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Thursday, September 29, 2016

How to Roast Garlic

Do you want a simple trick that can revolutionize your dishes?  Of course you do, we all do!   We love simple and easy but with the most bang.  Well I have it for you today!   

How to roast garlic should have been one of the first lessons I learned when I started cooking.  It's such an easy way to add that awesome aromatic flavor to so many dishes.   Roasting garlic transforms garlic from raw and crunchy to this delectable soft caramelized almost sweet flavor.    I swear it's almost like magic.    And it adds the most delicious mouthwatering aroma to your home.  

It's so easy to do and the possibilities are endless, you can smear it on bread, add to soups, to mashed potatoes, to veggie dishes, to pasta dishes, spread it on a pizza crust or even on a nice steak. 

So grab a couple of garlic bulbs, always do at least two because if you don't, you will wish you did because you can't have too much roasted garlic.    This is a great way to use those garlic bulbs that have been in the pantry for a while but fresh ones are even better.   Either way you will not be disappointed.

With a sharp paring knife, slice off the top of the bulb exposing all the cloves.

Place the garlic bulb in a square piece of foil large enough to completely wrap up the garlic bulb.    Drizzle with olive oil and close foil to seal completely.

Place in a 400 degree preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, check for doneness by squeezing the head,cloves should feel soft when pressed.   Continue cooking and checking ever 10 minutes until the it's soft.   Remove from oven and allow to cool, open foil carefully saving any oils.  

Gently squeeze out each garlic clove and smash with a fork.
  Now the sky's the limit on where you enjoy these precious globs of goodness!   
*As always, Don't forget to scroll to the bottom for more delicious recipe choices

Roasted Garlic

  • Whole Garlic Bulbs
  • Olive Oil
1. Using a sharp paring knife, slice off the tops of the garlic heads exposing the cloves
2. Place the garlic bulb in a square piece of foil large enough to completely wrap up the garlic bulb. Drizzle with olive oil and close foil to seal completely.
3. Place in a 400 degree preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, check for doneness, the cloves should feel soft when pressed
4. Continue cooking and checking ever 10 minutes until it's soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool, open foil carefully saving any oils.
5. Gently squeeze out each garlic clove and smash with a fork
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Other Great Dishes:

Garlic Mashed Potato Casserole

Zucchini Lasagna

Homemade Stromboli

Sourdough Crusty Bread

read more "How to Roast Garlic"

Friday, September 16, 2016

Homemade Taco Seasoning

One of the ways I have simplified my life is decluttering.   Yep all that extra stuff is a heavy load and a total stresser.   The more you can accomplish using less is better and so freeing.  Take that load off your brain and relax!    
   This includes my spice cabinet.   At one time it was loaded with spices, blends, combos and mixes of everything one might imagine.   And of course I couldn't find anything!   But Not anymore!  

I didn't throw anything out, I just started NOT buying certain blends or mixes.  And one mix I don't buy is Taco Seasoning, no reason to spend extra money on those mixes when I have all the ingredients already on hand.  And if we get in the mood for Tacos, I don't have to check to see if I have the mix!  

All I need is my measuring spoons, a small bowl and a fork!   And of course spices that I (and probably you) have on hand already.  

Dump in the spices and a quick swirl to mix and I can have tacos any time!   But tacos are not the only recipe where I use Taco Seasoning.  So many of my Mexican dishes like burritos, enchiladas and casseroles can be made with Homemade Taco Seasoning.   

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Measure all ingredients into a small bowl
2. Mix well using a dinner fork
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Don't Forget to Pin

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Carne Asada

The Best Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Steak Tacos

read more "Homemade Taco Seasoning"

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Framed Antique Doily Artwork

One of my favorite ways to decorate is to bring attention to antique works of art or collections.    Not the works of famous painters or artists but the everyday items that are now a refection of years gone by.  There was a day when almost all ladies, would crochet little doilies.  My mother told me that my grandmother would use the thread from flour sacks and my grandmother's generation didn't throw anything away, they found a use for it.   I do have several gorgeous little doilies that my grandmother made and the work is so very delicate and I'm amazed the amount of time, just one of these doilies would take to compete.   As I comb antique stores, I am always on the look-out for doilies.  Most of the ones, I find are not over $5 and it's sad, in a way, that these works of art are not as valued as they should be.   Of course $5 in my grandmother's time was a high price.   
But anyway, all these little doilies bring me great pleasure and when I see them, I can imagine all the hours sitting in the parlor or on the porch and the crochet hook flashing in the light as these tiny little stitches were made.  
Displaying these items around my home allows me to see them everyday and appreciate them.   Artwork in however form you like should bring you pleasure and that's decorating to me!  

This was an easy project that could be done in 30 minutes or less.  I took a regular frame with a wide border to display these doilies.    I cut out a piece of burlap a little larger than the glass on the frame to use as a background.   I turned the frame, face side down and removed the back.  I laid out the doilies in a pleasing design and placed the piece of burlap over them.  Then I replace the back and secured it.   I didn't have to secure the doilies in the frame, the back holds it so tight, they stay in place.  

I didn't even hem the burlap and since it will be hanging on the wall,  I don't believe it will fray.  

So just keep your eyes open for doilies or if you are lucky, pull some family crochet doilies out and display them.   You could use burlap like I did or even a material or paper color coordinating with your other room decor.   I used three just because I like groups of three but you could use only one or several.   

Don't forget to pin!  

Here's  some other decorating ideas:

read more "Framed Antique Doily Artwork "

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Long Island Ice Tea for Two

Long Island Ice Teas have a reputation as the "Bad Boy" or "Bad Girl" of alcoholic beverages.   This has come about, partially because of the ration of alcohol to mixer but more so because it has been abused over the years.  As in all alcoholic drinks, it needs to be consumed in moderation and sipped appreciably.         

A Long Island Ice Tea does have a smooth taste and is such a special treat for us after a long hot day.   One Long Island Ice Tea is plenty and if we mix it in our little 1/2 liter carafe then we have two perfectly blended drinks to watch the sun set on the patio prior to dinner.   This recipe contains approximately just more than a double shot per drink and is actually a very delicate tasting beverage.   

Long Island Ice Tea for Two
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz White Rum
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon or lime juice
  • 4 oz Cola
  • Lime or Lemon wedges
1. Add all ingredients except cola to ice-filled shaker, shake for 5-10 seconds
2. Pour contents, including ice in a ice filled 1/2 liter carafe (or divide equally into two ice filled glasses)
3. Top with of cola and stir gently
Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge
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Other beverages to enjoy:

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Icebox Dinner Rolls

I know we all love that loaf of bread that is light and fluffy and just melts in your mouth or that crusty chewy sourdough bread that becomes a meal by itself.   These Icebox Dinner Rolls are somewhere in between and are perfect when we need a  hearty bread that doesn't turn into mush but also doesn't overcome the main dish.    A bread that can accompany some Texas BBQ Brisket, goes great with a nice pot of Texas Pinto Beans or a Hearty Minestrone or Pasta Fagioli soup. 
These Icebox Dinner Rolls have a great texture, a great flavor and they are not that hard to make!   Trust me, making bread is really worth the little extra effort it takes.    So grab your flour and lets bake!  

*Tip--When you need a little extra time for the big meal tomorrow, mix the dough the night before and let it chill in the icebox. 

Icebox Dinner Rolls
  • 2-3 cups flour
  • 1- 1/4 oz package of yeast
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
1. In a large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast
2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk, water, vegetable oil, sugar and salt over medium high heat until warm
3. Add the warm milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat with a mixer for 3 minutes
4. Gradually add additional flour until a stiff dough is formed
5. Using your dough hook or knead by hand for 5 minutes. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes
6. Lightly knead the dough a few times and divide to make 18-20 rolls
7. Roll each little roll in a smooth ball and place on a greased cookie sheet
8. Cover with plastic wrap coated with vegetable spray and place in fridge for 2 to 24 hours
9. When ready to bake, remove the bread from the fridge and let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes or until nearly room temperature.
10. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees
11. Bake the rolls for 14-15 minutes until golden brown, brush with butter
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Other Bread Choices:

Crusty Sourdough Bread

Homemade White Bread

Great Dinner Rolls

Secret Biscuit Recipe

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Peppers in Vinegar

When I was a kid growing up, my mother always had a jar of little peppers in vinegar in the fridge.   Dad would add a liberal amount of the juice to so many dishes such as black eye peas, pinto beans and especially cooked greens.  I'm not really sure if Mother made new batches or if she just continued to add vinegar to the same little peppers.  I really didn't realize it was a Southern thing until I was well up in my 20's or is it?     And now these "pickled" pepper jars are showing up as kitchen decorations.   How funny, what started out as a  southern condiment is now high end decor!  Anyways they are easy to make and whether you use them as a condiment or decor, these little babies will be enjoyed! 
And I have to admit, they are simply gorgeous! 
 (but don't forget to try them or the juice) 

*Tips-  Always use a jar with a cork or glass stopper.  Do not use metal

Peppers in Vinegar

  • Fresh hot peppers such as cayenne, serrano, or Thai (quantity depends on the size of your jar)
  • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Decorative jar(s) with a cork or glass stopper
1. Sterilize the jar(s) by immersing in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes
2. Place vinegar and salt in a small saucepan and heat to just boiling
3. Place clean peppers in the jar (a wooden chopstick can be used to push the peppers into the jar if the neck is small)
4. Pour the vinegar mix over peppers until all peppers are covered
5. Add the lid and let stand at room temperature for at least 3 weeks then it can be refrigerated or it does fine at room temperature for up to 6 months
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Don't forget to pin! 

Other Southern Comfort Food You might enjoy:

Corn Pone Pie

Creole Black Eye Peas and Rice

Southern Style Green Beans

Sweet Potato Pie

read more "Peppers in Vinegar"

Monday, August 8, 2016

Caprese Salad

This Caprese Salad  is a very simple little salad that will make any dinner a little more special!     Of course we are a lover of basil here on the ranch so any excuse we can use to have a little basil works for us!  

Caprese Salad

  • 12 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
1. Arrange sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, alternating each slice
2. Place a basil leaf between each slice
3. Drizzle with olive oil
4. Sprinkle with black pepper and salt
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Other dishes you might like:  

Crisp Marinated Cucumbers

Balsamic Tomatoes with Feta Cheese

Antipasto Skewers

Mozzarella, Tomato, Cucumber and Black Olive Salad

read more "Caprese Salad"