Friday, April 30, 2010

What's for supper?

I am having a friend and her husband over for dinner tonight.  We are celebrating their birthdays.

I own over 200 cookbooks.  I look thru over 100 cooking blogs during the week.

(sigh)  I can't for the life of me figure out what to have tonight except chocolate cake.

And I need to leave for the

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crab Dip

It's amazing how time flies. I have cooked, taken pictures and...not gotten anywhere near my blog for the past week.

I have got a lot done at work tho.

Last Saturday night, we had a game-night at our house. Games and Grub. Where everyone brings an appetizer and whatever board games or card games they'd like to play, and then we set up tables around the house and people can eat and visit and play games as they'd like.

Our Saturday night ranged from some t-ball in the back yard, to Battleship to Pinochle to Adverteasing to Twenty Questions to our slot machine in the garage. (yes, we have a slot machine in our garage...the Sunday School kids LOVED it. )

There were lots of good appetizers.
I made this crab dip. I got the recipe from my good friend Theda. We have been friends since Jr. High...and that was many, many years ago. We both turned 50 this past summer.

Theda is a great cook and a wonderful entertainer.
Everyone liked this dip.

Crab Dip

1 pkg cream cheese--softened
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 can crab

Heat the cream cheese and mushroom soup on medium low, stirring until blended. Remove from the stove, Stir in the mayonnaise until well blended. Add remaining ingredients, stir together. Refrigerate a few hours, even overnight. (tastes better when cold).

She says: This makes a large bowl full. I like to take one bowl of the dip and keep one small bowl for the next day at home. This way, in case I did not get enough at the party, I have the next day to enjoy it.
I think that it is best with ridged potato chips.

I agree with her.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday afternoon

I've been taking a few days break from blogging. I had lots of stuff to say, I just needed to sit back for a bit.

It's our first REALLY nice day this spring, and the best thing about spring and summer is...? Practically no dishes to do!

The Handyman is bbqing some chicken and I have some corn and rice going and we will eat on the patio. We love our patio....we love backyard eating.

I took a nap on our patio swing this afternoon....warm weather, a good book, a short snooze.... until the Handyman "accidentally" turned one of the sprinklers he was working on, towards me. A little sprinkle woke me up.

Just in time get our supper going and eaten in time to make it to the movie theater to see "Alice in Wonderland".

Before I go, I wanted to share this picture with you.... our friends, the Storms, have two cute as can be little boys. We had them over for dinner the other night ( made Bobby Flay's Fried Chicken drizzled with Honey and chipotle seasoning. It was good, but the pictures weren't).  (pictures of the chicken, not the boys that is)

At the end of the meal, Nate, the older of the two (he's six) asked his dad if he could be excused. His dad said, "no, you have to eat some more of the food on your plate."

This caused a bit of arguing with his dad, but Larry held firm.  Eat more of your supper.    Mattie, the younger one, just quietly looked up at the Handyman, bypassed his dad and whispered, "Rich, can I be excused please?"

TOTALLY bypassed his father....he went straight to the head of household.
It was the funniest thing.

Mitzi, his mom, made some biscuits to bring. In the shape of hearts. Maybe this WAS Valentines Weekend.
(I'm a little behind)

I have no great pictures of the fried chicken, but I do make a mean "white gravy" or milk gravy.
But everyone knows how to do this, right?


Fry a chicken and remove to a platter.
Drain the excess grease.....leave maybe 1 tablespoon in the drippings
Add flour to the the drippings and cook, stirring until you get a thick paste
Add milk and stir, until you get the consistency you like
Add salt and pepper to taste
And serve over hot mashed potatoes.

You get all those little crispy bits of fried chicken bits in your gravy.  Yum!

The chicken was really good.... I think I'll make it again soon and take better "chicken" pictures and write a post about that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's Outside My Kitchen Window? Library Loot and a fun meme

What's Outside My Kitchen Window?

Well, that's looking just as it did last week....nothing new.  Our springs  here in the "high desert" are sometimes cold, sometimes hot.  One never knows.  This year it is cold.  We had snow and hail and rain and sunshine all in one day.
This day.

I was leaving my house to walk down the street to the park, where my grandson had his first baseball game of the season.
I had on a hoodie (we used to call them hooded sweatshirts) and a coat and gloves. And I carried an old quilt.
I am no dummy.

While sitting on the cold--very cold--metal bleachers, I noticed there was blue sky between the fluffy white clouds and the dark menacing rain cloud drifting over us.
Can you see it?

Those little ball players were T-Ball players, younger than my grandson... we were on the cold--very cold---metal bleachers on the other side of the park.  We have a "real" baseball diamond.
And see those cars parked there?  I so very much wanted to be the kind of grandma who sat in her car and just HONKED when my grandson and his team  made a good play.
But I just couldn't do it.  I felt if I did so,  I'd have to be the kind of grandma who had her slippers on and curlers in her hair, so, um, no, I braved the cold--freezing, fridgid cold with the parents who had to be there.
I am still trying to thaw out.
And that rain cloud?  It never really did much but give a little mist to  us towards the end of the game... that is, until the Handyman and I had to walk home.   Then it let loose and poured.

so, not my kitchen window, but that's what's outside my window of life....

Library Loot!  I love Library Loot, but have  taken out way too many book in the past few weeks, so I only have  a couple to share with you today.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva at  at "A Striped Armchair"  and Marg at "Adventures of an Intrepid Reader"  that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

What did I get?

Christmas on Jane Street.
You are probably asking yourself why?  Why a Christmas book?
Well, because I read a little review on it and thought if it was any good, I might buy one or two as gifts next Christmas.  But it has to be good, so this is my way of checking that out.

And these two...

This Dame's for Hire, Too Darn Hot, by Sandra Scoppettone.
Because...I'm always on the lookout for some good characters!  Usually I find them  (characters I want to follow) in mystery books.  I've never read any by this author, so we'll have to see.

And finally.....
Thanks to TeacherNinja for this fun meme.

Which Ones Have You Read?
So which of the Top 100 Children's Novels have you read? I put mine in bold. I've read quite a few....because I've been around for quite a while.  ~smiles~

100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches - Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950
94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)
88. The High King - Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief - Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)
72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)
49. Frindle - Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson's Go to Birmingham - Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic - Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II - Carroll (1865/72)
26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods - Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes - Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 - Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cookbook Countdown

This evening I made a recipe from "Southern Plate" ..... Mama's Taco Casserole.

It calls for instant Potato Flakes, so I bought some.

When the Handyman got home from work, he grabbed them and said 'THIS IS WHAT MY MOM FIXED....This is what we had when I was a kid." And then he opened the box and shook some out into his hand and stuffed them into his mouth. Again he said, "this is what we used to do when I was a kid."

Of course he said this muffled as the potato buds began to expand inside his mouth. Then he muffled, "or you can put some in a coffee cup with hot water from the sink, we used to have them as after school snacks."

Who knew that one little box of Potato Buds could excite him like that? Ahhhh.....memories.

**this casserole was met by approval from the whole family!


The Wishram Washington Community Cookbook, 1993

This recipe comes to me via cookbook in an interesting way.
It's mine.   I have made it for years and have been happy to share it. My mother-in-law liked it so much she put it in a hometown cookbook, in her hometown.

We just called it "Skinny Cake", but my mother in law put it in the cookbook as "Skinny Chocolate Cake", whatever you want to call it, it's a really great sheet cake . (It just doesn't take a good picture)

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cubes butter
4 T. Cocoa
1 cup water
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together the flour, sugar and salt, set aside. Melt together the butter, cocoa and water. Boil for 1 minute. Pour into flour mixture and stir to combine. Add eggs, soda, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well. Grease and flour a jelly roll pan (you can use a cookie sheet with sides 17 x 11 x 1 inches) Pour batter into it and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

1 cube butter
6 Tbsp milk
4 Tbsp cocoa
simmer together until butter is melted. Add 1 box of powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) and pour over hot cake.

This is a good cake for a pot luck or picnic when you have a crowd. We took it with us on our picnic to the desert on Sunday.

Teaser Tuesday

Miz B at Should Be Reading hosts a weekly meme entitled Teaser Tuesday

*Grab your current read.

*Let the book fall open to a random page.
*Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
*Please avoid spoilers!

Weeping would not have come close to what she felt. She felt fear, sitting out there on her folding chair. Fear that her heart would squeeze shut again, would stop, the way it did once before, a fist punched through her back.
         Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, page 67.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Musing Mondays

MM is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the ‘best’ books'.
She writes:
There’s been some discussion on my blog this week about what should or shouldn’t make a ‘best' books’ list. What elements do you think lands a book in that ‘best’ category? Think of your top 5 best books and tune in next week to see the collated list.


I think that asking someone what they would put on their "best" list is like delving into religion and politics. ~grins~
(not that I don't love these lists, because I do!  I love reading about what others love to read)

What would (and does) make my "best" list, is not the same---nor nearly as literary--as most of you. As I've often said, I'm not a book reviewer, I'm just a lover of books (it says so on my license plate), and what I love about books is the feeling they give me, long after I've put them down.

Goodnight Moon could make my list....because it gives me the BEST feeling, holding a grandbaby and reading it. (so does Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, dum ditty, dum ditty, dum, dum, dum. GOOD STUFF when you're reading to a one-year old)

The Godfather could make my list....because it gives me the BEST memory for hiding under the covers, long after I should have been asleep, reading a grown-up book, when I probably wasn't old enough to "get it". (or Valley of the Dolls, or the Exorcist...all of which I read when I was 12! If my parents had only known!)

The Call of the Wild could make my list....because it gave me the BEST sense of adventure I had ever felt in my entire life (again, I was 12).

My Sister's Keeper could make my list....because, while yes, I know it's a bit mass-markety, the ending really did give me the BEST shock ending I had read in a long time!

The Shining could make my list....because, it gave me the BEST scare ever!

One for the Money could make my list....because Stephanie Plumb gives me some of the BEST laughs ever.

I do love Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, To Kill a Mockingbird, Oh Pioneers, The Great Gatsby....I do. I really do. But "best" is subjective. And really, I am writing down titles off the other "besties lists" to read. Brideshead Revisited being on the top of the list. And Death Comes to the Archbishop. I'm excited to read these, because I haven't.

Please don't hate me for not following the "best" rules. (what were they again?) Like I said, best is subjective and this is "my" best.

1. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
3. Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (My first romance book... I learned not to call a boy or kiss until the 3rd date at least!)
4. The Hobbit ( I read it long before Lord of The Rings--it started it all)
5. The Changeling by Zilpha Keatly Snyder (I saw her at a convention once and I told her that was a life changing book for the 4th grade. She said, "oh, you're one of those...changelings". Then I was sure there was a secret club, a secret world, a secret message....meant just for me and other lovers of the Changeling )

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chinese Noodles-Yakamein Soup

I was so excited to find this recipe for Yakamein Soup (or Old Sober) on Mary's blog "Deep Dish South."

The reason for my excitment is because it is the same dish, that for years my family has called, "Chinese Noodles." It was one of those dishes, that I thought no one else ever had-- that our family had private ownership of it. I really thought my grandmother "made it up" ---and to be honest, even tho I loved it, I thought it was weird.

When I first got married (over 30 years ago), I was almost embarrassed to fix Chinese Noodles for my husband.   Hard boiled eggs on top of noodles?  Really?

We usually used leftovers to make Chinese was a good way to make a 2nd meal. We would have a roast on Sunday, usually pork, and the Chinese Noodles would be a Monday night quick meal.

My mom had these little Oriental rice bowls, that we would eat our Chinese Noodles in. They were white bowls with blue designs. I loved those rice bowls.
At Deep Dish South, Mary uses spaghetti noodles, but we always used...Chinese Noodles....

...hence the name. Other than that, the recipe is pretty much the same, or the assembly is pretty much the same. We never made a roast specifically for this dish, as I stated, we always used leftovers. And we didn't use as much broth, ours was more a "soupy pasta dish" rather than a "soup dish with pasta". But it's the same thing.

I insist you go to Deep Dish South and read the history Mary has uncovered on Yakamein Soup/Chinese Noodles. It's really interesting, and full of information, such as it being a hangover cure.

The Handyman asked if we were going to be drinking a lot at our party last night (we went to a going away party for our friends who are moving back to Australia), when I told him that it was called "Old Sober" in New Orleans.

Mary has uploaded a video telling some history about the dish...go watch NOW.

Mary's recipe is such a good one, and  it is the one I made and pictured here. 
I won't rewrite her recipe, but will leave it to you to go get her original on Deep Dish South
Leave it to your imagination how you (and my family ) could tweak it for a "Leftover" dish. It's not hard to do.

My cousin Linda has put a more modern twist on Chinese Noodles. Nowadays I fix it this way and it's very good. It's also quite a time saver.

Linda is a good cook, and should really have a food blog of her own. Or at least make a "Family Cookbook" for me, before all of our recipes are long forgotten.

The Modern Twist on Chinese Noodles
 (or Yakamein Soup)

Leftover pork roast (or chops, steaks, etc) shredded
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
3 hard boiled eggs
2 cans vegetable broth
2 pks Ramen noodles--pork flavor
2 green onions--finely chopped

Put veggie broth, flavor packets from the noodles, the onion, and pork in a large pot and bring to a boil. You can add some water if you want it soupier. When it comes to a full boil, add the noodles, turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 3 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with green onions and hard boiled eggs.
Yummy, fast and a great way to use up that leftover pork roast.

In other news.....
we took a drive into the desert today.
We took a picnic.
Fried Chicken, apples, cheese, chips and a chocolate sheet cake.

Can you spot the antelope?

how long has it been since you've run on a dry lake bed?

Or checked out how low the desert reservoir is....

Just wondering

Lately, I've noticed a couple of bloggers, have decided not to take comments anymore....both of these bloggers are food bloggers, and their reasons have been "it takes up so much time."

Of course, these bloggers have HUGE followings and receive many more comments than I do. Even when I get 5-7 comments, I find it hard sometimes to get back to people, so I can imagine how hard it would be when you have 25, 40, or 66 comments! It takes TIME.

What is comment protocol? Do we need to get back to everyone? Is it okay, will it be understood if we don't? Some people reply back on their own comment section, some go visit their commenter's blogs and reply there. Sometimes I've just e-mailed people back to reply to a comment they've left me. I don't know if that is "okay" or not, but I do it.

I can understand why these two bloggers need time away from the computer, but it makes me sad, and slightly crazy, because all I want to do now is comment on their posts. They've written really good posts and I want to tell them so....and there is no way to do so.

I'm just thinking out loud, since there is no answer to this.

How do you handle the "time" situation, for blogging and commenting?

Do you think if no one can comment, that eventually people will stop reading that blog? (I hope not, they two I'm thinking of are really great blogs...I'm just wondering?), Or does it free us up to just read and enjoy?

Just wondering.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What's Outside My Kitchen Window and Library Loot

What's Outside my Kitchen window?
Some welcomed sunshine.... and a few Quail.
(You can always check out My Big Back Yard, for more of what's outside there...
... in the high Nevada desert)

Library Loot!
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva from a Striped Armchair, and Marg at the Adventures of an Intrepid Reader,  that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Want to share your loot?

I went to the library last night to pick up a book they had on hold for me...

The Handyman has limited me to only 3 books at a time (to be checked out), because it's addicting to me...being in a library...there is NO limit to the amount of books I can have.

I asked him if he was going to get a book. He told me that there were too many to choose from and that he got confused and didn't know what to get. BECAUSE he only gets one! His theory is that he only reads one at a time.

Anyway...he finally did choose one book, and I got him two others I think he might like.

And I picked up one, two, three, four, five.....

He gave me "a look" and I said...."It's the 24 hour read-a-thon this weekend".

Sadly I won't be participating in the Read-a-Thon, but it sounds like a lot of fun. 

This week, I only picked up four books....

The 2nd in the Sooky Stackhouse mystery series, Living Dead in Dallas.  I really enjoyed the first one and also love HBO's Tru-Blood series.

The Hour I First Beleived by Wally Lamb.  I've just seen it on many book club lists, so I thought I'd see if I liked it.

Chris Bohjalian's book, Secrets of Eden, which I know nothing about, but I've enjoyed a few of his other books.

And finally, the newest Margaret Maron book, Sand Sharks.  I love, Love, LOVE, the Deborah Knott Mystery series.

While it would be fun to stay home and do the 24-hour Read-a-thon. ,
I'm headed to a "fare-well" party for my book club friend Liesbet, who is moving back to Austrailia.    She will be missed.  We plan on having a "Skype" bookclub in a couple of months!  More on that later.
Happy Reading!!

Cookbook Countdown

It isn't as toasty brown on the top as the picture in the cookbook shows, but my family was hungry (and the tri-tip was done), so, this picture is as good as it gets for you.

Garlic Mashed Potato Casserole
Cookbook Countdown, recipe #24

 How can one go wrong with mashed potatoes and garlic?

You can't!!

I made this as a side dish to our Easter meal on Sunday. Our plans of going on a picnic were derailed when we woke up to snow. Yes, snow...on Easter. In April!
It also ruined my plans of attending an Easter Sunrise Service --outdoors. I was not brave enough to venture out and sit in the snow.

But with a nice warm fire in the fireplace, a book in my hand, and some warm mashed potatoes to eat with dinner, I had a happy Easter Sunday.

I got this recipe out of "Mary Englebreit's Queen of the Kitchen Cookbook".
It's filled with wonderful illustrations as well as wonderful recipes.

Garlic Potato Casserole

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1/4 thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.

1. put the potatoes, garlic, broth and 2 cups of water into a large pot. Cover and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.

2. preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

3. set aside 3/4 cup of the potato water. Drain the potatoes and garlic. Return them to the pot and heat over medium heat, stirring for 1-2 minutes, until the potatoes are dry.

4. mash the potatoes, adding a little of the reserved water if necessary. With a wooden spoon, beat in the sour cream, butter, salt and pepper (to taste), add the remaining potato water, beating until the potatoes are soft and fluffy. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the green onions.

5. spoon the potatoes into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until he top is golden brown and puffed. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions (which I forgot to do) and serve.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Post

I am going to tackle,  "Watership Down."

I don't know why I say "tackle", it's  not like it's "War and Peace".  It just seems a bit intimidating. 
I don't even know much about it, except that I've always wanted to read it, and with all this talk about rabbits this past weekend,  I pulled it off of my book shelf...blew off the dust and today at lunch, I opened it up and read the first couple of chapters. 

Of course I SHOULD BE reading "Olive Kitteridge" because it's the choice for May  for a book club I'm in.  I can't check it out of the library again, because there is a hold on it  (someone else wants it---probably someone in my book club ~sigh~  don't they realize we have a whole other month!)
So, I have an "Olive Kitteridge" deadline, both the library's deadline and my book club's, and yet, I choose to tackle Watership Down.

It's the procrastination side of me coming out.  I've been putting off  reading "Watership Down" for much too long now.    It's time I got on with it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Every once in a while, I screw up. Well, Okay, maybe more than once in a while.... but usually not when I'm cooking. Last night I did....I screwed up big time.

I was so excited because I was finally making "Honey Walnut Shrimp"    from Honey B.
I had been thinking about it for quite some time and I was so looking forward to it.

My table was set, chopsticks, cloth napkins, background music.
We sat down to eat our Honey Shrimp and Ham Fried Rice.....I was recreating an entire meal that Honey made for Grumpy!
I sat down and asked my son, "do you like it?"
He said, "no, I don't".
I have to tell you, that it hurt my feelings. I had worked really hard on that meal and he really likes shrimp, I couldn't understand it.

At that point the Handyman said, "it's not that bad."

NOT THAT BAD?! What the heck!?

I took my chopsticks, took a shrimp, and took a bite. really wasn't good. The Sauce....was.....not good at all. I had just ruined a pound of shrimp. I ate a few, but we mostly enjoyed the fried rice.
I was so disappointed.

After dinner, when cleaning up, I looked at the recipe an noticed that when it said to use 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk , my eyes say 1 and sweetened condensed milk... yep, I used the whole can. Those shrimps were drenched in sweetened condensed milk...and it was gross.
We got a good laugh over that one.

So, I will definitely try the Honey-Walnut Shrimp again, but next time I'll read more slowly.

For the recipe go here to Honey's site. They really are GOOD, I'm sure.

You can't really tell by the picture, but these really were SATURATED!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Best Strawberry Shortcakes

The Handyman and I always disagree as to what we should put our strawberries on for strawberry shortcake.

I grew up with those store-bought pre-made sponge cakes. It was the only thing I knew, but I always knew they weren't my favorite...but that didn't stop me from eating my shortcake. ~smiles~  I ate lots of it. It's one of my favorite springtime desserts.  It feels very "Eastery" to me.

Nowadays, I like a homemade scone, which is much heartier than those individual pre-made supermarket sponge cakes.

The Handyman grew up with his mom using angel food cake as the shortcakes, and that is what he loves to have his shortcake on.

People use shortcakes, scones, pound cake, angel food, sponge cakes.... what is your favorite?  (or could it be just fresh strawberries over vanilla ice-cream? Yum!)

While trying to keep up with my Cookbook Countdown, I came across this recipe for "The One and Only Authentic Southern Strawberry Shortcake", in the cookbook "My Mother's Southern Desserts" by James Villas, and thought I'd give it a try.

WOW...I'm glad I did. These are the "perfect" shortcakes and the interesting thing is, the recipe says to butter them and spoon the strawberries over them while they are still warm. It sounded weird to me, but it was THE BEST.

Villas says this of his mother's strawberry shortcake:
Don't even start Mother talking about really Southern strawberry shortcake unless you're prepared for a heated two-hour discourse. Briefly, she abhors those little, overly sweet commercial sponge cakes used to make most shortcakes; she insists that the split biscuits (broken apart, not sliced) be buttered while still hot to add depth to the overall flavor; she cringes at just the mention of Cool Whip being substituted for fresh whipped cream; and the dessert must be served warm. Strawberry shortcake is sacred to Mother, and it continues to be the highlight of every July Fourth celebration we throw at her house or mine.

I must say.... his mother is right! Even the Handyman said they were great. I don't know what the warm melted butter does, but it's wonderful.

You'll have to see for yourself.

The One and Only Authentic Southern Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cups half-and-half
Butter for spreading
4 cups fresh, ripe-strawberries, rinsed, hulled, sliced in half and sugared to taste.
1 cup heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks and sweetened (if desired)

Pre-heat the oven to 450degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
Add the butter and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the mixture till crumbly. In a small bowl, combine the egg and half-and-half and mix till well blended, then add to the flour mixture and stir until the mixture is thoroughly moist. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead very briefly. With your hands, pat out the dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness, then, using a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 6 biscuits. Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and bake on the upper rack of the oven till slightly brown on top, about 10 minutes.

While they are still hot, split open the biscuits, spread lightly with butter and arrange close together on a crystal cake plate*. Spoon the berries and cream onto the biscuits and serve while still warm.

*I just individually plated each dessert.

I am going to use this recipe for both my cookbook countdown and Weekend Cooking, which is hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads.

   Weekend Cooking   is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend

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