It’s a beautiful day – let’s grill something

Y’all know I love my homemade taco seasoning mix.  And y’all know, if you have made it, that it is quite spicy.  (yummy!)  And y’all know that hubby doesn’t eat quite as spicy/hot as I do so I had come across one that isn’t so spicy that I have been wanting to make and try.  I love homemade seasoning mixes as you can add/subtract the seasonings to your liking.

Yall.  This.  Oh my.  It is so good.  We had some chicken we wanted to grill out last week, and, well, the weather.  Enough said.   So I took the chicken, sprinkled this all over it, making sure it was well coated, let it sit for about 15 minutes while the oven heated up, placed it in an aluminum foil lined pan, and let ’em go!  Could not have been better.  I did drizzle just a tad of olive oil on top of the chicken for moisture.  (I always use skinless boneless so I didn’t want them drying out and they didn’t).

We loved these.  Hubby especially!  Leftovers were slightly re-heated and served over a salad.  Man.  Flavor in every bite.  I know two little girls that are getting their very on jar delivered to them today!

Make some and try it.   You will like it, especially if you like a little less heat.

Mild Taco Seasoning Mix

1/4 cup cumin

1/4 cup salt (kosher)

2 Tbsp garlic salt

2 Tbsp ground pepper

2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika (make sure to use the smoked paprika and not plain – it adds a depth of flavor you need)

Mix together and store in an airtight container (I use my mason jars for my spices!).

Use about 2 Tbsp per 1 pound of ground meat.  If sprinkling on whole pieces of meat to cook (like breasts, thighs, wings, or even pork tenderloin, even fish) just eyeball or use to taste.

This would be good on a good firm fish to make fish tacos.  Create your own dish today!

A beautiful week and winners

The rain has stopped…we think for a few days.  Maybe my back yard will dry out a bit along with yours.  Here’s hoping to a somewhat dry week although everything is turning so green and lush looking!

And it gives me great pleasure in giving away the following items to the following people selected by random.org –

The Orange Chelsea Market apron goes to – Joy!

And the Red Chelsea Market apron goes to – Diane!

And the set of Fat Witch Bakery cookbooks goes to – Karen Goad!

And the single Fat Witch Bakery “Bake Sale” cookbook goes to – Tibiwestbrook!

I forgot I had gotten a Set of the bakery cookbooks and a single cookbook of her new one, “bake sale” so I had two winners from the cookbook list.

Congratulations to all the winners and you will get an email from me along with me getting the prizes out to you soon!

Happy Monday, y’all.

A beautiful day in NYC

We just got back from New York City. We had a wonderful few days there and saw so much. Our feet can attest to that – we walked about 10 miles one day in order to see it all. and 10 miles doesn’t see a lot in NYC! If you have been you know what I am talking about! We did take the horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park. We have pictures! I won’t bore you with them but I will show this lovely tree – I have a thing about lovely trees…..
central park

I snapped this one of the flowers which were blooming all throughout the park. It was so pretty everywhere. Just cool enough to be enjoyable. Hubby got his long awaited HUGE Hot pastrami from Carnegie Deli (go to their website to see a picture of how huge it is!) and he said it was the best he had ever had. We also saw the play “Lion King” (my second time to see it in NYC) and loved it (again!).

We found a shopping market (we walked to it, too) in Chelsea – Chelsea Market – that was an old warehouse turned shops that was a great place to walk around and shop – it was the best! It had the neatest market with the most variety of fresh mushrooms I have ever seen in my entire life in one location. If I were living nearby, I would go broke in that market. It had a kitchen store that I just walked around in and swooned. It had one of my favorite places, Fat Witch Bakery, there, too. I was a good girl and didn’t eat any brownies, though. :-(

But what I did do, was bring back some good stuff to give you folks! Yep! So here’s the dirt:

From the neat kitchen store that hubby had to drag me out of there, I brought back two aprons to give to two people and I even got them in Alabama and Auburn colors, because, after all, the South is all about football!
orange apron

red apron

And I also brought back a set of Fat Witch Bakery cookbooks! Yep! “Fat Witch Brownies” and the newest one, “Fat Witch Bake Sale” so you can make those incredibly delicious brownies. They are easy and delicious.
cookbooks
So if you want a chance to win one of the three items in this give-a-way, just shout out which one you want to be in the running for: Alabama apron, Auburn apron, or the brownie cookbooks. I will decipher to the best of my ability Monday and select winners for each.

Have a great weekend and stay dry.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo – its what’s for dinner

If you are looking for an easy gumbo recipe, look no further. This one is not only easy, but is good! We thoroughly enjoyed it, and didn’t even miss the rice. Feel free to serve yours with a big scoop of rice in the middle of your bowl.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
¼ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup canola oil
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans chicken broth (I used fat free chicken broth)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound pkg of turkey kielbasa sausage
(you can use any kind you want – andouille, smoked – I went the healthy way and I don’t eat the other kind)
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like to keep the frozen bag of shrimp in the freezer for such as this or to grill or sauté to top on a salad)
2 cups frozen okra (you can either use frozen or let thaw)
4 green onions, chopped
1 ½ tsp gumbo file (found in the spice section- I know you have this in your spice cabinet!!!)

Place a couple of tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven and slice your sausage and place in heated oil. Brown sausage – remove from pan. Add the ¼ cup of canola oil and ¼ cup of flour. Stir while the flour browns to a caramel color, on medium heat; this will take anywhere from 8-10 minutes. Don’t let it burn so stir while this is going on. You are making the roux. Once this is done, add the diced onions, peppers, and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the veggies soften a bit. Add the chopped garlic and stir another minute or two. Stir in the broth, salt, pepper, cayenne, tomatoes, and add the sausage back in, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook with lid on (but cracked to the side) for 30 minutes.

Stir in the okra and green onions and cook for another 10 -15 minutes or until okra is cooked. This depends on whether or not you used frozen or thawed. I used frozen and cooked for 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook another 5-10 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Stir in the file powder. Enjoy!

If you like yours served with a scoop of rice (we didn’t eat rice in ours to watch the carbs) feel free to make a pot rice and serve up a bowl of this delicious gumbo and add a scoop of rice in the middle.

This recipe is definitely a keeper – hubby ate two bowls (no rice in it and he loved it- just enough heat) and said make this again!

Hope you choose to try this one soon!

Happy Easter Weekend

I pray that you have a worshipful Easter weekend and enjoy the time with your family!
We were in the mood yesterday for meatloaf – he, beef, and me, well you know the story. Mine was out of turkey. But to kick it up a notch, we smoked ours!

This is something you must try. Oh, my. I have a “steel grill meat loaf pan” from Williams Sonoma that I dearly love. It is made specifically for either grilling/smoking your meatloaf. It has a lift out insert with holes on the side of the insert and in the bottom, which allows the grill/smoker to get that flavor throughout the meatloaf. I used this pan for hubby’s and wrapped his loaf in bacon – added flavor! Just make up your favorite recipe and wrap the loaf in bacon, and there you go! I brushed some “jalapeno ketchup” (another layer of flavor) on the top of the bacon covered loaf and let her smoke!

Mine, made out of ground turkey, after making up my favorite recipe, I just placed in a wire grill basket, minus the bacon, of course, and in the smoker it, too, went. Great flavor. We love our masterbilt electric smoker.

Sorry I didn’t take pictures. I am an airhead. I admit.

I wanted to give this pan away on my blog but I can’t seem to find one on the Williams Sonoma site. If I can find one or two I will have it in a future give a way – if not, well, I will just have to get something else to pass along!

Enjoy all your peeps – both family and marshmallow kind! Love all of you followers!

Cupcakes or Cake Pops? Why not both?

A great weekend to try a new recipe. Well, sort of. I haven’t made cake pops in forever. And being in the mood to try something different than what we learned at the Viking Cooking School Cupcake and Cake Pop cooking class, I decided to create my own cake pop recipe. With peanut butter – peanut butter frosting and chocolate cake. Can’t go wrong there! And using a box cake mix, easy peasy!

cupcake (2)

cake pop (2)

In making my cake pop recipe, you only need one layer of a cake. I knew I would have left-over batter so not to let it go to waste, I just made mini cupcakes. I also knew I would have some of that wonderful peanut butter buttercream frosting left so that would be so good on top of those cupcakes!

See the pictures above? I took mini Reeses peanut butter cups and put one on each cupcake-that gives one a hint of the flavor of the cupcake. But given who was eating them it probably didn’t matter! HA

Here’s the handy dandy recipe in case you get industrious this week:
1 box chocolate cake mix – your choice of flavor and brand
(baked according to the instructions on the back of box-for cake pops you will only use one layer of the cake – either freeze the other layer or use it to make regular size cupcakes or mini cupcakes – I got one 9-inch cake layer and 24 mini cupcakes out of one box of cake mix)

one recipe for peanut butter frosting
Your favorite recipe or this one which tasted fabulous:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3-5 Tbsp milk
To make frosting, cream butter and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar and mix, adding milk one tablespoon at a time until smooth and creamy like frosting should be. I think I used 3 Tbsp. milk.

For the cake pops:
You will also need 2 Tbsp. Solid Vegetable Shortening (Crisco) 8 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped

Crumble the cake layer into a large bowl. If the edges got a little crispy, you will want to cut those away. After crumbling, you should have about 4 cups of crumbles. Spoon in 1 cup of the peanut butter frosting and mix gently with a spatula or your hands (hands work better) If your cake mix is real moist, you may not need the full cup of icing. Start out with 3/4 cup of icing. Once mixed, place in refrigerator for about an hour to thoroughly chill.
Once chilled, scoop out about 1 Tbsp of the cake mixture for each ball and lightly roll between the palms of your hand to form a ball. They should hold their shape well and be solid, place them on a baking sheet (or something that will fit in your freezer) lined with either parchment paper or waxed paper – cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes. (I like to put mine on small plates so I can work in small batches)
Fill the bottom of a double boiler -or if you are like me and don’t have one, just put about an inch of water in a saucepan and place a bowl (one that won’t touch the water) over the pan once the water comes to a boil and place the chocolate and Veg. shortening in the bowl. Stir the chocolate and the shortening until it is melted and smooth. Remove half of the cake balls and dip in melted chocolate, using a small wooden skewer, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. place back on paper lined plate. You can top each with finely chopped nuts, sprinkles, or leave plain. You can also melt small amount of white chocolate and drizzle over top. If the chocolate starts to get thick, just set the bowl back over boiling water. It will thin out again. Once the chocolate has hardened, store in an airtight container at room temperature. If kept in refrigerator, the chocolate will sweat.

Now that wasn’t too hard, was it? See? I used some skewers in mine – if you choose to do so, make sure your chocolate comes up on the skewer to hold the cake ball on the skewer. Have fun with these!

Fro Yo – yummy!

We love frozen yogurt from our local yogurt (well, local as in Montgomery) and we love healthy smoothies. Which brings me to this – Fro Yo – a sort of in between recipe. This was so good, not too sweet, and fresh!

Which brings me to this also – I have GOT to get me a new blender/food processor that is not a dinosaur! If you have one of those fancy Blendtec or Vitamix type this would take just a few seconds – with my old food processor, I worked that baby to death! HA!

Anyway, try this either way – I did have to add a squirt of water to get my processor to blend it – but you can add a bit more yogurt if you want.

Fro Yo
(feel free to change up the fruit and make what flavor you wish!)
1 pound peeled, pitted and frozen peaches (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use the low-fat or fat-free)
3 Tbsp honey (to cut down on the honey you could use the natural agave nectar or 1 Tbsp honey and 2-3 tbsp water)
1 Tbsp lemon juice

place all in the food processor (or blender if you have a good one) and process until creamy and smooth,k about 5 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for about a month. You will need to set out a short while before serving once frozen.

I’m making mine with frozen strawberries next! And then blackberries, my favorite!

Have a great weekend, y’all.

I’ll take two, please

Sugar cookies, that is! If you like sugar cookies, these will become a favorite of yours. These are a little crispy on the edges and soft and chewy in the center. So good, and perfect for an afternoon snack. Or in a lunch box, or a plate full going to someone who needs their spirits lifted!

Make these today. But remember, this recipe is not the kind you roll out and make cutout cookies with. Top these with sanding sugar or with sprinkles just before you put them in the oven for decoration!

Sugar Cookies – my new go-to favorite

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 Tbsp Buttermilk
sprinkles and/or sanding sugar to decorate (or just leave them plain)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, soda, baking powder and a pinch of salt.
In another bowl cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Then gradually add in the dry ingredients. Add enough buttermilk (i only added about 1 1/2 tbsp) buttermilk to make the dough soft but not wet.
Roll round teaspoons of dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Using the rest of buttermilk, moisten fingers and slightly flatten center of each round and sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles if you are decorating.
Bake for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven – mine baked for 10 minutes on an insulated cookie sheet- on a regular baking sheet it may have only taken the 8 minutes) or until slightly brown – let the cookies stand about 2 minutes before removing to rack to cool.
IMG_0234 (2)
See? Buttery and delicious! I used sanding sugar the same color as the dough so you may not be able to see it on top of the cookies but you will be able to taste it!

Just Enough

Wedding plans are in the works and to celebrate I made “just enough” cake to have a pow wow while talking all about what is going on with this upcoming wedding. This 8×8 little yellow cake makes “just enough” for the twosome or when you just want a little “sliver” as my mother would say – “give me just a “sliva” Teri” – so I would!

And it got a thumbs up – next time I make this I will get cute with it and cut it into little squares, slice the squares in half and fill it with a jam and then pour a “petit four” icing all over it!

Try this cake and have “just enough” – it will make you happy! Oh, the icing? You will find yourself licking the beaters!

Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (try splitting the vanilla with 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract – it will taste like a wedding cake!)

Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch salt
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
(and if you want to tint your icing, 2 to 4 drops of your favorite color!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, oil and vanilla. Add wet mix to dry mix. Lightly stir with a spoon or fold with a spatula just until combined. It will have small lumps in the batter but don’t over mix or try and stir smooth.
4. Turn batter out into the prepared pan and bake for 29-32 minutes or just until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few cake crumbs but not with any batter. Allow to completely cool.
Frosting:
Mix butter, vanilla, salt, and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and beat on low for about a minute to incorporate ingredients. Then turn on medium and mix for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add coloring if you desire at this point. Frost cake.

I frosted my cake with all white and left about 1/3 of the icing – tinted the 1/3 icing with a bit of yellow (one of the colors in the wedding) and then put a thin layer of the yellow on top just for some fun.
IMG_0227 (2)
See? Just enough! (ok so you really can’t tell there is yellow icing but there is) Make your little cake – better yet- let the kids help with this one!

Grillin’ Time is here

We love spending time on the patio now that we both are retired, especially on days like today. So what better time than to get grilling! Hubby has been wanting to grill his deer tenderloins on the grill and I asked him to grill me some chicken.

For his tenderloins, I seasoned them real good with a bit of kosher salt and a small amount of pepper, and added a layer of Hardin’s seasoning mix and rubbed it in real good. (who misses our Hardin’s on Coliseum Blvd???) Then I wrapped them in bacon and they are ready for the grill. My chicken is marinating in McCormick’s “Mexican Fiesta” Seasoning mix. I can’t wait.

For our side I mixed this up to also grill in our grill pan:
IMG_0215 (2)
Simple and full of flavor, these veggies are something we enjoy hot off the grill – cherry tomatoes (these look like baby roma tomatoes and they have so much flavor), yellow squash, zucchini, and onion, all sliced and thrown in a bowl, sprinkled with kosher salt, resh ground black pepper, and fresh rosemary that I just stripped off the stem and threw in, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and mixed all together. Now it is just sitting and ready to get cooking.

I say that is a perfect spring (well, almost) afternoon.

Enjoy the weather and the rest of your week! What’s for supper in your neck of the woods?