Friday, July 20, 2018

This & That

Missy Tippens

I thought I'd share a few photos of a volunteer brown-eyed Susan I discovered in an empty flower pot beside the house. So fun to find those!

They're so bright and cheery. I hope they'll bring a little joy to your day!

Also, I have a gratuitous grand-dog photo to make you laugh. When we first saw this, we thought he looked like a horse! :)

We've had the grand-dogs for a week at our house. My son and his wife are home from a trip to California and picked them up yesterday. They were so happy to see their mom and dad!

One other quick thing to share. Some friends of ours have one of these books and invited us to come join them sometime on a hunt. It's a company that make books that are guides for doing scavenger hunts around Atlanta (and a few other places)! Hunters use landmarks to solve puzzles. It sounds like such a fun idea. I can't wait to take part! Maybe you can find something similar in your area.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ginger Battered Fried Chicken Strips

I blame Chick Fil A.

I am addicted.

That doesn't mean I go there all the time. I've been there once since they opened.

But if I could, I would eat their chicken strips and dippin' sauce EVERY SINGLE DAY.

That's an addiction.

Luckily I can fight addiction.


So I figured I'd deep fry chicken strips here.... and I had no beer. Usually I make beer batter, but I had lots of ginger ale, and it's got a great snap, so I made Ginger Ale Batter....

I cleaned the breasts.... sliced them into fingers and strips....

And then coated them with seasoned flour:

1/2 cup flour
Montreal Chicken seasoning (sprinkled in)
Paprika and/or Cajun Pepper

Toss those chicken strips in the seasoned flour and set aside.

Heat fryer..... I got to 375 for chicken strips.

Make light batter/somewhat thin:

1 cup flour
Sprinkle in:
Cajun Pepper
A hint of nutmeg
1/2 TBSP sugar
Sprinkle of garlic
Paprika for dash of color
16 oz bottle of ginger ale, as needed for consistency

Mix together, add enough of a 16 oz. ginger ale to make a thinnish batter.

Dip chicken strips in batter, then fry until crisp outside, about four minutes.

Serve hot with sauce or on their own!

I deep fry in the garage so I don't make the house smell all greasy.... And these are such a delicious snack, and I MIGHT HAVE kept a pouch of Chick Fil A sauce to try with Ruthy Chicken...

And it was wonderful!!! :)

So life here is farm-crazy.... I had a book release this week, the delightful "Her Cowboy Reunion", a real love story that makes you smile... cry... and sigh right before you smile again.

It released two days ago and I can't wait to see what folks think of this beautiful story and this wonderful Western series... from a gal who loves writing Westerns!

We're planting 800 more mums and asters today, so you know what I'm doing first thing in the morning!

And I got the second coat of gray paint on the porch....

That's looking north....

And now south:

And then there's the project I handed over to Casey, a little reindeer doll up (out of season!)

Great-grandma's reindeer are about twenty years old, I think, and they needed an upgrade so Casey's been sanding them down and we're giving them fresh reindeer paint. :)

Once the reindeer are done, we'll pull out Santa and the sled..... so we can do our fun Christmas display that's come down 4 generations now.

 Lest you think I'm crazy organized, Santa and the reindeer were on last year's schedule... :)

But hey, they'll be high-steppin' out to the front yard with their fresh new look this November!!!

And that's what we've got going here... wishing you all the blessings of a lovely summer... and if you're Down Under, a blessed fall and winter!

And as the chrysanthemums take over the world as we know it....

I bid you adieu from Western New York!

Ruth Logan Herne is doing what she loves best in her big, old farmhouse... hanging with farm stuff, baking cookies, tending cute kids and knowing she's blessed beyond belief to have such choices and opportunities. Write to her at, friend her on Facebook and/or stop by her website!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hello Again ... Cooking for One

Hi Cafe folk,

Before I start today's post, I have to give a big ole shout out to my friends here at the Cafe for filling in for me for the past few months. These ladies have been so amazing and supportive, and I am forever grateful for their friendship and love. Thank you Jan, Mindy, Missy, and Ruthy!

For those of you who don't know, back in February, my husband suddenly took ill. After about 3 weeks of false starts, the diagnosis of a very aggressive cancer took our breath away. Just about two months after that - three months almost to the hour I first called the ambulance - on May 21st, my husband was called home.

I'm still reeling from the suddenness of the loss, but it's time to ease my way back into life. That means resuming my hostessing duties here at the Cafe.  The only problem is - cooking for one just hasn't been inspiring me much.

Unfortunately, our summer heat wave doesn't really inspire either.

But a woman does have to eat something other than pizza (though I could happily eat pizza every day!).

One thing I've begun to do is cook something that can be frozen for future meals. So, I thought I'd share a recipe today that my daughter and I made for 4th of July.

Way back in May of 2016, I shared my love of the Beet Burgers I'd first enjoyed at the Marriott during RWA 2015 in NYC.  You can read that post here.

So how ironic is it that I finally got around to sharing a really fabulous version that I loved as much as those burgers just as everyone is gathering for RWA 18 in Denver.

Okay, so what that really tells you is I'm a snail when it comes to trying out recipes.

But the real reason it took so long is that no matter how many beet burger recipes I looked at, none of them looked like they'd be right. They all had quinoa or brown rice and I just knew that wouldn't be the same consistency.

So this summer, when my vegan daughter decided to humor her mom and make beet burgers as the red in our red, white and blue meal, she found a recipe that looked promising.

To give credit where credit is due, I'll just post a link to the recipe. It's so simple and has only 4 main ingredients plus spices and water.

Power Hungry Beet Burgers

(Her pictures are much more appetizing than mine, too, so I encourage you to go check out the link even if you don't love beets as much as I do. Go ahead, I'll still be here when you come back.)

The recipe was FABULOUS (despite the fact that I broke the food processor as I started and had to do it in batches in the mini-Cuisinart).

Don't be put off by the coconut flour. It was PERFECT. The burgers were moist and juice and the spices made them pop with flavor.

So these are my photos. Don't you just have to admit that the beets look gorgeous? So jewel-like.

Blending the black beans and roasted mushrooms.

Mixing it all together.

Next time I'll make fewer patties and make each one larger.

These froze really well. In fact, I'm having one tonight as I type this. I added slices of avocado and served it on a Hawaiian roll which is appropriate since I first learned of them from Missy!

So yes, the one with the weird recipes is back. I've missed you all!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Roasted Veggies and Ranch Life

We are officially into the dog days of summer here on the coastal plains of Texas. Rain chances have fled, humidity is high and African dust has settled in, creating some hazy days. Unlike most years, though, we've had rain, so even though we are in the middle of July, things are still blissfully green. 
Don't you just love the clouds after the rain?
Even the wildflowers are popping out to say hi.

But the hot weather means hillbilly hot tub time. 
Yes, it's a trough that we use for relaxing. Something we've done for 20 plus years without a problem. Until recently.

First I caught this cow staring longingly from the other side of the fence.
A couple of days later, I looked out the window to see this.
How rude. Not only his this cow drinking out of my pool, she brought the children. I mean, there's a pond just beyond the trees. (insert rolling eyes) I wonder how she'd like it if I swam in her pond. Stupid cows.

So you've heard me talk about roasted green beans. Or maybe not, since I can't seem to find the recipe. How is it possible that I haven't shared my favorite green bean recipe with you?

Okay, so my favorite way to cook vegetables is to roast them. There's just something about roasting that ignites the flavors of the veggies. Like the other night, I had some broccoli in the fridge that I was planning to use for broccoli salad. Except I was too lazy, but I didn't want to just steam it either. Aha! I'll roast it like I do my green beans, only slightly different. I'll explain that in a minute.

All you do is cut up your broccoli, rinse it, then pat it dry. Spread the dried broccoli onto a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss everything to coat. Place pan into a 400 degree oven for  15-18 minutes, or until broccoli is slightly browned. And voila! 
Honestly, I could make a meal out of this alone. It's like popcorn. You just can't stop eating it. Cauliflower is good, too. And about those green beans. Trim, rinse and dry them. Then, along with the olive oil, salt and pepper, add a couple slices of uncooked bacon you've cut into bite-size pieces. Toss everything together and bake for 18-20 minutes. Even my boys eat those. And that's saying something.

Now it's your turn. What's your favorite way to fix/eat vegetables? And what are your thoughts on those pesky cows? And what are you doing to beat the summer heat?

Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus, lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children, two dogs and countless cattle. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining and sometimes adventurous manner. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at 

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Visit to the Pacific Islands: Kelaguen

by Jan Drexler

I have a summer re-run for you today. Between writing, heat, and allergies, I haven't been doing much cooking this summer. We haven't even gone hiking in more than a week!

As I was looking for some no-cook recipes, I came across this one that I shared several years ago. I think it's time to make it again!

(I also love the cute corgi photo-bomb at the end!)

Here we go, back in time to 2014....Enjoy!


Because of my husband's job as a hospital food service director, he goes to a lot of food blogs. And he comes into contact with a lot of different recipes.

Recipes he rarely brings home!

So imagine my surprise when he gave me this recipe a couple summers ago!

He says the guy who posted the original recipe on the blog is from the Philippines. I Googled the dish, and learned that it's found all over the Pacific Islands.

Originally, it seems the islanders used this recipe to ferment seafood - basically "cook" it in acid and salt. When other meat sources were introduced to the islands, the recipe was adapted to include them. Even Spam! 

The version I make uses cooked chicken.



2 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 hot pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice (or juice of 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut - dried or fresh

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve with warm tortillas or with a green salad.

Since this is an ancient recipe, pretty much anything goes.

Use whatever meat - or even tofu - you choose. I use diced, cooked chicken breasts. You can also use seafood, beef, canned tuna...whatever!

Use whatever pepper you want - or even none. I like the zing a hot pepper gives the dish - although I don't like too much of it. I used one of these - I think it's a Serrano?

Green Bell Peppers would work well, too.

And, of course, for the coconut I used some of the huge bag that I dug into last week to make my Delightful Coconut Dreams (recipe here).

Paired with a green salad, this makes a wonderfully quick, nutritious cold dish for summer!

Someone else thinks so, too!

What's your favorite go-to dish for hot summer days?

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan

Friday, July 13, 2018

Record-setting Baked Potato!

Missy Tippens

We went out to eat the other night, and I decided to try the baked potato. I had been to this particular restaurant before when the person at the next table had ordered one. I had sat there dumbfounded, staring (and giggling) because it was the biggest potato I had ever seen.

I warned my husband and daughter to be prepared for something possibly mutated from Idaho. And then they brought the food out...

I put my hand beside it for reference. Gigantic! I couldn't believe they could grow something like that. 

But then, as I was eating and began to get full about a third of the way through, I noticed something a little odd.

There was a slice in the peel. As I checked closer, I realized that the slice went all the way through, and the edges didn't quite match. What on earth...?

The giant potato was fake! It was two potatoes put together! Hahahaha! Actually, it was more like one and a half potatoes put together.

Now that I've told you, you can probably see it in the photo. :)

So fun. And I don't care at all because it was SO YUMMY!!! And honestly, I was a bit relieved that I wasn't eating some mutant tuber. :)

Cheese, bacon, sour cream, butter and chives. All my favorite toppings for a potato!

Do you sometimes crave a big baked potato for a meal?

Missy's latest is a novella available from Amazon! Click here to check it out.

Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest and a 2013 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A House Full of Hope was a Romance Writers of America 2013 RITA® Nominee. Her recent releases include titles from Love Inspired as well as Indie published boxed sets with fellow inspirational romance writers. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com and