So, how was your Thanksgiving?

Mine was such a blessing. I was exhausted from working everyday prior but my mother and father were here. I was with my wonderful fiance in our lovely home and I was able to spend the a.m. cooking for them.

Since Mom and Dad were here I made biscuits and gravy again. Well, Mom made the gravy because she makes it perfectly every time. Yum-mee! We cleaned up the breakfast dishes and started in on Thanksgiving dinner. I followed the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Herb Roasted Turkey. Wow! It was perfect. Here’s a picture …

Extremely tasty and moist turkey.

I also made their pumpkin pie recipe. It called for candied yams (which I didn’t have) so I used a sweet potato instead. It was truly one of the best pumpkin pies I’ve ever tasted. Mom bought me an immersion blender for my birthday so I made the whipped cream with it. Love that new gadget!

Best pie ever!

Those people at Cook’s Illustrated seriously know what they are doing over there. If you buy no other cook book, buy that one.

Moving to Kentucky has messed up my routines. It didn’t feel like Thanksgiving since I wasn’t in Republic. I loved every moment of it since I was able to cook with Mom. Saturday night D took me out for a date to Louisville. When we were coming home, our neighbors has put up their Christmas lights. It took my by total surprise.  Guess I’ll get my Christmas tree up this week. How exciting!

I hope my four readers had a blessed Thanksgiving. I am thankful for your encouragement and support.

Comfort food, it’s the simple things really.

I love Saturdays. D and I sleep in and take our time getting around. It’s my favorite part of the week. Since I have to work on my birthday D is letting me have today as my “do whatever I want to day”.

Today I choose reruns of “Angel” and  Biscuits and Gravy. I am so grateful to all the grandmothers and mothers of this world teaching us how to make comfort food. It’s been months since I’ve had it and I was craving it something fierce. If you don’t know how to prepare this basic breakfast food, you are missing out. I have worked on it for years and it seems like each time I do it’s slightly different. Today, however, I did it completely right. The gravy was perfect, the biscuits were fluffy and light. D even mooned over me having made it.

Cooking is so gratifying. I love watching someone respond with excitement to something I’ve prepared for them. Now I’m the first to tell you I am my own worst critic. I can find a flaw in even my most perfect dish. When someone smiles and says, “wow this is amazing”, well that’s just fun.

If you want to learn how to make this … I can hook you up. It’s not nearly as difficult as you might imagine.

Happy eating! Yum-Mee

Less about cooking and more about Thanksgiving …

If I had a lot of disposable income would I be more inclined to enjoy “Black Friday?” I hope not. I stand by my belief that there is nothing on this earth that I need so desperately that I’m willing to be at a department store at 4:30 a.m. (or earlier). I love people and being around them, so I don’t want to fight you for a $20 waffle maker. I’d rather pay more for it and not have to hassle with a throng of crazy people for it. Black Friday is an awful example of how the media has trained us to be a lover of THINGS and not each other. Even if you’re entire family goes to the store to buy these things … it’s less about being together than the “things”.  Maybe I’m bitter because rather than getting to spend the day with my family, I have to work at a place that encourages you to grow more debt and buy those things. Thanks Wall Street.

Okay, okay … I am so thankful that my parents are going to drive 16 hours round trip to spend one day with me. I’m thankful that I have a beautiful man who loves me beyond reason who has provided me with an amazing home. I have family who despite differences and the usual disagreements love one another. I have two lovely cats who bring me immense joy. I have a faith that is solid and has given me friends beyond numbering. I suppose I’m the one being greedy wanting to spend more time with them rather than a bunch of crazy shopping people.

I have employment. No, it doesn’t pay for much more than gas to and from the site. I have  to change my attitude and be thankful for that. No one else has been inclined to hire me so I at least am good for manual labor if not intellectual.

This Thanksgiving I will be preparing a traditional dinner for my darling fiance, his kids and my parents. I am so blessed to have the resources to do so. I am blessed to have these amazing people in my life. They have encouraged, supported and blessed me abundantly. It’s amazing to me that in a time of such blessing I have still found something to grumble about.

I hope that all those I love will have the same blessing. I hope that those who choose to shop will as well. All those “things” they buy can’t replace the blessing of home, family and a well cooked turkey.

Rainy Day and Nothing Cookin’

I have two days off and D is out of town. No cooking being done now. Instead, I’m kind of experiencing a diet/cooking rebellion. I’ve eaten fast food two days in a row. I know, I know … BAD. There are times though when I don’t feel like cooking. I managed to get to Louisville yesterday to shop at Trader Joe’s. I love their chocolate covered banana’s. So, I bought two boxes. I kind of hope D doesn’t enjoy them because he’ll have them devoured before I can blink. He is an eating machine! I also bought a case of their Three Buck Chuck. Now I can cook with it without worrying I’m using some of D’s expensive wines.

I also made my monthly pilgrimage to Aldi’s. I love their Costa Rican blend coffee. They also have their annual Stollen in stock. Yum. You may say it’s a fruit cake but it’s SO much more than that. I bought it for Thanksgiving, which you may say is too early but they’re designed to last a long time and it’s hidden away so that we’ll be less tempted to dive in until next week. I’m really hoping D won’t enjoy it.

It turns out Mom and Dad are coming here for Thanksgiving! Yippee! I was afraid I wouldn’t get to cook with her this year. Now I need to figure out what we’ll eat. I also need to buy a turkey. It can’t be too big because I don’t have a pan big enough to cook one in. Hmm … what to do, what to do. I’ve registered for one at BB&B but that’s not for another year. Perhaps Mom will bring hers.

I guess it’s time to get out the cookbooks.

A movie and a pizza …

I’m making a goat cheese/pesto, mushroom, spinach and chicken pizza on whole wheat crust for dinner. It’s the first time I’ve added whole wheat to my pizza crust. Let’s hope it’s not a failure. It smells divine. Add a glass of white wine, the latest Harry Potter movie on blue-ray, and you have the making of date night. Even on a Sunday that’s not so bad. I am blessed.


The pizza was fabulous. I can’t believe I made it. I’ve learned to preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500 degrees. I baked the pizza on the lowest rack which insured a crispy crust. Also, I blended the pesto into the goat cheese and let it rest for an hour before spreading over the dough. I love making my own crust and each time I do it comes out a little different every time. I think I could eat that every day. Yum-Mee!

French Toast that will make you giggle.

Just ask my dear friend Connie. Every time I prepare it for her she giggles after each bite. I love watching her eat it. I made it for D this a.m. for the first time. He swears this is the first time he’s ever had French toast (other than fast food). He was impressed. It certainly is a mouth pleaser. It’s easy to make too.

Most of the time I soak the bread overnight. I didn’t do that this time and it was just as tasty if not more so. You have to use a crusty bread for it to really sing so I buy an Italian loaf usually. It’s crusty and dense yet with air pockets to help absorb the liquid. I also used real cream today instead of milk and half and half. Wow. What an amazing difference that made. So here’s what you’re need.

1 loaf of bread or about six thick slices depending upon how many you’re serving,                1 cup heavy cream,                                                                                                                              1 egg,                                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp. vanilla,                                                                                                                                1/4 tsp almond extract,                                                                                                                1/2 tsp. cinnamon,                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg.

Whisk all liquid together. Butter a baking dish and line the dish with the bread. Butter the top of the bread then pour liquid over it. Turn the bread so that it’s well absorbed. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with REAL maple syrup. None of that fake stuff please. It’s also good with fresh berries and bananas.


It’s been a long week.

So, I’ve had to work four days at my part-time retail job. It’s a fun job but it’s killing my feet. Wow. I haven’t really cooked many meals this week. The one meal I did prepare was a huge hit though.  I love it when experiments go right in the kitchen.

I was in the mood for something Mexican that wasn’t tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. Those dishes seem more American than Mexican anyway. I call it Chipotle Chicken & Rice.The problem I didn’t have many authentic ingredients on hand so I kind of had to improvise. Here’s the breakdown:

1 large chicken breast
1 small onion
1/2 cup minced red pepper
1/2 tbsp butter
1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp chipotle pepper rub
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 cup chicken stock
1- 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and marinated in olive oil, salt and a chipotle pepper rub by Pampered Chef for about an hour and a half.  Brown the chicken and set aside (I keep mine warm in my toaster oven).  Saute one small onion, 1/2 cup red bell pepper in butter until they begin to soften then add the rice and cook until rice starts to become golden in color. Once rice is ready pour in chicken stock, Rotel and cream. Lower temperature to low and cover with tight lid. Let cook for about 20 minutes then add the chicken and cook for another five minutes. Before serving mix in the cheese.

Enjoy. Yum-Mee!

Curry Venison & Vegetables over couscous

It’s hunting season and if you’re from the rural parts of the US it’s highly likely that someone you know hunts deer. I don’t always enjoy the gamey taste of venison but with the right herbs you can make anything tasty. I get bored with chili in the fall so this is dish is a nice change. Rich meat require rich spice so curry is perfect. I also make this dish with ground turkey or chicken but in the fall use what you have.

1/2 lb ground venison
1 bag frozen spinach
1 tub button mushrooms, quartered
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, roasted & chopped
3 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Thaw and drain completely the spinach.

2. In a large skillet or soup pot, saute onions, garlic with venison, salt and pepper as well. Once the venison is brown add in the spinach, mushrooms and roasted bell pepper, cook together for a few minutes then add curry powder. Cook covered, stirring occasionally for approximately 30-40 minutes.

3. Prepare couscous (I always use chicken/beef/vegetable stock). You can also add raisins and pine nuts for texture and to counter balance the heat of the curry.

4. Serve curry mixture over couscous and top with fresh goat cheese. Enjoy!

My version of Asian slaw.

This salad is a crowd pleaser and one that is frequently requested by my friends. I decided to create my own dressing for this because the recipe I was using previously used the spice packet from the ramen noodles and I never felt good about using it because it’s filled with MSG and sodium. My dressing was better on all levels.

You can do this a couple of different ways. When money is tight I chop all the ingredients individually. If not then I just buy the bags of coleslaw and the broccoli slaw. Either way you do it is fine as long as you end up with the same quantity of cabbage mixture. I make a lot because it’s so popular and I can eat it for several days running.

In a large skillet cook the following mixture until it becomes golden brown then let cool completely.
¼ stick of butter
2 packages of Ramen Noodles,
½ cup of unsalted peanuts,
1 tbsp sesame seeds

While mixture is browning, mix together the following in a large bowl:
1 small white cabbage finely chopped
½ of a small red cabbage finely chopped
2 large carrots julienned
2 bags of broccoli slaw
½ cup cilantro chopped
4 green onions chopped
1 cup white raisins

Whisk together ingredients until very well combined. I use a container I can shake to insure the sugar dissolves.
¼ cup apple vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola, grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp fish sauce
1 tsp Srirache hot sauce (optional – you can also use cayenne powder)
1tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp garlic powder

Once you have all the ingredients ready, mix in the dressing until veggies are thoroughly coated. Let slaw set in the fridge for at least an hour before you add the crunchy mixture and only right before you serve it.

A fall favorite … Butternut Squash Soup.

Every year when I make this I think … Why haven’t I made this sooner. I love this soup. It’s always so satisfying and delicious!

1 medium to large butternut squash
1 small onion
1 small sweet potato
2 stalks of celery
2 large carrots
6 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp curry powder (I prefer Madras)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Roast your squash (cut in half and coated w/olive oil, salt & pepper) for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, finely chop all the other ingredients with salt and pepper and saute until soft. Add stock then when the squash is ready, cube it up and throw in with soup mixture. Add curry powder and cook for approximately 35 more minutes.

Once all ingredients have cook, puree in blender.

Serve with crusty bread or croutons.