter pre-Katrina) was ecstatic just to be there. First stop to eat: Acme Oyster House. Undeniably, the best oyster bar with the freshest oysters. My daughter and I are purists when it comes to raw oysters...Tobasco and fresh lemon juice...incredible!

This Is A First...

Well, I did it! At least, I think I did...Starting a food blog was a suggestion from a dear friend of mine. She is always coming up with ideas to occupy my time (and hers) and suggested that I do something about the one thing in life I seem to do the best and most Hmmm, not sure where writing about it fits in, but we will just have to wait and see. Pictures too...another big Hmmm! Technology is a wonderful thing, but somewhat daunting to a woman born in the early 50's. So, bear with me as I explore this brave, new world and see just what I can do!

I suppose a start would be to tell you a little about me. I was born and raised in rural Rhode Island on a farm. My exposure to food was intense from the start. My parents had a chicken farm and my grandparents owned a dairy farm. With the exception of wild game (provided by my uncles) and pantry items (purchased at our local general store) the farms provided the food we consumed. I went to my very first supermarket when I was about 16 years old and couldn't believe people actually bought all their food from places like that! More another time about all that...but, thought I might like to start this blog with a recipe of my mother's and wanted to provide some background to explain my early adventures in cooking. As with most of Mom's recipes, this is a very simple one but very tasty!

Mom's Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 medium zucchini, grated and well drained (2 cups)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sifted, all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. ground cinnamon (try grinding fresh cinnamon...worth it!)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins
1 cut chopped walnuts

Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl. Stir in oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into another bowl. Stir into egg mixture until well blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. Spoon batter into 2 well-greased loaf pans. Bake in 375 degree oven for 1 hour or until center springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely (or, cut a slice while warm and spread with cream cheese....YUMMM!)

Sorry, no pictures this time. Will be practicing the picture thing for my next post!