Friday, February 15, 2019

A Little Spring

Missy Tippens

I thought I'd share a quick (zero Weight Watcher point) snack and a little bit of spring with you today!

First, I think our poor trees and flowers are mixed up here in Georgia. We did have some really warm weather (it was 75 degrees last week!). But even before that, I noticed trees blooming. Here are a few photos of my neighborhood (my trees aren't blooming yet).




I know some of you are in areas with heavy snow, so I hope you enjoy this taste of spring! It'll come your way eventually. :)

And now, a quick snack...

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Mexicorn (slightly drained)
1 can green chile peppers with juice
1 can petite diced tomatoes with juice
Spices (I used Penzey's Buttermilk Dressing and Dip spice mix and Penzey's Salsa and Pico spice mix)

The recipe I used before calls for Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Dressing, but I didn't have any. Thus, I used the Ranch flavorings and salsa spices! Scoop with tortilla chips (not zero points, but still not too bad if you can manage not to eat the whole bag). :) It's a great snack!


Also! I have a new novella that just released for Valentine's Day! I hope you'll check it out.

Her Valentine Reunion



What happens on the very day Abbie Rogers makes a preemptive strike against Valentine’s Day funk by declaring herself content to be single? Why, Victor Wallis, the man who broke her heart, comes crashing back into her life, of course. Not only that, he declares himself a changed man, and he truly seems to be. She even finds herself falling for him again. But when he makes a move to take over her family’s business, Abbie’s not certain she’ll ever be able to trust the only man she’s ever loved.

www.missytippens.com

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Walnut-Crusted Cranberry Pork Roast




Okay, this was a game-changer meal, like fancy restaurant style and so crazy delicious that I would give it a five star rating...

And fast.

Like super fast.

So here's what you need:



A pork roast

1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts

4 oz. of cranberry or cranberry apple jam or chutney

Put roast in pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spread jam over roast.

Cover jam with nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes/lb.  

I peeled and cut up two apples to roast alongside, and the apples mixed with the fallen nuts and cranberry-sweetened meat juices to make a great side dish!



THAT'S IT. A classic and classy restaurant-style meal in five minutes plus baking time.  And it was out of this world delicious, the roast stayed moist and succulent because the crust of nuts kept the juices in... or something like that!

And the side of potatoes was a fun Yankee classic:

Herb-buttered Potato Wedges...  I'll tell you how I did that fast, easy dish next week!

And this is what I've got going after our mini-ice-storm:






I'm so glad it wasn't a whole tree section  because it rolled off the new family room.... but did no damage.

Might be time for that monster Silver Maple to come down????

It's the only major shade tree on the west side of the house, but if there is no house, it doesn't need shade, right? :)


And Sr. Eileen made this Cranberry Apple Chutney and I bought it at the Sisters of St. Joseph sale last November and this was the perfect way to use it. I can't wait to tell her!!!!

Great food and helping a great organization: Pure bonus!

And right now we've got crazy strong winds, the clouds are racing across the sky and I think our gusts are close to 60 MPH....

What is happening??? And after temps soared to 50-something overnight, they're dropping to the teens now.

Oh, Mother Nature: You've got a way about you!

Multi-published, award-winning and bestselling novelist Ruth Logan Herne loves writing stories, she loves fixing problems fictionally because it's not quite so easy in real life, and she enjoys playing in the kitchen and helping on her family farm.... A lover of God and embracer of faith, she loves getting to know people! Friend her on facebook, visit her website, email her at loganherne@gmail.com and/or follow her on Twitter!


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Valentine's Day Treats

Clearly I was not thinking ahead or I would have saved last week's candy post for the day before Valentine's Day.

And then I was thinking ahead and I actually made a delicious chicken soup this weekend, but Mindy shared one of those yesterday.

SO.....

I was looking over our old posts. Apparently we like chocolate - like A LOT!

It took two photos to get them all in!




So, I thought I'd share some chocolate-dipped fruit for Valentine's Day.

First, if you want REALLY beautiful chocolate dipped strawberries, check out Ruthie's post here:

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Or if you want something even more decadent, you could try her chocolate dipped peanut butter stiffed graham crackers.

But my favorite chocolate dipped fruit was a surprise to me when someone gifted me with an Edible Arrangements bouquet - chocolate dipped pineapple. Oh.My.Word.

So, here you go, a sweet treat for your sweets for V-Day.

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. I'll just add in that it was ridiculously easy. I used my wok on top of a big Le Creuset ceramic pot. You can see how quickly it melted the chocolate.










I'll admit, the pineapple was my favorite - that amazing taste combination of tart and bittersweet. But the orange was surprisingly tasty too. A friend gave me raves on the apple.

I'm inpired to try it with some dried fruits too - apricots maybe.  I did try it with organic, unsweetened coconut. Happiness.


So what do you think? I thought it might be a lot of work, but it was incredibly easy and fast.

One tip: you'll probably have to keep the chocolate warm because the cold fruit made it start to thicken while I was dipping it. The taste didn't change, but the later pieces weren't as smooth.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Chicken Soup, the Cure for the Winter Blahs

Are you snowed under, iced under, or simply dealing gray skies? Have you got the sniffles, a nasty cold or the flu? Then have I got the recipe for you.
This chicken soup recipe came from my SIL. It's fairly easy and the actual cooking time isn't long. However, there is some prep work, so plan on about an hour and half  from the time you start chopping until the time you're sitting down to eat.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4-5 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 quart vegetable broth (or use 3 chicken)
  • 2-3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1-2 dashes red pepper flakes
  • l large bay leaf (optional)
  • 3-4 cubes (or equivalent) chicken bouillon
  • 1 package Kluski or Bohemian noodles
I like to chop and gather everything for this dish before I actually start cooking.
Once that's done, place a large Dutch oven over high heat and add your olive oil. 
When the oil is heated, add the chicken, onions and garlic.
Cook until the meat is browned.
Okay, so it doesn't exactly brown because there's a lot of moisture in there from the onions. The main thing is that you don't want to see any pink meat.

Next, add your carrots, celery, broth and all of your seasonings.
Stir and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Boy, oh boy, does the house smell yummy. Talk about whetting your appetite.

Add noodles and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes.
This is one lean meal with loads of flavor. It'll also warm you up and help clear those sinuses. But what a delicious way to do it.

Here on the coastal plains of Texas, we've been dreary all week. Cool, drizzly--or as my husband says, cold and wet. But while the skies may be gray, it sure makes for some good writing weather. Not to mention great soup weather.

What are some of you favorite meals on a cool, dreary day? Are you a soup/stew person like me or do you prefer a warm, hearty casserole? What's going on in your neck of the woods?


Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. 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 www.MindyObenhaus.com 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Cowboy Beans

Welcome to winter in the Black Hills!

Our warm weather from last week is a dim memory. We are in the middle of a cold snap that makes the Polar Vortex old news. Our temperatures have been hovering around zero degrees since last Monday, and this week it doesn't look like we'll get higher than the mid-20's.



We see our neighborhood herd of deer a lot more often in this kind of weather. I took this picture from my office window the other day. There is plenty of food for them in the creek bed behind our house, and we often see the six or seven does making their way through, browsing on the shrubs that line the banks.

Another thing that winter brings are carry-in dinners at church. While we get together for picnics, hikes, and bike rides during the warmer months, winter is the time for fellowship and sharing yummy dishes.

For our dinner yesterday, I made Cowboy Beans.

What are Cowboy Beans? Well, you start with ground beef...

Cowboy Beans

ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef, browned
6-8 slices thick cut bacon, cooked (or 1 cup ham, diced)
1 medium onion, diced
6 teaspoons garlic powder
4 cans beans, your choice (suggestions below)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, but worth it!)
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, aren't there? But you can add or subtract as you need to. Use what you have in your pantry and have fun! But keep the flavors smoky, spicy, and a little bit sweet. :-)

Oh, and the beans? I used 2 cans of small red beans, 1 can of white kidney beans (cannellini), and 1 can of black beans. But you can use what you want: pinto beans, kidney beans, etc. Mix and match!

You can throw all these ingredients into your crock pot and cook for several hours (4-6 hours on high, 8-10 on low,) or you can start out with your Instant Pot. I cooked the mixture at high pressure for 10 minutes, then let the pot do the natural pressure release, then I switched to slow cooker mode until we were ready to eat.


The carry-in dinner was a success, and so were the Cowboy Beans!


At least they must have been. They disappeared quickly!

There's nothing like a nice hot dish to warm up a winter afternoon!
How is winter going where you are?







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 Drexler.com.


Friday, February 8, 2019

Herb-buttered Potato Wedges


Hey, this is a quick and delicious potato dish that Farmer Dave did last night... And I couldn't wait to tell you about it so Missy is taking a vacay-day and I'm slipping this fun potato side in!



Take 5 medium potatoes. Wash them. Leave skins on. (Bonus, right????)

Wedge potatoes, arrange them in a baking dish.
Melt one stick butter.
Drizzle butter over potatoes, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and then the crowning touch, sprinkle liberally with rosemary/garlic seasoning.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. (So you can roast meat at the same time!)

THAT'S IT!!! FOR REALSIES!!!

Flavor-filled potatoes that go perfect with the nut-crusted roast I'm showing you next week... or with anything!

I found the inspiration for this recipe years ago in Yankee Magazine and I've done variations on it over the year, and this is a wonderful side dish to have in your arsenal!

(And it's a one-dish thing, so less washing!!!)

Have a great weekend, guys... ours is looking busy, and how blessed are we that a busy weekend is a wonderful thing?

So blessed!

Ruthy is busily writing her December Love Inspired and LOVING IT... :) Find her on Twitter or facebook where she loves to talk and/or visit her website... ruthloganherne.com or email her at loganherne@gmail.com. She loves hearing from readers and writers!




Thursday, February 7, 2019

Chicken and Veggie Biscuit Pot Pie



Okay, this amazingly delicious supper is not hard!!!

First I had some leftover chicken from a rotisserie chicken, but that wasn't even necessary...

This is made with two chicken breasts, simmered in chicken stock until cooked through...

Five small potatoes, chopped and cooked on another burner....

1/2 bag of mixed veggies that were in the freezer, waiting for a home...

And one recipe of Bisquick biscuits to go on top because I was (GASP!!!) out of puff pastry!


So first, put about a quart of water in a medium kettle. Add about a tablespoon and a half of Chicken base to the water. Bring to a boil. Add chunked chicken breasts and cook until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes....

At same time chop a few potatoes, not too many.... I used five fairly small ones for the three of us and if it had been a big one, one would be fine because your topping adds carbs and substance to the recipe so going overboard on potatoes won't be good.

Mix 1/3 cup flour with 1 1/4 cup water. Whisk. When chicken is done, lift it onto a plate or board and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Whisk the flour/water mix into the hot broth and stir..... Mixture should thicken to gravy-type consistency.

Drain potatoes. Add them to gravy and chicken. Add that half a bag of lonesome veggies.

Pour the whole thing into a 13 x 9 pan and then top with Bisquick biscuits:

2 1/4 cups Bisquick
3/4 cup milk (their recipe calls for 2/3 but I don't want dry biscuits, so I go a little heavier on the milk)

Mix with fork or spoon and then drop by spoons full onto the hot gravy in pan.... bake at 400 degrees until biscuits are done. I like mine a little soft, but some folks like them to get crispy outside... either way works!



Gravy will thicken as this bakes....

Serve to warm those cold, damp winter nights!

And speaking of cold winter nights, freezing rain was our mainstay today, and right now sheets of ice are SLIDING off my roofs.... and it sounds like thunder as it crashes to the ground!  Ice-coated trees....

 An ice-coated picnic table!!!


This is the ground, and those cracks are the initial sheet of ice. The ground temp was 27 degrees... The upper temps were in the high thirties, so it all came down as rain and froze instantly, sheeting the driveway with glare ice.... until a car came sliding in and caused these below-the-surface cracks. It was kind of cool looking!


And then the sculpture, coated with ice!!! These poor concrete children! :)


And my dining room is filled to bursting with baskets for a fundraiser this weekend:


Here's another one, same theme...


We have a "man basket", a movie night basket, a spa basket, spa gift cards, a beach-themed 31 bag, a Mary Kay basket and more.... A hot chocolate/comfort basket... (I'm trying to think here.... but I remembered a bunch!) And there are about 20 more baskets coming from other factions...

We're part of a fundraiser for a dear friend of mine who is battling metastatic breast cancer... and we've battled and won before. We have every intention of doing it again this time!

AND I HAVE A FUN PROMO GOING ON RIGHT NOW!!!!!  If you go here:

CLICK RIGHT HERE!!!!

You will find a wonderful new book promotion for my Sewing Sister's Society three-novella anthology with a giveaway of two historical collections and CHOCOLATE.

The chocolate alone is worth the price of admissions, darling!



Have you done fundraisers for others or helped plan them? What was your favorite thing to do/plan? I love hearing new ideas!


Multi-published inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne loves writing beautiful stories with unforgettable characters-- stories that touch the heart and tend the soul-- with over 50 books in print now, Ruthy is living her dream while tucked in an icy farmhouse in Western New York! Contact her at loganherne@ gmail.com, visit her website at ruthloganherne.com and friend her on facebook!

And this week she's happy dancing over the release of her 3 novella historical anthology: The Sewing Sisters' Society, where three brides are brought west as seamstresses.... and become lovely brides when least expected!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Butter Pecan Turtles from the Land O Lakes Butter Box aka Caramel 'N Chocolate Pecan Bars

I was sitting in front of my computer trying to figure out what to post about tonight.

It could have been Super Bowl foods, but the victory was bittersweet because I couldn't help thinking of how much my husband would have enjoyed this victory.
So, I was scrolling through and came across this post that I did ages ago.

Suddenly my mouth was watering because I want these. NOW!

The post will have to do.

Butter Pecan Turtles from the Land O Lakes Butter Box aka Caramel 'N Chocolate Pecan Bars

One of my favorite candies is Pecan Turtles whether they come prepackaged like these
 or in one of those lovely boxes of Sees chocolates - these are called Pecan Buds.



My neighbor always brings me Sees as a thank you for taking care of her cats when she is away. Nice kitties. Even nicer neighbor!!!


So one of our very favorite holiday treats has always been the Butter Pecan Turtles recipe I got off the Land O Lakes butter box many years ago. I saved that battered old piece of cardboard for a very long time before it just disappeared (or possibly disintegrated).

Fortunately, there is Google. I found the recipe.

https://www.landolakes.com/recipe/17409/caramel-n-chocolate-pecan-bars/

(The site was really slow to load for me, so I'm giving you the recipe here.)

When I told my daughter I was doing it for this post, she remarked, "Oh, you mean those incredible bars I used to eat way too many of until I felt sick?"

Um, yeah. How's that for a ringing endorsement?

So, here you go -

There are two parts to the recipe. First you make the shortbread cookie part.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½cup Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter, softened (I always used salted)




    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 3-quart bowl combine crust ingredients. Mix at medium speed, scraping sides of bowl often, 2-3 minutes or until well mixed and particles are fine. Pat firmly into ungreased 13 x 9 x 2" pan.

    *** Now you need 1cup whole pecan halves (not chopped) ***


    Then you have the caramel layer.
  • ⅔ cups Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter(again, I used salted)
  • ½cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1cup milk chocolate chips


    Caramel Layer: In a heavy 1-quart saucepan combine brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Boil 1/2 to 1 minute, stirring constantly.


    Now it's time to assemble:

    Sprinkle the pecans over the unbaked crust.  I know it says to use them whole, not chopped, but I liked them broken up. It seemed to allow the gooey caramel to cover them more.

    Pour the caramel evenly over the pecans and crust.

    Bake at 350 degrees  for 18-22 minutes, or until entire caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light golden brown. Remove from oven.

    This part is fun. Immediately sprinkle the chips over the hot bars. Allow the chips to melt slightly (2-3 minutes).  Then slightly swirl the chips as they melt; leave some whole for a marbled effect.

    Cool completely; cut into 3-4 dozen bars.

    Just try to wait until they're cool to eat them!

    A cookie that masquerades as candy! Can't beat that.



Tuesday, February 5, 2019

If I Owned a Restaurant...

I love steak. And one of my favorite things to do with leftover steak is this.
It's simple, just lettuce, sliced steak, sunflower seeds and blue cheese dressing. It's flavorful, blue cheese and steak are a match made in heaven. It's super quick and easy to prepare. And every time I take a bite, I think, "If I owned a restaurant, this would be on the menu."

On this day, I then asked myself, "If you owned a restaurant, what else would you have on the menu?"

Hmm... 

Cupcakes. Definitely cupcakes. 
Then I'd probably throw Chicken and Rice on the menu, just because this version is so different from what most expect.
So today, I thought we'd play a little game called If I Owned a Restaurant. And this is how it goes. If you owned a restaurant, what would be on your menu?

And...go!

Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. 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 www.MindyObenhaus.com