Saturday, May 30, 2015

From the Kitchen - Empty Nest and Outside the Nest

Tacos Galore

Are you ready to make a run for the border? No need to pick up fast food. Check out your herbs and spices, and pull out that can of tomato sauce lurking in the back of the pantry.
That's right, folks. Today is a two-for-one day, as far as recipes go.

First of all, we'll start with the Southwest Seasoning. It looks like packaged taco seasoning, it tastes like packaged taco seasoning. It is taco seasoning. The good thing is, you can make as much or as little as you want, and always have it on hand. I like to keep my seasoning mixes in a small canning jar, but any jar with a tight lid will do.

Now, on to the taco sauce. This is so easy, and economical, and is ready in about 25 minutes.

We'll start with tomato sauce and water,

white vinegar,

the dry ingredients.

Everybody in the pool.
Cook it about 20 minutes, and there you have it.

I like to brown my hamburger, add the seasoning, water, black beans, and frozen corn.
Top off some chips, sprinkle the hot mixture with shredded cheddar, add the sauce, sour cream, sliced green onions.

It's a dig-in, scoop it up, savor the flavor, kind of a meal. As in: Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Southwest Seasoning
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1-1/2 Tsp ground coriander
1-1/2 Tsp reduced sodium salt
1-1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 Tsp oregano
1 Tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
 Pinch of crushed red pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix together, store in tightly covered container. Use for taco seasoning or in Spanish rice. 1 Tbsp. per 1/4 lb. of meat

Taco Sauce

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/3 C water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1-1/2 Tsp dried minced onion
1-1/2 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp garlic powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp chili powder
1/4 Tsp paprika
1/4 Tsp granulated sugar
1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all in sauce pan, simmer 20 minutes.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

In Memory

Reuben Wendorff - WWII
Returned home with shrapnel as a permanent part of his life

Harold Buettner - WWII
Returned home without his medals
He received them on his 90th birthday

John (Jack) Thelen
Korean War
Returned home without his medals
I received them after requesting them

There are so many others, too numerous to mention.
Thank you to all who have served.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

From the Kitchen

Butterscotch Pudding Pops
So, it's almost summer. It's almost warm out.
It's time to think about those tasty frozen treats.

Let's start with a box of instant pudding,

which I add to milk. And then I whisk.

Next, chopped butterscotch chips,

and chopped toffee bits, as in Heath Bars.
My favorite. Not my dentist's favorite, however.
Well maybe they are his favorite, because if I chomp too hard on them, I break my teeth, and he fixes them.

Stir it all together.

Pour into cups. I use paper cups, but popsicle makers will work as well. So will plastic cups.

I add a short piece of straw, because I didn't have any Popsicle sticks. 
Add a foil cover, poke the straw(or stick) through,

Aren't they pretty?

I tear the paper cup off, after a quick dip in warm water. Any way you make them,
one icy bite after another, are they ever good.
Hey, maybe chocolate pudding with mini chocolate chips?
Cheesecake pudding with, well, whatever you like on your cheesecake? And then there's vanilla, and lemon, and banana, and . . . the possibilities are endless.
Happy Saturday

Butterscotch Pudding Pops

1 (3 oz.) package sugar-free instant butterscotch pudding mix
2 C milk
1/3 C butterscotch baking chips, chopped
1/3 C crushed Heath bars

Combine pudding mix and milk, whisk for 2 minutes. Add baking chips and Heath, stir to combine. Divide into 7 (3 ounce) paper cups. Place short straw or popsicle stick in center, top with small piece of foil, poking straw or stick through center. Freeze 6 hours.  Dip in warm water to loosen, or peel off. 7 pudding pops

*Can use popsicle makers as well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

From the Kitchen

Summer Smoothie
It's time to smoothie the way into summer, which hopefully will arrive in about a month.
I'll keep this short, and oh, so sweet.
This is my favorite breakfast, or a lite lunch.

4 oz. Strawberry yogurt: check

4 oz.Orange juice: check
I use  the yogurt cup to measure the juice

Banana: check
Either one regular, or 3/4 of a large one

Heaping Tsp. of flax seed meal: check
Oh, so good for you.

A handful of frozen strawberries: check
They should be frozen, as this keeps the Smoothie chilled. I had about 3 large size.

Frozen blueberries: check
Amount according to your taste. I used about 8 frozen berries.

I found this nifty blender, which has a cover, which allows you to take cup and go.
Since the only place I go is from the kitchen cupboard to the table, I don't need a to-go cup. Or an adult sippy cup.


Drink up.
Cool, creamy, tasty, healthy, good for you.

Breakfast Smoothie
4 oz. strawberry yogurt
4 oz. orange juice
1 banana
1 heaping Tsp. flax seed meal
3-4 large, frozen strawberries
7-8 frozen blueberries

Combine all in blender, and blend until smooth. Makes 1 serving

Saturday, May 16, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Cowboy Nachos

Yee, Hah, giddy-up cowboy.
OK, enough of that. Let's get on with the recipe.
This is an easy recipe that can be made ahead and reheated. It would be great for those who like to go camping. Take it along, heat it up, gobble it up. Or down. Or which ever direction you so wish.

I start with the ground beef, which I get nice and brown.

Dump in the baked beans. I use my home baked beans, but store bought will work as well.

ketchup, bbq sauce, mustard.

Frozen corn.Stir it up, heat it through.

Top plain tortilla chips with the bean and meat mixture, sprinkle on shredded cheddar, add sour cream and sliced green onions.
I guarantee, are these ever good.
Happy Saturday

Cowboy Nachos

1/2 lb. ground beef
2 C baked beans
1/2 C frozen corn
4 Tsp bbq sauce
2 Tsp ketchup
1 Tsp prepared mustard
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. fat-free sour cream
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Tortilla chips

Brown ground beef in skillet over medium heat. Add baked beans, corn, bbq sauce, ketchup, and mustard. Mix until heated through. Place tortilla chips on plate, top with meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, top with sour cream and green onions. 4 servings

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


It's a Retro Thing
I love the new style of glasses that are available.
They are, well, Retro.
So, I've decided to look back at my life, regarding the latest fashions.
I normally wouldn't share so many of my old pictures, but hey, why not, right?

I'll start with third grade,

move on to fourth grade,

skip to high school junior,

Ah, yes, my senior year in high school.
No glasses, no contacts.

There have been numerous pairs of glasses, such as Sally Jesse Rafael red, and gold metal. There have been contact lenses, which were later topped with reading glasses. That's when I decided to go back to wearing glasses full time.

Fast forward to today. Retro. I love them. Pink, burgundy, big.
The only bad thing about them? I've realized the bigger the lenses, the more I can see.
Like laugh lines and wrinkles.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Old Fashioned Shortcake

This recipe is dedicated to my Mom. However, I will be adding disclaimers as I go, because I do not bake the way Mom did. 
I start with shifting the dry ingredients, including sugar. Mom didn't add sugar to her biscuits.

Then I add the vanilla yogurt.
Mom didn't bake with yogurt.

Oil. Mom used lard or shortening. I don't have either in my kitchen.

Didn't she always tell me not to play with my food?
I use my fingers to gently mix in the wet ingredients,

to resemble corn meal.

More wet ingredients (vanilla almond milk), and stir gently with a spoon. Almond Milk wasn't around when Mom was around.
Do not over mix. Trust me on this.

I cut the dough into circles, but I don't waste any extra. Again, don't overwork the dough.Trust me on this.
Mom made plain baking powder biscuits; the dough of which she patted onto a baking sheet, and then she cut them into pieces with a knife.
Bake until golden. Don't over-bake. Trust me on this.

A nice sturdy exterior, a nice flaky interior.

Top with berries and ice cream. Mom never had ice cream on hers. Just plain berries with sugar. I have vanilla bean ice cream, hence the tiny flecks in the cool creaminess, which you can't see here.

One bite after another,

was it ever good.
They're best eaten warm out of the oven.
So, gobble, gobble, right away.
Happy Saturday

Old Fashioned Shortcake

2 C all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tsp salt
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp vanilla yogurt
2/3 C vanilla almond milk

Preheat oven to 450°. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a bowl. Add oil and yogurt, lightly blend with fingertips until mixture resembles corn meal. Add milk and stir with wooden spoon, just into dough forms. Line baking sheet with silicone liner or parchment paper. Drop dough into 8 balls, or gently pat dough into a round and cut 8 cakes with a round biscuit cutter. Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. 8 servings