Apple Salad and Good Vibes

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We are smack dab in the middle of apple season and I want to share a yummy apple salad recipe.  You can make it with Sugar Free pudding or Lite or Sugar Free Cool Whip to cut back on some calories.   It’s best to use a nice crisp apple such as Gala or Honeycrisp.   I’ve used Red Delicious before and it didn’t turn out well.

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I’ve also finally completed my last road trip project!

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It’s the Good Vibes Shawl by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne.

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It was an enjoyable easy knit.

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It will be a cute worn as a cowl with a sweater cardigan.

Bailey and Henry are coming from Wyoming for a visit this week!  We get to take the babies out for Halloween.  Well, the mom’s do.  I’ll be making the hot chocolate for when they get back from their trick-or-treating adventures.

Happy knitting

 

Tammy

Sunday Gumbo

UHSUIMgfRKCgLnmFwXci9AI thought I would share my Gumbo experience with you.  My mother-in-law, Carol, gave me some of her fresh okra from her garden.  So I thought I would make some Gumbo.  I like to peruse the internet for various recipes, read the reviews, and then take from each recipe and make it my own.  The main recipe I learned from was Paula Deen’s Gumbo Recipe.

I am not a “follow the rules” exactly kind of girl.  I am, but, I’m not.   As far as recipes go, I am not.  I take recipes as suggestions.

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Bacon on the right. Stewing the okra with the tomatoes on the left.

I started with bacon.  I browned the bacon in the cast-iron Dutch oven.  I removed the bacon with a slotted spoon (to leave all the wonderful drippings behind.). Follow that by cooking the sausage.  You can use Andouille sausage, but I’m not crazy about it so I prefer the smoked sausage.  Once the sausage is done, remove it with the slotted spoon.  Gumbo is about using what’s in you pantry/refrigerator.  I found some fajita seasoned chicken strips and that’s what I added for the chicken.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken with the slotted spoon.

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I added some more olive oil to the drippings, about 2 TBS, added the butter, then sprinkled in the flour to make the roux.    The many reviews I read, warned repeatedly to not burn the roux!  If you burn the roux, throw it out and start over, or your Gumbo will be ruined!  Below left is how the roux looks like as you begin to stir.  Below right is when the roux is ready.  It takes about 10 minutes of constant stirring.

I’m stirring and stirring the roux so it won’t burn.  My wisk is a little wonkie.  Follow my advise and don’t be a cheapskate and buy a new wisk!  As I was standing there, constantly wisking the roux, it splashed up and hit my soft tender inner forearm skin.  I was able to grab a towel and wipe away the burning fluid.  As I wiped away the roux from my skin, I  notice the top layer of my skin went with it!  Second degree burns!  Mind you, I’m still stirring my roux!  I’m thinking I need to cool off this burn ASAP but my roux will burn!  It hurts REALLY bad!  I holler for Len to come help me.  He gets to the kitchen and I hand over my wisk and ask him to keep stirring the roux while I take care of my burn.  I cool off the burn and put the appropriate ointment on it and get back to my roux.

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It’s burning!  I can smell it!  I knew Len was watching me and not paying attention to my roux.   I quickly stir and stir my roux, hoping to save it.  I even passed a tear or two in grief over my possibly ruined roux.  I worked so hard at getting it just right and there is no way I’m starting over!  I either get nose blind to the burn smell or it recovers and stopped smelling burned.

I get my emotions together, it’s only food.  I was out of bell pepper, so my Gumbo is minus a main ingredient.  I also forgot the garlic.  Once my stew is at the simmer point, I added a few shakes of garlic powder to compensate.  One of the recipes I reviewed pretty much pureed the vegetable mixture – onion/celery/green pepper.  I didn’t want to do that so I finely diced my veggies.

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Diced vegetables added to the roux and cooked for about 10 minutes.

I also changed the tomatoes.  I used one can of diced tomatoes and one can of Rotel diced tomatoes.  My “hot” will come from the Rotel.   I also read to simmer the okra in the diced tomatoes first.  The acid in the tomatoes prevents the okra from getting slimy.

I obtained the flat leaf parsley from the small pot I have on the front porch.  Rinse off the parsley!  I didn’t rinse it well enough and cut up a small caterpillar.  Yes.  I know.  Totally grossed me out.  Even grosser, I found another caterpillar, this one intact.  I do believe I will be getting my herbs from the grocery store from now on.   I sure hope this Gumbo isn’t a disaster.  I’ve tried so hard.

 

I also messed up by putting in the green onions with the onion/celery/green pepper mixture at the beginning.  It cooked for a long time!  It would have been better if I had added it at the end with the shrimp. as instructed, in the original recipe.  Len gave it an 8 out of 10 star rating.  I bet the bell pepper and putting in the green onions at the end would up this rating to a 10 star.1bPI43aSSqeO8193ecoL1Q

My thoughts overall……it will be the once a year Gumbo I make when I get fresh okra from my mother-in-law’s garden.  It was really really good!  The flavor was rich and robust, the roux perfect.  The okra was not slimy at all.  I would definitely not scrimp on the shrimp.  I scrimped.  I thought I had plenty of meat so only one bag of shrimp was necessary.  Get 2 little bags or one big bag!  Add plenty of shrimp.

It was a nice Sunday afternoon, cook for hours, in the kitchen, kind of day.

Guacamole Recipe

 

I wanted to share our family’s favorite guacamole recipe.  Lindy and I love this!

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John’s birthday is July 4th.  I made some cookies for him.  I’m not perfect yet, but I’m getting better with practice!

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I laugh.  I’ve graduated from a 1st grader decorating cookies to maybe a 4th grade level now!   Lauren helped.  It’s fun to get the icing bags out and decorate.

Bailey made some super cute cookies recently.  Check hers out!

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She is so cute!  Love her!

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This is Trevor, Bailey’s husband, and Henry’s dad.  Such good kids

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Too Cute!

Happy Knitting and Baking

 

Tammy

Sugar Cookies and a Yarn Baby

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Henry in my basket of Hexi-puffs for my Beekeeper’s Quilt.

We’ve just said goodbye to Bailey and Henry.  They came down from Wyoming for a visit and we are sure going to miss them.   We plan on seeing them in the Fall.

I’m on this new kick of making sugar cookies.  Thanks to Craftsy!  I signed up for Craftsy Unlimited and started watching some cookie decorating classes.  Who knew!  There are secrets you need to know to do this right.  My experience with icing comes in little short round plastic containers at the grocery store.fullsizeoutput_1f66

I’ve told you Bailey is crafty!  My cookies are the plain ones.  Bailey gets ahold of them and look what she does!  Chickens, cactus, black stripes, colored dots… She picks up an icing bag for the first time and just goes.   We discovered black icing turns your teeth black.  So FYI, use the black icing sparingly!

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Bailey joined me in my cookie frenzy and she is headed home to make up a bunch of her own.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.  Meanwhile, back here at home, I will be practicing my Royal Icing consistencies and practicing with my many new tips!

I’ve also found a great recipe for sugar cookies that I’m going to share.  I’ve tried two recipes so far and I made a mistake in the second recipe which I actually really like!  So I’ve written the recipe with my mistake. ( I used butter instead of shortening ).  This makes for an incredible sugar cookie!  The evening Bailey was here helping me decorate, half the batch of cookies got eaten before we could get our hands on them to decorate them!

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If you want the icing recipe, I would suggest Craftsy, Pinterest, or Youtube for instructions.  Just type in “Royal Icing” in your search bar.

Happy Knitting.

I’m looking for a new project for our road trip.  I’ll let you know what I find!

Tammy

Smothered Pork Chops

 

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Smothered pork chops, french green beans, and macaroni and cheese.

I’ve been working on the cookbook.  I have another recipe to share.  It’s super easy.  I have no idea where I got this recipe from.  I’m sure it’s something like my mother used to cook for me when I was growing up.   This recipe is well liked at my house.  Leftovers are great too.  This is another simple recipe with few ingredients, but it is super good.  I’ll be real here and tell you the night I made this dinner, I was tired, and not in the mood to cook.  My tummy and my husband needed sustenance, so this is what I came up with for dinner.  This was a thrown together, I’m tired, kinda meal.  Looks pretty good though, huh.

You can make this with whatever sides you want.  Roasted potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, sweet corn…..it’s all good!

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I’m so proud of my daughter.  She left the nest and is flying!  She cooks all the time.  Look what she made for lunch the other day.  She doesn’t need any cookbook.  She is doing great by herself.IMG_4880

Check out her seasoning; a prepared Grilling and Roasting Mix, coarse salt and coarse pepper! Just like her momma!  I’m so happy for her.

I’m still working away at my Om Shawl by Andrea Mowry.  She is so stinking cute!  What a creative and pretty woman.  I was pretty happy to come up with some yarn from my own stash for this project. IMG_5223

Happy knitting!

 

Tammy

 

Baked White Fish

I want to thank those that gave me some feedback on my recipes!  Thank you for taking the time.  I have another recipe to share.

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This recipe is really simple.  Just because there are not a ton of ingredients, doesn’t mean it’s not good.

I’ve been watching some cooking shows recently.  There is no way, I’m going to take all those steps and get ingredients I’ve never heard of before.  Food can be good with just a little seasoning.   I feel people have tried to come up with the newest and greatest, and they have lost the pleasures of the plain and simple.  (It could also be from watching too much Iron Chef.)

I’ve had some people turn their nose up at fish before.  They politely try my fish and end up eating it all and telling me this is a great fish recipe.  Even if  you have picky eaters, they should like this.

I grew up at the lake because my step-dad, Jerry, is a fisherman.  I’ve eaten a lot of fish in my lifetime!  I prefer the baked fish over the fried fish.    I’m also trying to do more meal planning.  I would like to incorporate fish in our diet at least twice a week.  My go-to’s are baked white fish, salmon, shrimp, or crab legs.    Orange Roughy is an excellent fillet to make like this.

Just some fun lake pictures.  I have to laugh.  I just noticed my mom is wearing a polka dot bikini in both pictures.  One, when she just met Jerry, probably 45 years ago, and another one, when Jake was little.  That’s 20 years later!  lol.  I guess our basic tastes always stay the same.

Family Cooking

I’m making a family cookbook!  I’m retired now folks.  I have tons of time on my hands and honestly, I can’t stay in my chair knitting ALL the time.  My daughter, Lindy, has often told me to write my recipes down for her.   My new daughters have also mentioned a recipe or two that they would like to learn to make.   So, I thought I’d make a cookbook.

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I thought I would share one of my family’s favorite recipes and hopefully get some constructive criticism.

I was a fortunate kid in the fact that my mother made a home cooked meal every night.  Almost every night, we did eat out occasionally.   I usually helped my mom cook.  I was responsible for the salad.  Yes. We had a salad with every meal.  A meat, a veggie, a carb, and a salad/fruit.

I remember when I moved out and had my first box of Hamburger Helper.  I thought it was terrible!  It tasted like cardboard to me.  I was not used to processed food.  I learned to like it.  Hamburger Helper is great on some nights.

I enjoy cooking for my family.  My daughter didn’t seem interested in learning much and I enjoyed cooking, so my daughter doesn’t know how to cook much.  She’s watched me and helped me cut up ingredients and did a bit of stirring for me, but other than that, she doesn’t know much else.   So my cookbook is directed at her and teaching her how to cook.

My mother follows directions rigidly.  (Other than when a recipe calls for soy sauce.  My mom is like an alcoholic with the soy sauce and requires direct observation.)  I follow directions more as a guideline and/or suggestions.  I eyeball almost everything.  Rarely do I measure anything out.  While creating my cookbook, I’ve been trying my best to pay attention to ingredient portions.

 

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Let me know what you think about the recipe.  If you make this (which I highly recommend), please tell me what you think.  I love honesty.     Let me know if my “Notes” helped.   I’m working on cooking up all the meals and taking pictures for the girls.    My daughters are helping some too!  Lauren made the Chicken Salad the other night and took pictures for me for the cookbook.

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I’m collecting recipes from all my family to add to the cookbook.  We all get to participate.  It will be a fun project and will make lots of memories.  I think it’s a great idea.

Any tips to add to my cookbook?  Has your family done anything like this?    I think I’ll add some pictures of all of us, old and new, with the recipes.  That will be fun too.

Cranberry-Orange Cookies.

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I want to share my family’s favorite cookie.  My son, John, has asked me for these for a Christmas present.   They are Ah-MAZE-ing!  You can find the recipe here: Pillsbury Cranberry-Orange Cookies

I don’t make these often because they are a bit of a pain.  You have to cut up those candied orange slices into tiny little pieces and that’s a sticky, somewhat difficult, task.  Very much worth it though!!   I save these for something special, like my son asking for them for any reason :-).

The little kids like helping because they get to snack on the orange slices as you cut them up.  Plus the frosting is fun to do too.

 

I wanted to share some Rodan and Fields pictures.   It really is such a great product.

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Remember, this has a full money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your results.   If you want to try a product out and not invest so much money, I would recommend the eye cream, lip serum, or microdermabrasion paste.  You can try one of these products, which you will love, and then you can test the results on yourself.   Once you see how great these products work, you will feel confident in purchasing the other products.  The Active Hydration Serum is fantastic too!  You will see visible results after one application of that hydrating fountain of youth!

My mom has been using these products.   She complained a bit about it drying out her skin.    This is a very strong skin altering skin care regime.   When I first started the Reverse Regimen, my skin actually peeled a little bit.   At the time, I was going to a professional aesthetician, getting photo-lazer to treat my rosacea, and was told I had great results with the product.   It was doing what it was supposed to.  Your face adjusts to the products.  As your skin improves and the sun damaged is corrected, the products will feel great.   When I first used the product, I had to use it only once a day and work my way up to twice daily.