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Fumi Salad



This unique salad and “Pot Luck Favorite” is very easy to make using most pantry items and will become a favorite to your family and friends. Its a unique dish that most people will ask for a copy of it as it’s so delicious and kid friendly. One recipe will feed an ARMY of people. A great go-to dish in the summer!







1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted


1/4 c plain sunflower seeds, toasted

3 Tbsp plain sesame seeds, toasted

3 Tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted


1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 medium napa cabbage, shredded


1/4 red cabbage, shredded

1 c carrots, shredded


6 green onions, sliced

1 pkg. Ramen noodles, uncooked

3 tbsp. fine sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper



3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tbsp rice vinegar




In a small nonstick skillet over low-med heat, toast sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds separately,

stirring constantly. Set aside.


In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot and green onion. Set a side.



Break Ramen noodles up and set aside.



In a small bowl or lidded jar, combine sugar, seasoning, oil and vinegar.


Just before serving,

add almonds and sesame seeds to cabbage mix and top with crushed noodles.


Add dressing and toss until coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours



Serve cold or room temperature.


Makes 8 to 10 servings. Recipe can be halved


Note: if the salad will not be served right away, take the various ingredients in separate baggies and assemble on sight. The noodles and cabbage gets soggy if salad is allowed to sit overnight.


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Loaded Up Baked Potato Soup


What’s not to love about potatoes?

It’s a staple in the majority of kitchens across the globe, an everyday ingredient with no limit to what one could make. Lets see there are potato chips, mashed potato, potato galette, au gratin potato, potato pancakes, french fries, home fries hash browns and good old baked potato, just to name a few.


It’s a no wonder the “spud” is considered the worlds most versatile vegetable, whose origins are both Peruvian and Chilean that date back to 500 B.C.

Archeologist have discovered The Incas grew, ate and also worshipped the potato. They buried potatoes with the dead, they’ve hid potatoes in bins for use in case of war or famine, they dried them, and carried them on long journeys to eat on the way. Ancient Inca potatoes had dark purplish skins and yellow flesh. The Incas called the potato “papas,” as they do today.


The potato has become a symbol of Irish cuisine, by the 18th century, potatoes were an essential food in Ireland, they were cultivated throughout the country. Ireland’s rainy, cool climate was perfect for cultivating spuds by the thousands, the Irish people ate them almost as fast as they could grow them. This vegetable is so high in vitamins and minerals and was easy to grow, Irish farmers and workers could afford to feed their families on them, and their families grew healthier as a result. Mortality rates in infants went down, life expectancy went up, and the population boomed. Between the late 1700s and mid-1800s, the Irish population nearly doubled in size, due to the potato.

Although potatoes are grown throughout the United States, no state is more associated with the potato than Idaho. The first potatoes in Idaho were planted by a  Presbyterian missionary, Henry Harmon Spalding in 1936. His first crop was a failure, but the second year was a success.

The potato is truly a marvel that continues to evolve in the culinary world today, with no limits in sight.

Personally I never get tired of potatoes, so much so that a few weeks back I was going through pictures of dishes for my blog, when I realized I use potatoes a lot.
When I started thinking about which dishes I would re-shoot minus potatoes, it was hard to pick because I loved them all, why reinvent the wheel?

So when I started thinking about what I would write about as a guest blogger for  I decided to go with a seasonal dish that also wears a comfort food crown, a timeless classic “Potato Soup”, but loaded like a baked potato!


My recipe is easy in spite of the seventeen ingredients, so if you’re a newbie to cooking don’t let that intimidate you, cause this recipe is easy peasy and the bonus?


Ninety minutes from start to finish, so here is my
“Loaded Up Baked Potato Soup”



5 Tbsp Unsalted butter
5 Tbsp Flour
1 Medium yellow or brown onion, diced
6-8 large celery stalks, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces, include the celery heart.

32 oz Low sodium chicken broth, or use your own.

Money Saving Tip $$$ Make your own stock from left over chicken bones and save money and reduce the amount of sodium! Try my recipe for making your own chicken stock.

Money Saving Tip $$$ Make your own stock from left over chicken bones and save money and reduce the amount of sodium! Try my recipe for making your own chicken stock.

32 Oz Heavy whipping cream
1/2 lb Applewood smoked bacon

3 Cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp Tabasco
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried or ground oregano
4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp Fresh chopped parsley

Salt & Pepper to taste
8-18 Large russet potatoes
16 Oz cooked ham, diced into 1/2 inch chunks


Optional Toppings: Chopped Green Onion, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Bacon Bits, Sour Cream, Chives, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


Heat oven to 400 degrees.


In a large stock pot or dutch oven cook bacon on med-high heat, until crispy and fat is rendered off, remove and place bacon to the side.


Drain all bacon fat leaving a thin layer, just covering the bottom of the pot and reduce heat to low-medium heat.


Add celery, garlic and onions and over a low-med heat cover and sweat the veggies until onions just become transparent, remove cooked veggies and set aside


For this next step grab a wire whisk

Next add butter into same pot and melt completely, then add flour and stir mixing the melted butter and flour cooking the roux on low heat for 5-7 minutes.


This cooking technique is called a roux.


A Roux is used to thicken sauces and soups. Pre-cooking the flour will allow the granules in the starches to enlarge and absorbs moisture and will thicken a sauce or soup base.

Next add chicken stock and stir. Turn heat to medium and stir constantly until there are no lumps and there is a smooth consistency and sauce is now thickened.


Add back to pot cooked veggies, and bay leaves, fresh cracked black pepper, oregano and sprigs of thyme.

Potatoes should be somewhat cool to touch, if not use a kitchen towel and you can leave the skin on or remove all skins and dice into bite size chunks.

Add potatoes to pot as well.

If you want to add ham this is when you would add it.
Add heavy cream and adjust salt and pepper.


Turn heat up to low, stirring constantly and cook for 15-20 minutes.


Use a ladle and pour yourself a hearty bowl of homemade potato soup!


Top with the following; Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onion, and crumbled bacon.


Don’t forget to grab a loaf of bread, dinner rolls or biscuits to sop the bottom of the bowl.





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Red-Eye Chuck In A Slow Cooker?



Red-eye gravy is a thin sauce often seen in the cuisine of the Southern United States and associated with the country ham of that region.

Other names for this sauce include poor man’s gravy, bird-eye gravy, bottom sop and red ham gravy. Red-eye gravy is made from the drippings of pan-fried country ham, bacon, or other pork, typically mixed with black coffee. The same drippings, when mixed with flour, make the base for Sawmill gravy. Red-eye gravy is often served over ham, cornbread, grits, or biscuits.


A common practice is to dip the inner sides of a split biscuit into the gravy to add flavor and keep the biscuit from being too dry when a piece of country ham is added between the two halves: the Southern “ham biscuit”. Another popular way to serve red-eye gravy, especially in parts of Alabama, is with mustard or ketchup mixed in with the gravy. In Louisiana, Cajun cuisine-style gravy is often made with a roast beef instead of ham. Black coffee is always used, and it is often a strongly brewed chicory coffee.


The gravy is ladled over the meat on a bed of rice, staining the rice a dark brown color. Often, French bread and beans are also served as a side, like butter beans, lima beans, or peas. The Mississippi variation uses red wine in the place of coffee.


Red Eye Gravy’s name comes from its distinct appearance. Prepared traditionally, with coffee and grease combined in the last step, a heterogeneous mixture forms with the water-based coffee sinking to the bottom and the oil-based grease forming the top layer. In a round bowl the mixture looks much like a red human eye.

After the ham has been cooked, the grease is drained from the pan and black coffee is added to deglaze the pan.


What makes red-eye gravy so good? Could it be the coffee? With coffee being the main flavoring for this gravy, some have speculated the term red-eye is most likely making reference to one’s condition on the morning after a night of drinking.

In any respect, the old-fashioned, classic form of red-eye gravy is still America’s favorite with ham or grits.


I decided to put a twist on my version of red-eye gravy by adding a cup of BBQ sauce and soda to sweeten to pot or so to speak.


There are so many different recipes for Red-Eye Gravy some call for brown or white sugar. Some recipes suggest using a little vegetable oil to keep the ham from sticking to the pan.


Some recipes suggest that you bring the red-eye gravy to a boil, while others recommend against this. For those who can’t have caffeine you can always use decaffeinated coffee to make your gravy.


So give it a try, and toss your ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on high and in 6-8 hours you will have a flavorful roast that shreds with a fork, just don’t forget the coffee……


And a hearty appetite! 



3-4 pounds chuck steak
3 garlic cloves minced
1 small sweet onion; cut into thin slices
8 oz KC Masterpiece
8 oz Coca-cola
2 cups fresh brewed coffee
Salt & Pepper to season chuck steak



Set slow cooker on high heat for 6-8 hours.

Slice onion in half and then into small slices and put into slow cooker.

Mince garlic and set aside.

Bust out the cast iron skillet and get it screaming hot, then add seasoned chuck steak to hot skillet and sear both sides, each for 3-5 minutes.


Once the chuck steak is seared place into slow cooker.


Add coffee to skillet to deglaze, use a wire whisk to scrape up and bits on the bottom of the skillet and add minced garlic, drop heat to medium and bring to a soft boil.


Add coke and BBQ sauce and mix all liquid thoroughly, then pour over seared meat in slow cooker.

Six to eight hours later you will have a savory fall apart chuck roast with a hint of sweet and the subtle flavor of the south!




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Thai Five Spice Pork Loin ~ Slow Cooker


Thai Five Spice combines the rich, savory spices of Thai cuisine. Thai Five Spice actually derives from China and was to be the base for this rub, but I accidentally grabbed my bottle of Thai Five Spice instead of my bottle of Chinese Five Spice. So rather than dump out an entire bowl of freshly mixed spices, I decided to just run with it and I’ll do something else down the road with Chinese Five Spice.

chinese five spice

Is there really a difference between Thai and Chinese Five Spice?

thai five spice

Yes, there is clearly a difference in the two.

Chinese Five Spice is a traditional blend of the five most popular Chinese spices, used primarily in Chinese cuisine but it is also used in Asian and Arabic cooking. This sweet and pungent spice can be used with fatty meats such as pork, duck or goose, in red cooking recipes, or added to the breading for fried foods.


Five spice is used in recipes for Cantonese roasted duck, as well as beef stew. It’s used as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken.

While there are many variants, the most common mix of Chinese five spice is Star anise, Cloves, Chinese Cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and Fennel seeds. Other recipes may contain anise seed or ginger root, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamom pods, licorice, Sichuan pepper or Mandarin orange peel to name a few.


Although this mixture is used in restaurant cooking, many Chinese households do not use it in day-to-day cooking. In Hawaii, some restaurants place a shaker of the spice on each patron’s table.

The Thai Spice Blend I am using has the following ingredients: sesame seeds, paprika, coriander, garlic, onion, cilantro leaf, basil, red pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, natural shrimp flavor and lemon oil.


I just added a few other ingredients to my rub, gave the pork a good rub down and allowed 12 hours for these spices to soak into the pork, then turned my slow cooker on high, went about my daily routine, then took a nap a few hours later I woke up and Holy Guacamole!


Wow ……


What I made was not only extremely easy to make using a slow cooker, but was so delicious and fork tender, it was gone before I had a chance to prepare a side dish!


G O N E ……….G O N E ……….G O N E ……….


3-4 lbs Pork loin, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 c brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp Thai five spice
1 tsp anise seed
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp Coriander
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves; finely minced
1 large onion; cut into thin slices



In a small or medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.


Using paper towels, pat dry both sides of pork loin.


Cover both sides of pork with dry rub.


Place in a container and allow to marinate over night.

Turn slow cooker on high and cut onion in half and then into long slices. Place  onion slices on bottom of slow cooker, add minced garlic. Add pork to slow cooker and leave undisturbed for six to eight hours.

Turn slow cooker on high and cut onion in half and then into long slices. Place
onion slices on bottom of slow cooker, add minced garlic.
Add pork to slow cooker and leave undisturbed for six to eight hours.






Slow cooked in its own juices with a blend of spice




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Stir Fry Chicken W/Snow Peas

To cook stir fry it is best done by using a wok.


You are cooking your meats and vegetables quickly. All Meats and vegetables should be cut up in bite size portions. When you stir fry, you will need to heat your wok to a high heat, then add a small amount of oil. The fastest method to any cooking is being organized and having all of your ingredients prepped and cut to uniform sizes.




Stir-fry was initially developed in China as a way of cooking that worked well on a simple brick stove. Stir-frying is a quick and fresh way to cook as it suits those with a hectic lifestyle and those who are health-conscious too.




Stir frying is a pair of Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok. The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the two techniques of cooking. These two techniques differ in their speed of execution, the amount of heat used, and the amount of tossing done to cook the food in the wok.

Stir-fries are one of the most popular and recognizable Asian dishes around. The hallmarks of this healthy dish are crisp-tender vegetables and a light coating of savory sauce made from easy-to-find ingredients. First, quickly stir-fry some sweet red bell pepper and snow peas. Next stir-fry the chicken in its marinade, cooking until the chicken is browned and the marinade has thickened. Add the vegetables back to the pan, stir to coat everything in the sauce, and serve this fast, fresh, vegetable-packed meal in about 30 minutes.





1-2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or a mixture of both, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, diced into small pieces
2 Tbsp oyster sauce or Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp dry sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup unsalted cashews
2 stalks of celery cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 stalks of carrots cut into 1/4 inch slices
8 ounces of bean sprouts
8 ounces snow peas
8 ounces of broccoli
1 medium red& green bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium scallions
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp vegetable oil
Steamed white rice, for serving


Place the oyster sauce, sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.


Add the chicken, toss to thoroughly coat with the marinade, and let sit, uncovered and at room temperature, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.




Core and remove the seeds from the pepper and cut it into 1/4-inch slices; set aside.

Rinse and dry the snow peas, and bean sprouts and set them aside.


Finely mince garlic and place it in a large bowl.

Next trim the ends of the scallions, cut them into 1/4-inch pieces, and add to the bowl with the garlic; set aside.




Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over high heat about 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour one teaspoon of the oil around the perimeter of the wok or pan and add the sliced bell pepper. Using a metal spatula or tongs, stir-fry until crisp-tender and charred in spots, about 1 to 2 minutes.



Drizzle another teaspoon of the oil around the perimeter of the wok or pan then add the snow peas. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the large bowl with the garlic and scallions.




Transfer to the large bowl with the peppers, garlic, and scallions.



Transfer to the bowl with the other cooked vegetables.




Drizzle remaining tablespoon of oil around the perimeter of the wok or pan. Add the chicken along with the marinade, and arrange the chicken in an even layer. 




Let it sear undisturbed until golden brown on the bottom, about 1 to 2 minutes, then stir-fry until golden brown all over and cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

Toss cashews into chicken over high heat for one minute.



Add cooked snow peas, and remaining cooked vegetables.


Stir-fry until the marinade has thickened, is glossy, and coats the chicken and vegetables, about 1 to 2 minutes more.


Serve immediately over steamed rice.





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Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas


These Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas are moist and delicious. They get an overnight marinade in Dr. Pepper and then cook in a slow cooker to make them the most moist Carnitas you’ll ever have.



1 2 liter of Dr. Pepper
4-5 lb boneless pork loin roast.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1½ tsp salt
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup orange juice


Trim the fat off and cut pork loin into 3 inch chunks, and place pork in a large bowl or ziploc bag and cover meat with Dr. Pepper. Place covered bowl in the fridge overnight.



Using a large colander and drain the Dr. Pepper.

Using a small bowl mix the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper, and rub half the mixture on the pork and set aside for an hour.
Heat oil in a large skillet heat over med high heat, and sear the pork on all sides for 3 min per side.



Place the onions and bay leaves in the bottom of the slow cooker, then add the seared pork and place in the slow cooker pour ¼ cup of orange juice into the hot skillet that cooked the pork and using a wooden spoon scrape up the flavor bits on the bottom of the pan, then pour into the slow cooker. Add remaining orange juice and 1 cup of Dr Pepper into the slow cooker.



Stir into slow cooker the remaining spice mixture and garlic.


Cook on low for 6-8 hrs, until meat is tender and falling apart. Line a baking sheet with foil and shred the pork over a colendar to drain excess liquid and spread out on sheet tray in a single layer.


Place under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up, flip the meat over and drizzle with ⅔ of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker and place back under the broiler for another 5 min


Remove from oven and drizzle with another ⅔ of the cooking liquid.

Serve your favorite way.




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South Of The Border Taco Soup-Slow Cooker Marvel


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.


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.



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.


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!


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.


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!


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. 



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



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


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


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

Repeat last step with corn.


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


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


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)


12 – 20 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips.


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


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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