Saturday, June 30, 2012

Put a Fork in Me, I'm Done!

Well as most of you know, it's really too damn hot for a lots of cooking and slaving over hot stoves.  We opted for cold sandwiches of turkey and cheese, and bologna and cheese, with chips on the side.  Lots of Good Cold Water!!  My thoughts go out to the home without power and hope that it is restored soon.  I purchased the kids a snow cone machine yesterday and it has been a godsend.  It was a wonderful surprise that they really appreciated.  Maybe some night, when the kids are at bay, I can make some Adult drinks like snow cone margaritas and Malibu and Milk, Yum!!!  Whatever your day brings you, be sure to stay HY-DRATED AND PROTECT YOUR SKIN!!! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh Deer!!

Earlier in the week, I spent the evening 'breaking down' a deer.  It came from a kill that my brother in law made during the season and I skinned and cleaned it myself!!  I broke down most of it then, but I froze one hind and one front leg quarter, until now.  I spent the evening trimming and grinding, bagging and  processing the venison with an antique grinder and my food processor.  I know some of you cringe at the idea, but any chef/exceptional cook must be comfortable in all areas of the art.  It is important to realize that basically, no matter what the animal, cows, pigs, lamb, venison, etc... parts like the loins and roasts and tenderloins would be located in the same place.  The venison was great practice for other animals in the future.  Venison, if you haven't tried it, can be a very delicious protein if done properly.  They provide excellent lean protein and iron.  Venison can however, be very tough and 'wild' tasting, so care must be taken in regard to soaking and tenderizing.  When prepared well, Venison tastes very much like ground beef and can act as a substitution for virtually any dish with ground beef.  If such a substitution should take place, it is important that you inform your consumers as it is the ethical thing to do.
Sometimes stigmas can interfere with someone trying something out of their norm like venison.  The Indians were consuming venison when the Pilgrims arrived. The Indians turned the Pilgrims on to the hotness!! Venison helped save some of our ancestors from starvation.  Amidst the jokes about West Virginia roadkill and Po' folks food, lies a rich history and connection to the earth.  Venison is a sustainable part of wildlife and an inexpensive one at that.  Besides, I'm sure they've taken out a fender, hood, door or windshield or two of yours or someone you know and love.  Quintessentially, it's payback, and everyone knows that it can be  a real B@TCH!:)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Savory Stuffed Crepes For Everyone!

These ideas complement the earlier blog on stuffed crepes.  These variations include savory ingredients and possible breakfast and brunch fixings.
 Savory Ham and Cheddar Stuffed 'Crepes'
1 pkg. regular sized flour tortillas
deli sliced ham
sliced Cheddar cheese
Place tortilla on flat surface and imagine look at it as a pie graph.  Place a slice of ham folded in the 1st and 3rd quadrants, and a halved slice of cheese in 2nd and 4th.
Fold tortilla upward to form a half circle.  Fold circle in  half opposite the side facing you to form a fan of sorts, with the open end facing up.
In  a non stick skillet sprayed or a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, toast both sides of the crepe until heated through, and the cheese just starts to melt.  Let stand for several minutes before serving.
Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce or ranch dressing or whatever tickles your fancy.
Turkey and Swiss with Italian dressing dipping sauce
Roast Beef and Provolone with horseradish sauce
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese with dill and sour cream dipping sauce
Sausage and Eggs, 1/2 patty in quadrants 1&3
Bacon and Eggs, 1 slice halved  in quadrants 1&3
Spam and Eggs, 1 slice in quadrants 1&3
Canadian Bacon and eggs, 1 slice  " " " "

6 Easy Stuffed 'Crepes' for Kids

A crepe as some of us know, is an almost paper thin pancake made with eggs. My version of crepes is a lot simpler and easier to procure than conventional crepes, hand held, nutritonally complete and a healthy snack or meal when coupled with salad or fruit.  There are 6 variations, one for every day of the week. For extra beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber, use whole wheat in place of regular.
  Easy Stuffed 'Crepes' (PB & J)
1 pkg. regular sized flour or whole wheat tortillas
favorite peanut butter
favorite jelly
Take a tortilla and imagine it was a pie graph.
Place small amount of peanut butter in the 1st and 3rd quadrant and jelly in the 2nd and 4th .
Fold tortilla up, making a half circle, then fold again into a fan of sorts with open side facing up.  Make as many as desired.
Peanut Butter and Banana
Peanut Butter and Apples
Peanut Butter and Nutella
Cream Cheese and Fresh Strawberries
Raspberry Jam and Cream Cheese
My girls and nephew really like these. The crepes are kid's hand size and portable with virtually no clean up!!
Mix and match to create your own new favorites.  Kids respond better to foods when they help in preparation, so set out some ingredients and let them use their creativity!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Page out of the Notorious B.I.G's Memoirs

....Go fill my belly, A T-bone steak, cheese eggs, and Welch's grape...Conversate for a few...
Today I had an outdoor lunch with 3 of my sisters, Hollie and Gayle and Cherie. We had tons of great conversation,a tantalizing meal, via grill, of tender grilled steaks, steamed and grilled potatoes, scrambled eggs and toast with grape jelly. The sun was beaming, but underneath the canopy by the apple tree, we were in shaded bliss. The breeze was blowing just enough to ruffle my sundress without blowing away our napkins. The kids were at peace playing, running, laughing, jumping, HAPPY. They stopped in periodically for bites of their meals, too involved with their own agendas to care about the ADULT chit chat transpiring amongst them. The pets waited beyond the perimeters of our gathering, hoping and wishing their turn would manifest itself in a sliver of this, a sliver of that. It didn't. People's feeding times and animal's feeding times should be done separately, as not to encourage begging. These are simple statements, simple times, simplistic and beautiful, congregating and sharing, family orientation, basking in those things that truly make us HAPPY!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Skinny on Slaw!

Many of us have an affection for coleslaw,  on hotdogs, with fish, on BBQ or as a yummy summer side dish. Oftentimes, it doesn't fit well into our calorie and eating regime without 'upsetting the apple cart' so to speak.   Enter my skinny version of a slaw with the same crunch, look and creaminess of coleslaw without the upwards of 15-20 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving.  Substituting Low Fat Greek Style Yogurt for mayonnaise fortifies this slaw with calcium and protein and a host of probiotics. A 1 cup serving of this yogurt has only 5 grams of fat, compared to 160 grams of fat in a cup of regular mayonnaise.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE mayo and make it at home, but I'd like to use my mayo fat intake sparingly, not all at once.  The cabbage is replaced by zucchini, which has a plethora of B vitamins and soluble fiber.  The carrots pack in beneficial beta carotene, as well as vitamins C and A, plus more fiber.  Seasoned rice vinegar provides the sharpness and acidic zing.  When looking for a slaw out of the norm, try this one on for size.  Your body and booty will thank you for it!
Skinny Zucchini Slaw
1 large zucchini, about 2 lbs, de-seeded and grated
3 carrots, grated
2 green onions, thinly sliced, white parts, with about 1 inch of green
1 cup Low Fat Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar or 1 packet sugar substitute
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit your Taste)

Toss grated zucchini with a pinch of salt and set aside in colander for about 10 minutes.
Rinse and drain.  (This is to eliminate excess moisture, especially if serving later in day!!)
Toss zucchini and carrot until well mixed. 
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and fold until well blended. 
Add veggies and stir to coat. SPST.  Allow a few minutes for flavors to meld and serve, or refrigerate until ready to use.  Great on hotdogs, BBQ, fish, and anywhere else you would use regular cabbage and mayo based slaws.

Lemon Aids!

Aside from being a popular ingredient in cooking, various alcohol based drinks, as well as the centerpiece for our beloved Lemonade, lemons have more to offer than just a little zest.  Lemons possess a certain anti-microbial aspect due to it's citric acid  and other enzymes and can help kill germs.  Many think the lemon wedge on their glass at their favorite restaurant is for show, but the main reason is to kill germs and reduce bacteria growth.
Also, lemons help aid in digestion and freshen the breath.  We get the benefits of vitamins C and A, which help contribute to gum health as well.  So pucker up and kiss a lemon today, for healthier and fresher kisses tonight!!