Happy Monday!

Had a really long weekend of working.  13 hours on Saturday and 14 hours on Sunday.  A little tired but now 5 days off. Hooray!!!

Today I have taken out some chicken and hamburger from the freezer for 4th of July cooking. Also found some “Firecracker” Johnsonville Brats at the store.  They are limited edition but thought we should try them.  I will also be making a potato salad and maybe some deviled eggs, ice cream and a lemon blueberry spritzer with a kick.  I’ll see what I feel like cooking tomorrow.  What are your cooking the the 4th?

 

 

My plan for this week is to update my PayPal account and then set up my etsy shop for my hand crafts.  I also need to type up some great recipes for my recipe card box and save in my recipe folder on the computer.

 

I  hope to do some more mending.  Our lovely Max (10 month old pittie),

has chewed on a safety vest.

I will be adding a strap to the shoulder of our safety vests to attach our walkie talkies for when we are driving near each other. Hope I get this stuff done this week.  Have to set goals.  Don’t we?  Have a great week!

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Happy Easter

Easter is here again and with it the sunshine and bright colors. This year we had a ham, mashed potato and gravy, salad and Broccoli Francaise (see recipe below). Everything turned out great!


I haven’t colored eggs in many years but my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law wanted to color eggs after they were peeled and this is how they ended up. I believe this is the picture of spring and Easter.Easter Deviled Eggs4

Have a happy Easter with your families!!

Broccoli Francaise

3 Tbsp. margarine
2 lg. cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. cornstarch
4 c. cooked broccoli florets

Combine broth and cornstarch in a bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

Melt margarine in 1-quart saucepan over medium-low heat and cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 1 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, lemon peel, pepper and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until sauce thickens about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over cooked broccoli and garnish, if desired, with lemon wedges.

Good Friday

I know that some folks choose to have a day of fasting on Good Friday. I am not one of those people. So we decided to have a special meal with foods that have a fresh spring flavor.

We’ll start off with salmon fillets which are panned fried with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The salmon will be complimented with Mango Chutney (see recipe below). If you do not have the time (or choose not to make your own chutney), you can purchase a chutney or salsa of your choice at the grocery store. Because the chutney had ginger in it, I thought of this tasty Ginger Pineapple Fried Rice (see recipe below) that we really liked. We will also be having a fruit salad which will include pineapple and mango to tie all the flavors of the meal together.

Mango Carrot Cake1Of course you have to have a carrot cake for Easter. My son & his fiance found a recipe for Mango Carrot Cake in the April 2013 Better Homes and Gardens magazine which we made. It is yummy.

Have a great Good Friday! Come back to see what we are doing for Easter.

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney1

1 lb. ripe mangoes (2 or 3 medium)
10 whole cloves
½ tsp. hot pepper flakes
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. salt
¾ c. sugar
½ c. plus 2 Tbsp. white vinegar

Using a sharp knife, slice each mango lengthwise one either side of the pit/seed to make 2 pieces about ½” thick. Scare the flesh on each piece, making a fine crisscross pattern without cutting through the skin. Pull the ends toward you, forcing the center out to reveal little cubes of mango. Separate the fruit from the skin by scooping with a spoon or cutting with a knife. Pell the remaining skin from the pit and cut the fruit in chunks.

Combine the mango chunks with the remaining ingredients in a heavy non-aluminum saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thick and glossy about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Spoon the chutney into jars. Let the chutney ripen for a day before serving. Refrigerate. Makes 1 ½ cups.

Ginger Pineapple Fried Rice

2 c. cooked Basmati rice, chilled
3 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled & minced
5 scallions (white & green parts separated), finely chopped
½ tsp. salt
¾ c. pineapple, diced to 1/4” pieces
1 tsp. sesame oil

Heat large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to coat the bottom of pan. When oil begins to smoke, stir-fry ginger, white/pale parts of scallions and salt until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to pan. Crumble rice into the pan and stir-fry until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, then add scallion greens, pineapple and sesame oil, tossing to combine. Season with salt.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

green beerToday is St. Patrick’s Day and we are having Corned Beef & Carrots. Why do we only think of eating corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day?.  Maybe we should have it more often since I really like the flavor.  So look forward to some recipes using corned beef – maybe a version of the rueben or a casserole of some kind.


Of course everything has to be green, so why not add a few drops of green food coloring to  your beer  – Viola!  Green Beer.

*  St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the saint’s religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast–on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

Continue reading “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

Dijon Ham & Swiss Loaf

Dijon Ham & Swiss Loaf2

4 c. all-purpose flour, divided
2 tbsp. Sugar
½ tsp. Salt
2 pkg. Rapid Rise yeast
1 c. water
¼ c. Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp. Margarine
½ c. (8 oz.) ground cooked ham
1 c.  chopped Swiss cheese
½ c. dill pickle slices
1 egg, beaten

Mix 3 c. flour, sugar, salt & yeast. Heat water, mustard & margarine to 125 to 130 degrees. Stir into flour mixture. Mix in enough of remaining 1 cup of flour to make a soft dough. Knead 4 minutes. On greased baking sheet, roll dough to 14 x 12-inches. Sprinkles ham, cheese & pickles down center third of dough length. Make cuts from filling to dough edges at 1-inch intervals along sides of filling. Bring strips from opposite sides of filling together, twist & place ends at an angles across filling; cover. Place large shallow pan on counter, half-filled with boiling water. Place baking sheet over pan, let dough rise 15 minutes. Brush loaf with egg.

Dijon Ham & Swiss Loaf4

 

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Dijon Ham & Swiss Loaf3

 

Washington’s Birthday

To celebrate Washington’s birthday, why not try the following Apple Smash while reading some history below:

Apple Smash+

1 sweet apples such as Gala or Pink Lady
Apple Smash2 c. white rum
1 c. simple syrup
1 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. Bitters
Cinnamon

In a pitcher, mash half of the apples slices using a muddler or a spoon. Pour rum, syrup, lemon juice and bitters into pitcher. Stir until mixed, then strain over crushed ice in a glass. Garnish with an apple slice and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

NOTE: You make simple syrup by boiling water and putting the same amount of sugar in it.

* Washington’s Birthday officially honors the life and work of George Washington, the first president of the United States. The day commemorates past presidents of the USA. Washington’s Birthday is sometimes known as Presidents’ Day. This is because while most states have adopted Washington’s Birthday, some states officially celebrate Presidents’ Day.

Some states pay particular attention to Abraham Lincoln, as his birthday was also in mid-February. In the weeks or days leading up to the holiday, schools often organize events and lessons for students about the presidents of the United States and George Washington in particular.

The US federal holiday is on the third Monday of February each year, but records show that George Washington’s birthday is on February 22.

Many businesses are open as usual and many stores hold sales on Washington’s Birthday. Many delivery services, except for the Post Office, have a regular service and many, but not all, public transit systems operate on regular schedules. Some schools close for the whole week for a mid-winter recess. According to some government sources, Indiana observes the Washington’s birthday holiday in December.

George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. His first term as president was from 1789 to 1793 and his second term from 1793 to 1797. Before he became president, he played important roles in the military, leading the American Continental Army to victory over the British in 1783. Washington is often seen as the father of the United States and is probably the best known American politician ever.

The likeness and name of George Washington can still be seen in many places in the United States. There is the portrait of him and three other American presidents carved into Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. His image is also used on the one-dollar bill and the quarter-dollar coin. The capital of the United States, Washington D.C., Washington State and at least three universities are named after him.

Washington’s Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia in 1880. It was made a federal holiday in 1885. The holiday was originally held on the anniversary of George Washington’s birth, on February 22. In 1971, this holiday was moved to the third Monday in February.

+ From Celebrations.com

* http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/washington-birthday

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy V DayIt’s that time of year to ask the one you love to be your Valentine. This year as funds are short, I decided to do some inexpensive and fun things to show Mac how much he means to me. Do you remember when you were a kid and you bought a box of little Valentines for all your classmates?. I decided to make some of these to put in Mac’s lunch along with his favorite cookie, Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, to take to school today.

hershey's kiss moldIf you can’t afford your loved one’s favorite food ( Mac likes steak and I like shrimp), why not make heart shaped hamburgers and Baked Potato Wedges (recipe below). I have a ”Hershey’s Kiss” silicone pull-apart cupcake mold, so I am making a golden butter cake with chocolate frosting and red sprinkles and lettering for dessert.

Remember, the small things mean as much as spending a lot of money to show how much you love that special person in your life.

Baked Potato Wedges

BakedPotatoWedges14 medium-sized red potatoes, cut into wedges**
1 tbsp. Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Blend

2 tsp. Garlic salt
1 tsp. Ground black pepper
1 tbsp. Olive oil

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine Mrs. Dash, garlic salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place potato wedges in a large bowl and toss in the olive oil. Then pour seasoning in the bowl with potatoes and toss until evening coated.

Roast on a baking sheet about 30 minutes, turning at 15 minutes to evenly brown potatoes.

**If you don’t have red potatoes, you can use russet potatoes – just par boil them for 15 minutes or so before baking so they are cooked through.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

MardiGras cupcakeToday is called Fat Tuesday the beginning of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.   Give this shrimp recipe a try:

New Orleans-Style Shrimp

1 ½ lb. Large shrimp (21-25 per lb), peeled & deveined
2 tbsp. Olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
¾ tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Chili powder
2 tsp. Black pepper
4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
Baguette for accompaniment
Lemon wedges to garnish

Toss shrimp with all ingredients except baguette & lemon wedges and marinate at cool room temperature 15 minutes. Cook in a hot skillet about 6 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, stirring occasionally.

If grilling on skewers: Thread 4 or 5 shrimp onto each skewer & grill, turning over once, until cooked through 3-4 minutes total. Push shrimp off skewers into a bowl, then pour the following butter sauce on them and toss to combine well. Heat 6 tbsp. unsalted butter with chili powder, pepper, Worcestershire & remaining ¼ tsp. Salt in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until butter is melted, then remove from heat & stir in lemon juice.

MardiGrasBeads&Mask* A Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival, it is celebrated in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations–on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans play host to some of the holiday’s most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year.

According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England.

Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the meat, eggs, milk and cheese that remained in their homes, preparing for several weeks of eating only fish and fasting. In France, the day before Ash Wednesday came to be known as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.” The word “carnival,” another common name for the pre-Lenten festivities, may also derive from this vegetarian-unfriendly custom: in Medieval Latin, carnelevarium means to take away or remove meat.

Many historians believe that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when the French explorers Iberville and Bienville landed in what is now Louisiana, just south of the holiday’s future epicenter: New Orleans. They held a small celebration and dubbed the spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, they abolished these rowdy rituals, and the bans remained in force until Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.

On Mardi Gras in 1827, a group of students donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, emulating the revelry they’d observed while visiting Paris. Ten years later, the first recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place, a tradition that continues to this day. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future public celebrations in the city. Since then, krewes have remained a fixture of the Carnival scene throughout Louisiana. Other lasting customs include throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, decorating floats and eating King Cake.

Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras is a legal holiday. However, elaborate carnival festivities draw crowds in other parts of the United States during the Mardi Gras season as well, including Alabama and Mississippi. Each region has its own events and traditions.

Across the globe, pre-Lenten festivals continue to take place in many countries with significant Roman Catholic populations. Brazil’s week long Carnival festivities feature a vibrant amalgam of European, African and native traditions. In Canada, Quebec City hosts the giant Quebec Winter Carnival. In Italy, tourists flock to Venice’s Carnevale, which dates back to the 13th century and is famous for its masquerade balls. Known as Karneval, Fastnacht or Fasching, the German celebration includes parades, costume balls and a tradition that empowers women to cut off men’s ties. For Denmark’s Fastevlan, children dress up and gather candy in a similar manner to Halloween–although the parallel ends when they ritually flog their parents on Easter Sunday morning.

MardiGrasNewOrleans

* http://www.history.com/topics/mardi-gras

Groundhog Day

* An early spring is on the way, according to groundhog “Punxsutawney Phil.” When the Pennsylvania groundhog emerged from his dwelling at Gobbler’s Knob Saturday morning, he did not see his shadow.

“And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early Spring for you and me,” proclaimed Bob Roberts, one of Phil’s handlers.

According to folklore, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and see its shadow, then six more weeks of winter weather is on the way. But if it comes out and sees no shadow, spring is expected to come early….*

groundhog Day MovieHow many of you have seen the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray and Andie McDowell? I just watched it and it seems like I’ve seen it over and over and over again 🙂 I have found a drink that Mac and I really enjoy and keep making it again and again. Why don’t you give it a try?

Bitter Gin Cocktail+

Sliced lime
Dash of Bitters
1 oz. Gin
3 oz. Tonic Water

Fill a glass with ice. Add a slice of lime and a dash of Bitters. Then add gin and tonic water. Stir well and serve.

What day would you like to do over and over again?

** Groundhog Day falls on February 2 in the United States, coinciding with Candlemas. It is a part of popular culture among many Americans and it centers on the idea of the groundhog coming out of its home to “predict” the weather.

Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town has attracted thousands of visitors over the years to experience various Groundhog Day events and activities on February 2.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club plays an important role in organizing Groundhog Day in the town. Club members, news reporters, locals and visitors meet at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2 each year to await Phil’s appearance and his weather prediction. Pennsylvania’s governor has been known to attend Groundhog Day ceremonies. Many weather researchers questioned the groundhog’s accuracy in predicting the weather but some of the groundhog’s fans may not agree.

Thousands of years ago when animalism and nature worship were prevalent, people in the area of Europe now known as Germany believed that the badger had the power to predict the coming of spring. They watched the badger to know when to plant their crops. By the time the first German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania they probably understood that this was not true but the tradition continued.

Unfortunately there were not many badgers in Pennsylvania so the groundhog substituted the badger. Tradition has it that if the groundhog will sees its shadow on February 2 it will be frightened by it and will return to its burrow, indicating that there will be six more weeks of winter. If it does not see its shadow, then spring is on the way.

Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the United States in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob was made on February 2, 1887. It is said that Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) was named after King Phillip. He was called Br’er Groundhog prior to being known as Phil. Canada also celebrates Groundhog Day.<

The groundhog, also known as the woodchuck or marmot, is believed to make weather predictions relating to winter and spring according to superstition. Movies, advertisements, cartoons and other media have portrayed the legendary role of the groundhog in popular culture. The term “Groundhog Day” is a phrase that is sometimes used to express if the same events or actions occur repetitively for a period of time.

+ From Celebrations.com

* http://abcnews.go.com/US/groundhog-day-2013-punxsutawney-phil-sees-shadow-predicts/story?id=18382344

** http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/groundhog-day

Martin Luther King Day

Today why not try something delicious to celebrate the freedoms we have. Here is a simple recipe for chicken that tastes really good and works with any thighs, breasts, or drumsticks you have in the house.


Bold & Tangy Chicken

Bold & Tangy Chicken_12 to 3 lbs. Chicken
½ c. Heinz 57 Sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp. Honey
4 tsp. Garlic
4 tsp. Balsamic vinegar

Mix Heinz 57 sauce, honey, garlic and vinegar. Brush onto your chicken during the last 5 minutes of grilling.

 
* Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States.

Martin Luther King Day is a relatively new federal holiday and there are few long standing traditions. It is seen as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. Some educational establishments mark the day by teaching their pupils or students about the work of Martin Luther King and the struggle against racial segregation and racism. In recent years, federal legislation has encouraged Americans to give some of their time on this day as volunteers in citizen action groups.

Martin Luther King Day, also known as Martin Luther King’s birthday and Martin Luther King Jr Day, is combined with other days in different states. For example, it is combined with Civil Rights Day in Arizona and New Hampshire, while it is observed together with Human Rights Day in Idaho. It is also a day that is combined with Robert E. Lee’s birthday in some states.

Martin Luther King was an important civil rights activist. He was a leader in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. His most famous address was the “I Have A Dream” speech. He was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968.

In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King died, a campaign was started for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions lead the campaign for the federal holiday. It was endorsed in 1976. Following support from the musician Stevie Wonder with his single “Happy Birthday” and a petition with six million signatures, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although it was not observed in all states until the year 2000.

* http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/martin-luther-king-day