Saturday, March 31, 2012

Captain Jack's Mulligan Stew!

Jack, here!

Well, now, and it's about time that the women of Seekerville took a back seat and allowed a real man into the cafe...

And none of that girly coffee today! Unless it's rum-flavored. Which I happen to have handy right here, at m' right hand! Savvy?

Mulligan stew... That's a pirate's way of sayin' what's available goes into the pot, but today's version will put meat on your bones. And a sparkle in your eye! (That may or may not be the rum in the coffee).


Beef... Start with a nice Chuck Roast, something with some fat to the lean, kind of like some ladies I know but will not name for fear of repercussion! The women in my life take not kindly to terms like plump, chunky, solid or fat...

Beautiful.... Now that, they ken to!

On to the recipe!

1 Chuck roast
1 onion, chopped
3 quarts water
3 Tablespoons Beef Base OR 8 bouillon cubes OR 2 large cans beef broth and leave out the water
6 dashes Worcestershire sauce. Or more. 
Generous fresh-ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic or two crushed cloves. (sent from Mainland by Seekers)

Simmer together most of the mid-day. Once meat is tender, remove to plate, cool and cut into chunk-sized pieces.

 Toss fat to wild boars on lee side of mountain, imagining roast pig for fall consumption. It pays to plan ahead on an island!!!

Add chunks of meat back to stock pot. Toss in with a rogue hand:

6 large potatoes, chunked
6 large carrots, chunked
2 stalks celery, cut into chunky slices 

(Are you getting the theme of the day, lasses???  I'm a pirate who appreciates the chunky side of life... And love!  Aaaarrrrrrrr!!!)

Bring back to boil. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. Add sweet green peas, if desired for last five minutes.

Make thin paste from 1/2 cup flour and 2 cups water, more or less. Whisk until no lumps appear.... Add enough of this to stew base to thicken broth slightly. Not too thick, because the dumplings will help thicken it, too. Dumplings are funny that way. I knew a dumpling of a girl, once...

Kate was her name. Lovely...  Just... 
Aaarrr! Where were we? 

NOW:  A pirate's trick for sure as long as the women keep me stocked!  

2 cups Bisquick
3/4 cup milk

Mix together. Drop by spoons full onto hot stew. Cover. Cook until dumplings are done.


Smile. Prepare for an evening beneath the stars and if you gaze west at night's commencement, Venus will shine her light of love upon you with a tip of her hat toward a waxing moon.

All pirates wear their hearts on their sleeves for yon Venus!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pirate Recipe!

The Belle, here. In honor of Captain Jack Sparrow being a guest on the Seekerville blog today, I thought I'd share a pirate type recipe. Or rather, a recipe with a pirate type ingredient: rum.

And I was all set to bake this and snap photos. But then disaster struck. I had all the ingredients out except the sugar. When I went to grab the sugar was empty. And I had no bags of sugar in the pantry! So I'm sorry I don't have any photos to share. I promise I'll make my version and share it another time.

Original Recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond
Click here to visit her site and see her photos.


1 box yellow cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup rum
1 cup chopped pecans

1 stick butter (Ree said she used a little extra)
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and rum. Blend until smooth.

Grease (or spray with cooking spray) and flour a Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans into the pan (and optional, also sprinkle in a little brown sugar). Pour batter evenly over the nuts and bake 1 hour (a little less for darker pans).

When cake has about 10 minutes left to bake, make the glaze:

Melt butter in a pan. Add the water and sugar. Stir. Bring to a gentle boil and stir constantly for 4-5 minutes. TURN OFF THE BURNER. (Ree says this is so you don't singe your eyebrows.) :) Then add the rum. Stir together. Turn burner back on and boil for another 30 seconds or so.

Remove cake from oven. Slowly drizzle 1/3 of the glaze over the top (soon to become the bottom) of the cake while still in the pan. Allow to seep in for 5 minutes. Then put a cake plate (that has a lip on the edge) upside down on the cake pan. Invert and pray the cake releases! :) Lift away the pan.

Take a fork and prick the cake all over. Then slowly (patiently) drizzle the rest of the glaze over top and sides. It will run down onto the cake plate, which is why it's good to have edges.

Ree recommends allowing it to fully cool for best taste and prime glaze absorption.

Enjoy, matey!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gracie Allen's Flawless Roast Beef

I forgot to give my friend Rosie Tischer credit for this cool blog post! She sent me the pic of George and Gracie and the recipe...

ROSIE!!!!  So sorry I forgot to give you a shout out this morning, my friend! Rosie and I used to sing together, and then she realized how big my teeth were, and how many notes I missed, and she MOVED to the other side of the city.



Miss you, Rosie!!!

If you're too young to remember Gracie Allen, shame on you. Not for being young, but for not realizing that hysterically funny (without swearing, being overtly insulting or over-sexed oinkers) people have graced God's Third Rock from the Sun for a long time!

Here's George and Gracie:

And here's Gracie's recipe for a perfect roast, every time!

Gracie Allen's Classic Recipe for Roast Beef
1 large Roast of beef
1 small Roast of beef
Take the two roasts and put them in the oven.
When the little one burns, the big one is done.

Now THAT'S easy-peasy!

How 'bout this story?

The woman who buys her Easter ham at the same butcher her mother used, year after year after year. Generations pass... And every year she asks for a big, lovely, boneless ham, with a slice cut off one end. Finally the butcher's son wonders why he has to cut the end off.... What in the recipe requires that? Basting? Searing? 

The confused woman shakes her head. "I don't know. My mother's ham was lovely and she always did it that way."

So she gets home and calls her mother. When the aging woman gets to the phone, the daughter poses the butcher's question:  "Mom, what is it about your baked ham recipe that makes it important for the butcher to remove that end slice each year?"

To which Mom replies, "It's the only way it would fit in my pan."

And sometimes it's just that simple, LOL!  So how about your family? Or any friends, in-laws? Got any funny recipe stories you'd like to share today? Old habits that carry on for no good reason at all, LOL????

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coffee Chat!

Missy, here. I'm so very exhausted. My kids had a high school tennis match today (this is written late Tuesday). Girls one location, boys another. I went to daughter's location. The other team showed up much later than expected, and then I found out she wasn't going to play until a court opened. So I hurried across town and watched most of my son's match. He ended up winning 6-0, 6-0!

Then I rushed back across town in time to see my daughter start playing. Her doubles match lasted two and a half hours! And...THEY WON! 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Very exciting! And it also meant that the whole team won the match as well. It came down to outcome of my daughter's (and her partner's) match. If they'd lost, the team would have lost.

No pressure, huh? (Actually, the coach didn't tell them! She told them not to worry about how the others did. Smart coach!) :-)

So when I tried to think of something to chat about today, I thought about high pressure situations. Have you ever been in a situation where the outcome depended on you? If so, we'd love to hear about it! If not, well, then you toss out something else to chat about. My brain it too tired to think of anything. :-p

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chocoholic Field Trip with the Texan

Mindy here. I'm in Ouray, Colorado this week, doing some research for my latest story. I absolutely LOVE this town. And I love, love, love Mouse's Chocolates & Coffee. Yes, all you coffee lovers would love this place times two!

Mouse's has THE best chocolate I've ever tasted. Better than Godiva, Ghirradelli, Lindt.... You name it, I'll put Mouse's up against it. Part of their secret is they use only Belgian chocolate. And it is SO good.

When I stopped in Monday, they were making chocolate covered bunnies. But not your store-variety marshmallow bunny. Marshmallow yes, but atop a layer of homemade caramel. Oh, my.

Truffles are one of my all-time faves. And Mouse's has a huge variety. They change seasonally, but these dark chocolate truffles are a constant.

One of their signature items are the marzipan mice. Aren't they cute?

But the one thing you absolutely have to try at Mouse's is one of their "Scraps" cookies. All of their chocolate is made in the shop. The "scraps" are set aside for cookies. When it's time to make cookies, they use a family recipe for the dough and then add the scraps. You might find pieces of truffles, toffee, caramel, nuts, or any other chocolate item in the shop. No two cookies are alike. But they are definitely yummy. And baked fresh every day.

No, Mouse's is not part of my research. However, a writer must have the proper level of chocolate in their system to perform at their best.

Now that I've left you all drooling... Have a great day.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Scones with Tina Radcliffe

Last September I was fortunate to attend the Puyallup Fair  in Washington State and sample Fisher Scones (live!) for the first time. Trust me, they are amazing.
But you can make them at home and it’s easy, because you know I ONLY do easy.

If you can’t find this box in your grocery store you can buy Fisher Scone mix on Amazon, but keep in mind on Amazon it’s a 72 ounce box. I am using an 18 ounce box.

Just follow the simple directions:
Preheat oven to 425
You will need a full package of mix and ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons of cold water.
1.      Place water and mix in a medium bowl. Stir with a spoon or fork until blended. Dough will be slightly sticky. This would be the point at which you add raisins or anything else you can dream up.

2.      Knead dough 5-6 times on a generously floured board, folding dough in half on top of itself each time. (I actually failed pie baking and could do this!) 
3.      Divide dough into 3 pieces. Pat each piece into a 5-inch diameter dome, with the center slightly higher than the outside.

4.      Cut each done into 4 wedges. Place scones on an ungreased baking sheet. (Okay, I ended up with a few more wedges because my math is a little skewed.)

5.      Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. I baked mine 15 minutes because I’m at a higher altitude. And I brushed the tops with pure maple syrup a minute before they were done. Yum!

Tina Radcliffe can be found NOT cooking at her web page

Friday, March 23, 2012

Favorite Friday!

Missy, here. And I have a new favorite thing. :) I tried it for the first time on Wednesday and fell in love. What is it??

Sonic Drive-In Sweet Potato Tots!! Oh, my goodness. They're amazing. They're chocked full of hunks of sweet potato and aren't greasy at all. They were wonderful with a dash of salt.

And if you need something good to go with them, give the Caramel Java Chiller a try. :) Yes, that's what I ate together! An afternoon snack for a very hungry woman on the way to a tennis match. Not to play! Just to watch. :)

What's your favorite place to stop when you want a yummy snack while on the run?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New England Chowder!!! (The White One....) ;)

I love chowders!  We've talked about that and we can do a whole cookbook section on chowders the way we go, but my pet peeve is going to a restaurant and they've THICKENED the New England Clam chowder to pasty-consistency....

I don't know why they do that, but this recipe is wonderful, delightful and just chock full of delicious clammy essence. (Kav is CRINGING right now.  Sorry, KAV!!!!!!  Hugs to you, my friend!!!!)

This is your gratuitous Ruthy-pic of the day.... We're selling this litter right now. Isn't he gorgeous?????

Okay, back to FOOD!!!!!

Basic Ingredients:

One large can chopped clams (I get mine at Sam's Club, or use several small cans)
1/2 Large onion or 1 whole smallish onion, chopped
4-6 stalks of celery, chopped  (not minced, but not huge, chunky pieces either)
6-8 potatoes, cut into small pieces
6 Tablespoons butter or Olive oil (most recipes call for butter but the olive oil works perfectly, too)
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Cups Chicken stock  (I use "chicken base" that I buy at Sam's. Follow directions and add to water for your chicken stock
2 cups Heavy Cream
2 cups Milk   (or can use one quart Half-n-half)
Black pepper, as desired


Melt butter or heat oil in large soup kettle
Add chopped celery and onion. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent and celery is soft. Add in flour, mix thoroughly.

Pour in broth and clams. Bring to boil. Add potatoes. Add pepper to taste. Cook until potatoes are done. Add cream and milk. Heat thoroughly.


Yes, this will look thinner than your customary chowders you see in lots of places, but it's delicious. And I think more authentic, or that's just my bossy nature.

Yeah.  Probably that!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coffee Chat!

It's our day to chit-chat. Iced coffee or tea all around! I'll have a nice comfy chair and an iced caramel macchiato (is that photo pure torture or what? I need to make a run to Starbucks!).

For the last couple of days, I've been brainstorming titles for my recently sold book. So today, I'm wondering...

What's your favorite ever book title (your own or one you've read)? And more importantly, WHY? I want to know why certain titles appeal to readers.

Thanks for any input! And yes, it's definitely a Starbucks day. :)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BBQ - Texas Style!

Mindy here. Last week was spring break here in Texas, so we spent the week at the ranch. And time at the ranch always means keeping the gang well fed. They work hard, play hard, and want to eat hardy. So I aim to please.

One thing my men can't seem to get enough of is barbecue. Now, growing up in Michigan, I thought barbecue was anything you cooked on the grill. Later, I thought it was anything drenched in bbq sauce. Then I moved to Texas and learned that barbecue--real barbecue--is smoked BEEF brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage.... Now I know there are some who think bbq should be pork. With all due respect, they're wrong. These Texans know what they're doing when it comes to meat. Especially beef.

By the way, this is one of those prepare-at-least-a-day-ahead dishes. So here we go.

First thing you need is a beef brisket. There's the big slab-o-meat that comes in the cryovac packaging, called "Packer trimmed" but they have a THICK layer of fat across the back. You do want a layer of fat, just not that much. Which means you have to trim and trim and trim.

Then I discovered the "market trimmed" version. Much better. And no trimming involved.

So you want to season up that meat real nice. Everyone has their favorite kind of "rub." Oh, and just for the record, I don't rub. I sprinkle and that's it. I don't "sop" either. I simply season my meat with a generous portion of kosher salt, garlic powder, pepper, and some of Emeril's Essence (does anyone else find that a strange name?) Remember, this is a thick cut of meat, so don't skimp on the seasoning. You want it to permeate the whole thing.

My fire in the smoker box is looking pretty good. I use both charcoal and wood. Sometimes I only use charcoal. I had some nice mesquite pieces on hand, so I added those. Just remember to keep your fire stoked. You don't want big flames, but enough to produce some heat in the cooking chamber.

Note:  At home I have a vertical, cylindrical-type smoker, so my fire goes in the bowl at the bottom. Still, I have to make sure the coals are ready before I add the meat to the top portion.

Place your brisket in the smoker box, fat side up.

Just look at that smoke swirling around. That's some good flavor there.

You're going to let that stay on the smoker a minimum of four hours. I recommend four to six, but you can go longer. This day, I think it stayed on for ten hours because I was so busy enjoying the beautiful weather.

I didn't want my ribs to cook quite that long, so I waited until the brisket had been on a couple of hours before I added them. Season 'em up the same way and slide those piggies beside the brisket. Yes, I use pork ribs.
After a few hours, the outside of both meats will get a nice, somewhat dry-looking, coating. And don't worry about them being cooked all the way through before you take them off. I'll get to that in a bit.

After they've had enough time to absorb some of that wonderful smoke flavor (don't forget to keep stoking your fire at least once every hour, hour and a half), remove them from the smoker and wrap in at least two layers of heavy duty aluminium foil. If it's not heavy duty foil, you'll want to use more layers. Then place the foil-wrapped meat in a 200 degree oven overnight.

Depending on when you plan to serve the meat, you can leave it in a warm oven or put it in the fridge or freezer, after it's cooled, that is.

Doesn't that look good? I was so busy drooling that I forgot to take a picture of the ribs. I also forgot to get one of the brisket all sliced up, but you'll want to slice it relatively thin.
I like my brisket au naturel, like my SIL on the left. However, some folks prefer a little sauce, like our buddy, Jim on the right. And, of course, no barbecue meal is complete without some pinto beans. But that's a recipe for another day.

Happy eating, y'all.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Pad Thai

Missy, here. And please tell me I haven't already shared this recipe! I did a search, and it didn't show up, so I hope I'm not repeating. :)

I'm late posting because I nearly forgot! So, for a quick post, I'm sharing a very quick recipe for one of my favorites, Pad Thai.

You'll find the Thai ingredients in the international section of your grocery.

1 box Thai Stir-fry rice noodles
1 package Pad Thai sauce
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined (these were wild caught Carolina shrimp and were amazing!)
1 egg, beaten
peanuts--chopped of crushed (I pound them in a baggie to crush)
Canola oil (I guess I used about a tablespoon)
Broccoli--I served as a side dish

Cook noodles according to the very simple directions (basically put into boiling water and remove from heat). Once cooked and drained, set them aside.

Heat oil in skillet/wok. Stir in egg and scramble. Remove to a bowl. Then add in shrimp and cook briefly until pink. Add the cooked, drained noodles and the packet of sauce. Stir to coat and warm. Then add egg back into the mix.

Top with crushed peanuts and serve.

It's that easy!!

P.S. There's usually a recipe on the back of the sauce box as well. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!

This is a no brainer, folks. I mean, really. Kav, for you, I'd suggest a lovely bit of bread (and I hate soda bread so I won't be suggesting that HERE, ever. I remember in James Beard's "Beard on Bread" cookbook, he said the same thing. I've loved him more, ever since!  ;)  Thank heavens for YEAST....

Corned beef round or brisket.
Six large potatoes
Six large carrots
1/2 head cabbage (if desired, my kids don't eat cooked cabbage)
One onion, if desired (I don't use the onion in this. I use it in beef stew where the meaty gravy takes on a nice oniony essence, but I think the onion overwhelms the other flavors in Corned Beef. So forget the onion. Really. Pretend I didn't even mention it, okay?)

Put the corned beef into a BIG POT. I like my big soup kettle, it's so old fashioned looking. Cover with water. Be sure to add in the little spice packet that comes with the corned beef (oh, they're a delicious addition!!!!) and the juices from the bag.  Do not think about what's IN those juices, just add 'em.

Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours, filling the home air with delightful scents and yumminess.


Add the peeled potatoes and carrots, cut in halves or quarters. Cook for about 30 minutes more (more or less depending on how small your veggies are) Add the cabbage for the last ten minutes.

Remove veggies onto a platter. Place in 225 degree oven to keep warm while you slice the beef. It's easier to slice the beef across the grain.... Now you're scratching your head and saying "WHAT????"  That just means slice it on the diagonal. So instead of going back and forth across the meat, angle it on the cutting board and slice from the narrowest end up.  Easy peasy! I promise. Thin slices work well, but Dave and I.... sigh... we just dig in, so there is no fancy schmancy slicing being done at our house today!

 So Amazingly Delicious!  Yes, these are the real St. Patrick's day pics.... and then THIS HAPPENED A LITTLE AFTER MIDNIGHT!!!

Congratulations to Hearthside Kennels "Thistle Rock Heart o' Hearthside" call name "Sadie" on the birth of four adorable Golden Retriever puppies!!!  Way to go, Sadie!!!!


Who needs sleep when you're surrounded by puppies, kittens and babies?????



This is an Allegany County dessert that I featured in my April 2011 Love Inspired release: "Reunited Hearts". (I LOVE THAT STORY!!!)

 The credit goes to the Texas Hot restaurant in Wellsville New York because that's where I first had this amazing bit of DELICIOUSNESS!!!!

Here's what you're going to need:
Graham Crackers.
Eggs (4 eggs, separated, whites in one bowl, yolks in another)
Corn Starch

I think that's it. I'll add other stuff if I discover I've forgotten something but you won't know because you'll just think I was smart and remembered it all, right?   ;)

First, Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (I just crush mine on the counter with my trusty rolling pin!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter

Mix first three ingredients. Add melted butter, mix again. Press into 8 or 9 inch pie pan. (If using a DEEP pie pan, you might want to double the recipe, use what you need and keep the rest in a freezer bag for garnishing things at a later date.) Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 7-9 minutes. Cool.

In the meantime, make the custard filling, my fave custard recipe from the old Cream Corn Starch box. I've shared this before, it's a family favorite for layer cake filling, for cannolis, for trifle.... Just a great vanilla pudding that doesn't separate quickly.

Melt in saucepan:

1/2 cup butter

Remove from heat. Add in:

1 1/3 cups sugar mixed with 1/2 cup cornstarch (mixing the sugar and cornstarch ahead of time prevents lumps!)
Mix with butter. Then add:

3 Cups Milk
4 egg yolks

Whisk well. Cook over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly. I'm reading Mia Ross's Hometown Family right now (she's got RUTHY in the book, LOL!!!!) and I read while I'm stirring because otherwise I'll walk away and burn the pudding. This has happened often.

When pudding comes to a boil, boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add two teaspoons vanilla. Whisk in well. Pour into pie shell.  Set aside.

To make meringue:

4 egg whites
6 Tablespoons sugar, more or less
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, adding sugar one tablespoon full at a time as mixture thickens. Pile onto pie, smoothing to edges, making sure meringue touches crust all around. Top with meringue. Bake at 350 degrees until meringue is golden brown and looks dry, about 7-10 minutes.  Ovens vary so just kind of keep an eye on it, but it's delightfully simple.

Remove from oven. Cool. Chill.

This is an old-fashioned great tasting people pleasing pie. One worthy of a book! And I'm so glad that Trent and Alyssa got to share a piece of it in Reunited Hearts.... While she was pretending to just wander by... and he just happened to be having lunch with a coworker.... I love how us girls think, LOL!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Something Green for St. Patty's--and It's Not Veggies!

Missy, here. I thought I'd share a recipe for something I made recently. The dish was so green that I saved it for today. :) The original recipe for Pistachio-Crusted Cod is from Martha Stewart's website. Click here to see the original recipe and a gorgeous photo of what it SHOULD look like! I didn't have some of the ingredients so did the best I could. Mine isn't nearly as pretty. In fact, mine looks downright unappealing. But it's so very tasty! So please don't let the photos scare you off. (And please ignore the onion! I thought I needed one.) :)

Pistachio-Crusted Tilapia

Fish--I used 4 individually frozen tilapia fillets (thawed)
Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley (I didn't have any so used about 2 Tbs. dried)
1 garlic clove
3 Tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place fish on sheet and 
season with salt and pepper.

In food processor, pulse pistachios, parsley and garlic until coarsely chopped, 15 seconds. Don't over-do! With machine running, add oil in steady stream. Since I didn't have fresh parsley, I added a little extra oil but probably didn't need it. Mine was runny. But it's nice and green for St. Patrick's Day! :) Blend until finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper.

Top fish with pistachio mixture. Roast until opaque, about 12-14 minutes. While baking, make the side dish, Couscous with Carrot and Cilantro, also on the Martha Stewart site.


1 cup couscous (I only had a mix, so just made according to package directions)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (I didn't have fresh so used about 2 Tbs. dried)
1 medium carrot coarsely grated.
1 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil
Stir in salt, couscous and carrot.
Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes
(I actually used a pre-packaged mix of couscous with pine nuts and added in carrots and cilantro while cooking)

If using fresh cilantro, add it at the end. Also add in the oil and fluff with fork.

Serve with the fish and enjoy! Even the kids loved it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Madness Begins!!!!!

If you have boys, or a husband, or a sports fanatic daughter, or yourself, you know what this post means simply by the title.

I didn't know what March Madness was until my boys were old enough to LOVE college basketball. Now all we need to do is here the opening notes of the theme song, and they all grin... hugely.

NCAA championship tournament begins tomorrow with the round of 64.... 32 basketball games stretched over four regional venues. Then we close the weekend with the round of 32.... Four days of non-stop basketball coverage and Who's Who in the name of collegiate hoops.

We do brackets. Brackets are sheets with EVERY game listed and you pick the winner and toss a bill into the "pot"... Winner take all. Each round is scored by points. I've had to do that. Seth has done that. Luke has done that.

You know what?

Now Yahoo does it FOR US!  We enter our choices in a Yahoo page, we give all the people the password and they enter their choices.  And then the computer establishes winners per round.

I wonder if that's going to take some of the fun out of the whole thing? No more red pens, no more totaling up points per round...

Sometimes I think technology impersonalizes too much. Everything is push-of-a-button easy. And this is a nice thing because my kids are scattered now, and it's easy-peasy...

But I'm not so sure it's the same because instead of that fun back-and-forth via phone or computer e-mail, we can just one-click into Yahoo and see our scores.

Kinda thin.

What do you think? Has technology made us more impersonal?

Oh, food???? Grinning!!!!  Chips, dip and  pizza from Caraglio's, of course!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Coffee Chat!

Missy, here. It's Wednesday, and our day to chat. Do you think this should mean we don't have to cook today? :)

So...I thought of a great question the other day. And of course, it flew right out of my head. I've been distracted working on by new story. Today, I was heading to go to the church to pick up my husband so we could go watch our kids play a high school tennis match. And I was thinking about the scene that I had just been working on. And I went right by the church! I didn't even notice for a couple of blocks. :)

So maybe that's inspired a good question! When have you been working on your writing or some other project and been so distracted you either messed up or embarrassed yourself?

If it's as hot there as it is here, let's have an iced beverage and chat...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesdays With the Texan - We're Talkin' Breakfast

Howdy! Today's post is so easy, a kid can do it. As a matter of fact, mine do. That is, when they can't recruit me to do it for them.

Now I've seen Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, do this same thing. She called it something else. Round these parts, we just call it a Bulls Eye. And it all started because someone couldn't get their kids to eat eggs for breakfast.

You will need:
  • an egg
  • one piece of bread
  • butter or margarine
  • salt and pepper
Well, I had to make it official, don't you know.

Using a cup, glass, cookie or biscuit cutter, you cut the center out of the bread.

Then you put them in a skillet of melted butter or margarine. coat both sides of the bread.

Crack egg into the middle making a BULLS EYE. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.

 Cook until bread is toasted, then flip.

Then serve to one of your favorite people. Nothing like celebrating your first day of spring break watching TV while Mom fixes you breakfast. And then let's you eat in her favorite chair.

This is my redhead. Of course, you can't tell that because he just got out of the shower.

Enjoy it while you can, Copperhead, because it's time to clean your room.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Taste of Home Pistachio Cake for St. Patrick's Day!

This delightful recipe first appeared in Taste of Home magazine (per their website) in the Dec/Jan issue, page 35. It became a crowd-pleasing favorite, first because it's absolutely delicious, second because it was green! How delightful!  And third?  You got it! Easy-Peasy!

So here it is, Pistachio Cake from Taste of Home!


  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
  • Whole red shell pistachios and fresh mint, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes; stir in walnuts.
  • Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with pistachios. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cutting. Garnish with whole pistachios and mint if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mary Connealy's Turkey Almond Casserole!

This recipe is so good you won't want to wait until you have a leftover turkey.

6 Cups Cooked Turkey
2 Cups raw Rice
2 Cans Mushroom Soup

1 Cup Mayo
½ Cups sliced Water Chestnuts
1/2 cup slivered Almonds

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 ½ Cup raw Celery
1 small Onion

Mix ingredients together, top with crushed cornflakes and sprinkle with cheddar cheese
Bake in 9 x 13 pan for 1 hour.

Ruthy note:  I use crushed corn flakes for a lot of things. They add a zing and crunch to toppings and coatings. I love the crunch it gives to chicken and to potato patties.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Tropical Shrimp Salad with Guest Mary Curry!

Tropical Shrimp Salad
By Mary Curry

            If you think of SPEEDBO as a writing retreat happening somewhere that looks a lot like Seekerville’s Unpubbed Island, then this dish is a perfect fit.

It’s fast, tropical, and Captain Jack is sure to want a taste.

Pineapple (Canned is fine; the whole one just looked pretty!)
Shredded Coconut
Shrimp (I used the pre-cooked, deveined shrimp from COSTCO)
Coconut Oil
Ginger (just a shake)
A shake of granulated garlic (if you like)

Because the shrimp is precooked, the longest part of this meal prep is washing the greens. You can use them fresh, but I blanched them because I wanted it as a hot meal rather than a salad.

Once your greens are prepared, scoop a tablespoon or so of coconut oil into the pan. Add the shrimp and stir fry for a few minutes until the shrimp are warmed through. Sprinkle with some ginger and garlic if you like.
Toss in the pineapple with its juice.
Stir and heat. The pineapple juice will really sweeten the shrimp.
Spoon onto the bed of greens. The pineapple juice provides the dressing.
Garnish with the shredded coconut and enjoy!

A couple of notes.  I’ve done a lot of reading recently about how coconut oil undeservedly got a bad rep because of hydrogenation. In it’s natural state it’s really healthy for you and much better for cooking than other oils. I used organic, virgin coconut oil that’s unrefined.

If you don’t feel like eating shrimp, I did a similar recipe using chicken breasts that I poached in a Almond milk/coconut milk blend. Yum!  The chicken was so sweet and tender. I just shredded that onto the greens and tossed in some orange slices with the pineapple.

This picture is my faithful companion, Fenny, who just figured out there’s shrimp on the table. Wish we had sound effects so you could hear him moaning for shrimp!