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Household Gadgets From The Past~April 2014 Giveaway!!

One of the things I enjoy doing is looking for unique household gadgets from yard sales to goodwill stores. I tanked on my recent venture for aged and unique treasures, but my sister Helen didn’t, as she found a mother load of gadgets for me!!

Like last months gadget, an egg scale.

Like last months gadget, an egg scale.

You do not have to be a wiz in the kitchen, or an expert in antiques or household items past or present. But I am sure there may be one or two of you who will recall seeing an item posted, whether it was in your home, neighbor, or a relative.

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If you have a kitchen or household gadget of your own that you would like to share. Just drop me an email with the photo, and description, if you bought it or it was passed down and I’ll feature it with a link back to your site.

 vintage griller

The rules are simple, just answer in the blogs post comment field, the name of what this is, or accurately describe what it does, or purpose.

First person to post the correct answer in the comments section will win one of Bobby Flay’s books on grilling along with “The World Of Flavor”  a cookbook that is all about the wonderful flavorful lamb. 

Bobby Flay

 

world of lamb

It’s all in good fun and remember the rules.
First correct answer in the blog post comment field wins
Just name or give accurate description of what this does….

Ready…….Set…..Go…..

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Honey Mustard Glazed Ham

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I realize that Easter Sunday is just under a month away, and you might be thinking that it is just a bit too soon to think about decorated eggs

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baskets and what you will be preparing for  your holiday dinner, and that’s okay.

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I tend to ask my kids at eight in the morning what they want for dinner that evening, I like to plan my day out and depending on what I decide to make allows me to plan out the day. So while Easter Sunday may not be on your mind now, it may creep up on you and if so I’ve got a wonderful honey mustard glaze that is simple, and adds a ton of sweet and savory flavors to your holiday ham.

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Next to the holiday iconic turkey, glazed ham is a spring time holiday centerpiece.

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I’ve developed this recipe over the years making changes till I tried a different technique a few years back, and what I got was a slightly crispy crust with a hint of sweetness and juicy all throughout the inside.

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All the ingredients are in most pantries and your fridge, so for best results all you need to do is buy a good quality bone-in smoked ham, and not canned either. Oh don’t forget to ask the butcher to spiral cut your ham if it’s not already, as it will make serving a lot easier.

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The key to the perfect ham is all in how much fat you trim off. Leaving too much fat and your crispy crust will be flabby and unappealing, take too much off and you will end up with dry patches instead of a crispy bite of heaven. So while trimming use extra care and try to leave about 1/4 inch to 1/3 of fat. Now this recipe will yield just enough to glaze the home only, or double the ingredients and have extra glaze to drizzle over your succulent ham. Besides there is always a guest who will ask..

“Where’s the extra glaze”?

It’s also nice to have a little extra glaze for left overs, if there’s any left. Right??

 

 

Ingredients:

10-12 lb Smoked ham, bone-in
1 cup Honey
1/4 cup Brown sugar
3 Tbsp Regular yellow mustard
3 Tbsp Whole Grain mustard
3 Tbsp Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 350°F and use rack second from bottom.

Remove all packaging from ham and pat dry with paper towels.

Trim away any excess fat, leaving about a 1/4 – 1/3 inch on ham. Allow Set ham to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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I like to use disposable aluminum baking trays for easy clean up, or use a sheet tray or Pyrex baking dish.

Put ham cut side down in tray and cover with a large piece of parchment paper. Cover the ham with parchment paper and then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

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Using a small sauce pan over medium heat combine all remaining ingredients and stir occasionally making sure butter has melted completely and brown sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to warm, or until the glaze has consistency of honey.

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Remove ham from oven and increase the temperature to 425 F.

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Remove foil and parchment paper and throw away, using a sharp knife you will want to score a diamond shape pattern about 1 inch wide, but no deeper then 1/4 inch.

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Using a brush for marinades, brush the ham with the glaze using about 1/3 cup and return to oven uncovered for 15 minutes.

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Repeat every 15 minutes until all the glaze has been used and/or you have a golden-brown and slightly dark crust.

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Total time is about 55 to 60 minutes.

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Allow the ham rest 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.

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Incredible Food Facts and Health Benefits # 56

Recent Changes Happening

When I started my blog back in August 2012, my main goal was to share recipes, tips and tricks to make life in the kitchen a little easier for each other, and I thought that I wanted to compete in culinary competitions and share that journey with my readers. Well a lot has changed since i started blogging, and I learned more than I bargained for…lol.

I learned just how powerful food in its natural form, and through a little bit of knowledge we can reverse illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, Hyper-tension, High cholesterol, even depression.
I have always believed that “knowledge is power” that should be shared with others, whom like me are not aware of GMO’s, processed foods, food fraud, food waste, cancer fighting foods, and the endless food recalls across the globe.

I’ve added a two new categories recently; “Healthy Beautiful You, and “Facts About Processed Foods And GMO’s”. I added “Tami’s Corner” several months ago and will be doing a lot of updating on this special corner. Tami is a dear friend from high school who is very creative when it comes to entertaining and party planning, and hopefully before summer we will finally work on a cookbook together!

So while my blog will still be based on cooking, I plan to add a simple cooking lesson each Friday. I enjoy teaching those who are new to cooking that it’s not difficult, its okay to burn food as we all have done, and I still do from time to time. Creating dishes in the kitchen is always fun, and unless one tries they will never know, what fun they are missing out on.

Till next time…..

Ciao~Clarissa

South Of The Border Taco Soup-Slow Cooker Marvel

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From south of the border comes this spicy and hearty soup ladled over crisp tortilla strips, and can be topped with an endless list of many fresh ingredients.

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Tortilla soup or in this case my “Taco Soup encompasses all things I love in Mexican cooking. Do you love fresh salsa? sliced avocado? cilantro? fresh hot tortilla strips? Taco soup is a balance of flavors from enchilada sauce, seasoned taco meat, fresh peppers, corn, and of course beans. For me soup becomes a lot more interesting when it’s seasoned with Mexican spices and chili powders.

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Taco soup is also one of those “go to dishes” and a great “help yourself” sort of meal. Everyone can jazz up their bowl of soup the way they want it. I love to make this during cool weather using my extra-large slow cooker, and then lay out a variety of fresh toppings, that no two bowls look or taste the same. For maximum flavors make it a day before serving so that the flavors have time to marry.

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This is a quick and easy version of the traditional “chicken tortilla soup” Except instead of using chicken were using ground beef, or ground turkey for those wanting to cut back on red meats!

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All you do is brown the ground beef, dice the bell peppers, open a few cans, rinse, drain then mix it all together put into the slow cooker, and turn it on.

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As for the beans I used in this recipe can be omitted if you’re not a fan of kidney or black beans. It’s a very versatile dish, so put your own spin on it!

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For a hearty meal that’s full of flavor and spice, you can’t go wrong with Mexican Taco Soup! As some may notice I snapped several pictures showing variations of toppings. 

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Ingredients:

1-2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground or dried crushed oregano
2 Tbsp New Mexico or California chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 medium sweet onion, chopped finely
1 green bell pepper, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can whole white corn, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can whole yellow corn, drained and rinsed
1 small can diced green chillies
1 15 oz can tomato purée

 

Directions:

Brown ground beef in a large pan, or in my die-hard favorite, cast iron skillet, drain fat completely and add to slow cooker.

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Remove ribs and seeds from bell peppers and cut into small to medium size dice, and add to slow cooker.

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Open all cans of beans if using more than one type, rinse, drain then add to slow cooker.

Repeat last step with corn.

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Add in remaining ingredients along with Mexican spices and seasoning, stir until combined.

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Remember to taste and adjust seasoning to your desired taste and/or heat level.

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You can add a little water if it starts getting too thick, let the soup cook on low for several hours.

Endless Toppings:

Crispy Tortilla Strips (prepare in advance)

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12 – 20 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips.

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Fried in small batches in vegetable oil. Drained and allow to dry on paper towels.

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Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
Shredded Mexican cheese
Avocados, sliced or cut into small chunks
Tomatoes, diced. ( If you can find some colorful Heirloom tomatoes to dice, they will add bright color to your soup.)
Green chillies, diced
1/2 head iceberg lettuce or cabbage, shredded
Mexican or regular sour cream
1 onion red or sweet, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro rinsed & dried, then finely chopped
Lime wedges
Roasted Pumpkin seeds

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Incredible Food Facts and Health Benefits # 55

Blondies W/Maple Sauce and…..Bacon!

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Yes, I said BACON!!

Now not everything goes with bacon, but this dessert  most certainly does.

In some recipes bacon can pair well with desserts, especially for those, who do not care for desserts that are “too sweet”, the use of bacon can balance the sweetness out.

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A couple of years ago for my son’s birthday we ate at Slater 50/50, Now those who are unfamiliar with this restaurant, its known for serving burgers that are 50% beef and 50% ground bacon. My son had the turkey burger, but for dessert he chose the traditional brownie that was baked with chopped bacon inside, and that was DELICIOUS!

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At Apple bees they serve a blonde version of brownie with candied pecans and a maple sauce that is “out-of-bounds” fantastic. I’ve come across a few recipes for the maple sauce and none came as close to the sauce I adapted from Applebees. 

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The base recipe for a Blondie is pretty much made the same, but the maple sauce was challenging to replicate till now.

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Those with a die-hard sweet tooth know nothing is better than a home-baked warm Blondie with ice cream. This recipe takes it to a whole other level for the die-hard bacon fan. I posted pictures with Bacon and without.

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Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts; toasted and divided in half for Blondie and half for topping
1/3 cup butter or margarine; melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Optional:
1/2 cup bacon or about 8 strips of thick cut apple-wood bacon cooked and chopped; divided in half for Blondie and half for topping

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Directions For Blondie’s:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, after the bacon and walnuts are done.

Using large skillet over medium-high heat cook bacon till its nice and crispy. Do not under cook the bacon, it needs to be crisp!

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Remove and place on paper towels to dry completely.

Using a medium size skillet heat on medium-high, then add shelled walnuts. Stir often to make sure all walnuts are toasting evenly and to prevent burning, about 5 minutes.
Walnuts should smell toasted and have started to brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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In a medium size bowl add all dry ingredients, shift together and mix well.

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In a larger bowl add melted butter and bowl sugar and mix with a hand blender till mixture is smooth.

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Then add beaten egg and vanilla extract, blend again till smooth.

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Add flour mixture, a little at a time, either using hand blender on low-speed or use a wooden spoon and blend together by hand.

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Add chopped nuts and bacon and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, set aside.

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Stir in white chocolate chips.

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Spread out dough in a 9-inch pan.

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Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test if the center of your Blondie is done. Toothpick should come out clean.

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Serve warm with ice cream, Maple Butter Sauce, and of course don’t forget to top off with more walnuts and bacon.

Maple Butter Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4-1/2 tsp maple extract
Pinch of salt

 

Directions For Sauce:

Using a small sauce pan melt butter over medium-low heat.

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Add brown sugar and whisk together to combine.

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Pour heavy cream, and powder sugar in a saucepan and cook, constantly stirring on medium-low for 1-2 minutes or till sauce becomes bubbly and starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

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Be careful not to burn the sugary sauce.

Add maple flavoring to desired taste by starting with 1/4 tsp and stir until combined. Taste and add another 1/4 tsp if desired.

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My Blondie is baked with toasted walnuts, thick cut apple-wood smoked bacon bits, served warm covered with a rich, sizzling maple butter sauce along with ice cream and like a cherry on top, it is topped with more chopped walnuts, and bacon.

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Honey-Pomegranate BBQ Chicken

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Love the simple flavors of BBQ chicken?

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Would you like to make BBQ chicken with out using a grill, and right in your oven?

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Love crispy skin with a touch of sweetness?

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Would you like to have BBQ without needing to keep a roll of paper towels or moist towels next to you?

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Want to know how crazy easy this recipe is ?

No measuring!!!

No basting!!!

Just chicken and six ingredients.

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I made this a few weeks ago and my family went nuts. Nice flavors of BBQ sauce, not messy, easy to make, simple steps to follow and you end up with chicken so moist and juicy you will look around before you lick your plate clean.

Look at how moist and juicy this breast is.

Look at how moist and juicy this breast is.

So I picked up a couple of packs of chicken quarters and breast with rib meat last night for dinner.

Ingredients:

Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
Clover Honey

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Depending on size of quarters, breast and type of oven you have this should take between 30-50 minutes for the quarters, and 45-75 min for the breast.

Start with chicken quarters first.

Trim off any excess fat off the quarter pieces and breast and if you want, use kitchen shears to cut rib section off breast, pat dry with paper towels and allow to come up to room temperature or about 30 minutes and no more while oven heats up.

Season both sides

Season both sides

Season both sides with salt & pepper and garlic and onion powder. If you do not like onion powder you can omit from recipe. Also make sure you are using either garlic/onion powder or granulated and not garlic/onion salt.

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Line sheet tray with parchment paper, makes for easy clean up!

If you have a squirt bottle drizzle the Pomegranate-Balsamic Vinegar over the bottom or bone-side first.

Drizzle Honey next.

Drizzle Honey next.

Repeat last step by drizzling clover honey.

Use a basting brush to smooth all over each side of chicken the honey & pomegranate balsamic vinegar.
Use a basting brush to smooth all over each side of chicken the honey & pomegranate balsamic vinegar.

Flip over and repeat with chicken quarters, and place on top rack of oven.

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Repeat all steps with chicken breast.

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Put into bottom rack of oven.

After 30 mins, remove sheet tray of chicken quarters and flip over, bone size up, skin side down and place on bottom rack.

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Repeat with chicken breast.

Now I’ll share the secret. By cooking bone side down first, the fat comes out of chicken it mixes with the vinegar and honey, so when you flip and cook skin side last you create a crispy flavorful skin on the outside.

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By allowing chicken to come to room temperature it will retain its moisture and juicy. By using chicken not completely defrosted or ice-cold the moisture escapes faster leaving you with dry on the inside chicken.

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As you remove each tray of chicken from the oven allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, or all the juicy goodness will end up on your plate and not your stomach.

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Enjoy!!!

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Winner- Kitchen Gadgets

We got a winner for last Months Kitchen Gadget contest. Though there were quite a few of you really close, but it was Rick H of Excelsior Springs, MO who gave the correct answer.

Egg Scale

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For those who are not aware, egg scales are used to weigh the eggs so they can be given the correct grade.

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Grading of eggs by weight began about 1900 as a way of selecting the ideal size egg for hatching purposes. Early “egg graders” were preset to select eggs of a certain weight. During World War I, the U.S. War Department bought eggs in large quantities and paid for them on the basis of size, which was determined by weight. Since poultry farmers were paid a premium for graded eggs, i.e., eggs that were sorted by size, World War I created an immediate market for “egg scales.” Farmers graded eggs to sell to retailers as a source of cash, thus perpetuating the need for egg scales. World War II created the greatest single demand for egg scales as the U.S. War Department bought eggs in huge quantities to feed the troops overseas. Most egg scales were invented and manufactured between 1920 and 1940.

Thank you to everyone who participated, this was a hard one but fun. I will be posting another “Kitchen Gadget on March 29th, so please check back for your chance to win one of these cookbooks on grilling by Bobby Flay!!

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Congratulations Rick!!!!

 

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Want to learn how to cook fish in under five minutes?

Today’s catch is a white fish called Tilapia.

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Technically, tilapia is not the name of one specific species of fish but rather a common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish. Tilapia was one of the three main types of fish caught in Biblical times from the Sea of Galilee. One common Bible story I recall as a child was; Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish, which some surmise were tilapia. In Ancient Egypt the “Nile Tilapia” is represented by the hieroglyph K1, of the Gardiner List, and was one of many fish caught along the nile river.

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Tilapia are a fast-growing species of fish native to Africa whose popularity in the commercial food industry has risen in recent years, and is now the fourth most-consumed seafood in the United States, after tuna, salmon, and shrimp. Due to high demand, much of the tilapia consumed by the public is now farm-raised rather than wild-caught. In a report from the Earth Policy Institute says the population of farmed fish now exceeds beef production, and is expected to exceed consumption of wild-caught fish.

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One of the reasons the tilapia is so popular is they are short-lived and primarily vegetarian, therefore they do not accumulate substantial amounts of mercury by consuming other fish, as other food fish do. The tilapia is more farm raised efficient because they eat lower on the food chain.

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Cooking tilapia is very easy in under five minutes on the stove and this fish can take on many various flavor profiles, as the tilapia has next to no fish flavor at all. This makes tilapia a little more kid friendly at dinner time.

So if want to go Cajun and make it blackened

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Lightly breaded or battered

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Fish Taco Tuesday, go for it.

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With tilapia the sky in the limits to what you can create for lunch or dinner….

Ingredients:

4 oz Tilapia
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dill
2 lemon & lime wedges
1 tsp zest from lemon & limes
1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse the tilapia fillets in cold water. Pat them dry with paper towels when you’re finished.

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Season both sides of each fillet with salt and pepper, garlic & onion powder, dill and zest.

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Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Now get out you slotted/fish spatula

Fish spatulas—elongated versions of a burger/pancake flipper. Designed for being able to easily get underneath delicate fillets without breaking them up or tearing the crispy skin you love to eat. This esscential kitchen tool is perfect for removing vegetables from a baking sheet along with transferring fresh-baked pastries from oven to cooling rack.
Fish spatulas—elongated versions of a burger/pancake flipper. Designed for being able to easily get underneath delicate fillets without breaking them up or tearing the crispy skin you love to eat. This essential kitchen tool is perfect for removing vegetables from a baking sheet along with transferring fresh-baked pastries from oven to cooling rack.

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Place seasoned tilapia in heated skillet and immediately squeeze a wedge of lemon & lime over the tilapia, and repeat when you flip the fish over.

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Cook the tilapia in the hot oil until the fish flakes easily. It should take about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side to cook the tilapia, depending on the thickness of filet.

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To serve you can try the following options

Squeeze additional lemon juice over tilapia, or brush melted butter onto the tilapia right before you remove it from the skillet. and enjoy it while it’s hot. You can eat it on it’s own or enjoy it with some mixed greens, salad, roasted potatoes, or another side dish.

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Incredible Food Facts and Health Benefits # 54

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