all sorts of recipes, from me to you…


Monday, June 20, 2016

Dragon Fruit Colada Cocktail





CHEERS TO SUMMER!



Woo hoo!!!

 It's the first day of summer!

   It's the summer solstice!

It's the longest day 
and shortest night 
of the year! 


And, by the way:  today, the strawberry moon* will happen to coincide with the summer solstice, the first time that has happened since 1967, almost 50 years ago.  The next one won't occur again until 2062!


 ~ Toast to Summer Solstice 
with this great drink ~


It’s a cactus
It’s the exotic dragon fruit
It looks like a beautiful vivid pink flower! 


Pitahaya-producing cacti fruit, known in English as Dragon Fruit, is indigenous to Central America, but is also grown and exported from Israel and several Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.  

Its succulent stem provides the uniquely delicious fruit with moisture in the arid climates where it grows.

Dragon fruit comes in 3 colors ~ 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, like the one I show here, the other red), while another is yellow (looks sort of like a pineapple with spikes), with white flesh.  





The flowers are nocturnal, and bloom in full for just one night.  That means they have one wonderful evening for a bat or moth to help pollinate it and turn it into a dragon fruit, otherwise the 6” spiky greenish white bloom wilts by sunrise.  


The Dragon or Pitahaya Fruit grown in Thailand

The leaves are slightly overlaid, similar to an artichoke on the outside, with a plethora of small, black, edible seeds filling the inside flesh. 

The flavor is mildly sweet ~ reminds me of kiwi, with a sort of crunchy texture.

It definitely is a change of pace in the fruit world, but it does have its benefits:  It’s high in nutrition, fights diabetes, reduces the signs of aging, strengthens your immune system, helps your hair grow, and is rich in fiber and more.  Reducing the signs of aging sold me on it❣

Look for dragon fruit at your local farmer’s market or grocery store to make this soothing little drink.  







It’s refreshing, and light, perfect for a summer cocktail ~ dragon fruit, coconut milk, lime juice, which all blends nicely with white rum!  

It’s a delight!

Dragon Fruit Colada Cocktail

Ingredients:

1½ cups ice cubes
¾ cup peeled cubed dragon fruit
2 tablespoons simple syrup**
4 ounces white rum
¼ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime juice
Lime slices for garnish

Method:

Place ice cubes in blender and crush.
Add remaining ingredients, except lime slices, and purée until combined.
Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish with lime slice.
Makes 4 cocktails

**Simple Syrup:

In small saucepan, bring equal amounts of granulated sugar and water to a boil; simmer, stirring occasionally, until clear and syrupy, about 2 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Printable recipe



Enjoy!



* The strawberry moon is the nickname given to the full moon in the month of June.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs for Dad's Day!






Bill buys his ribs from the local butcher ~ they’re perfectly trimmed and meaty.  




He had the butcher cut a rack of ribs in half and bought another half, making 3-half racks, being more manageable in cooking on the grill.




I know there is a plethora of barbecue sauces at the grocery store, but I’ve yet to find one that rivals making my own from scratch.  It's easy to make, it tastes better, I know exactly what's in it; why buy bottled?




There’s nothing like smoky juicy ribs ~ they smell and taste like summer all the way ~ great for any Dad on Father’s Day!





Let’s grill now! 


Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs

Ingredients:

1½ racks pork ribs
1 cup Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce*

Method:

Preheat gas grill.
Place ribs bone side down in the center of the cooking grate over direct medium low heat, making sure they are not over a direct flame.
Grill until meat is tender and has pulled back from the ends of the rib bones, about 1 hour.
Start basting the ribs 15-20 minutes near the end of cooking time, turning and basting the meat frequently.
Serve

*Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients:

2 cups ketchup
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper

Method: 

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, combine well and slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer until, dark, thick and richly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the sauce to a glass jar and store in refrigerator; it will keep for several months. 
Printable recipe

ENJOY! 





Here's wishing 
my hubby, Bill 
and son, Matt 
a very 
Happy Father's Day!
And the same goes for 
all you dad's out there!








Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sautéed Asparagus w/Mushrooms and Bacon


We bought a couple of bunches of great fresh asparagus at the farmer’s market yesterday, and then I looked around for a new way to prepare; this is how it went:


We loved this dish!  It’s excellent!




The recipe is a slightly adapted Martha Stewart recipe:  After cooking the bacon, I drained all but a teaspoon of the drippings in the skillet, added the asparagus and mushrooms, and then a little water to make sure the asparagus cooked evenly.

Asparagus has a unique taste and does a great job of working with other flavors, such as the Dijon mustard and bacon here.  




This recipe succeeded from start to finish, producing a stir-fry asparagus that was absolutely perfectly cooked, surprising us with an excellent side.

If you’re crazy about asparagus, give this a try!  It’s truly mouthwatering delicious!


Sautéed Asparagus w/Mushrooms and Bacon

Ingredients:

3 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bunches (2 pounds) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 jar (6-ounces) sliced mushrooms*
Coarse salt and seasoned pepper
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoon fresh, chopped

Method:

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned.
Transfer to paper towel to drain, remove all but a teaspoon of bacon grease.
Add asparagus, mushrooms and water to skillet and season with salt and pepper.
Cook until asparagus is tender, about 10  minutes. Do not overcook.
Remove from heat and stir in bacon, mustard and parsley.
Serve

*If using fresh mushrooms, add ¼ cup water only if needed.

Printable recipe


ENJOY!





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Christening Bill's New Grill


Bill is mighty proud of his new grill.  It's 3 connected grills:  one for gas, the second for charcoal and the third is a charcoal smoker.


My Grill-Master Hero!


For extra flavor, you can’t beat a charcoal grill, but sometimes we want quick and easy with the gas grill, and the smoker is a must for Bubba’s summer sausage and smoked salmon.

He's strip steak all the way and I’m filet mignon; although, if we come across a great looking sirloin steak at the butcher shop, it’s a go.



Lots of garlic for me!
Yum!


Bill has no grilling secrets; just those many years of watching my dad grill taught him to pay attention and don’t overcook the meat.

It’s pretty straightforward and pretty much my favorite meal:  a grilled steak with a green salad, sautéed mushrooms and the veggie du jour.



Scrumptious!



Shake a little salt on the meat before grilling, and a heavy sprinkling of garlic powder for me.  

Another thing my dad told Bill ~ no steak sauce, ever!


ENJOY!





Thursday, May 26, 2016

Classic Strawberry Shortcake for Memorial Day


Three years after the Civil War ended, on March 5, 1868, John A. Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.  

He declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30.  It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.  


This poster from 1917 shows the name change and honors the memory of the dead from the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War.


Known commonly now as Memorial Day, it’s the day for us to reflect, honor and acknowledge those who gave their selfless service and the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  

It’s also a time to remember our present veterans and those in service now.  To them all, we owe an unplayable debt. Here’s Bill, my favorite veteran, my husband:



Home from Basic Training, 1965,  Private



 
Bamberg, Germany, early 1967, Sergeant




















Machine Gun Instructor
1st Engineer Training Brigade
Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo 
Fall 1967
Sergeant E5  











Here’s a little Memorial Day Trivia for you:


*  Red poppies are known as a symbol of remembrance, and it’s a tradition to wear them to honor those who died in war.

*  President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act on Dec. 28, 2000, designating 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a National Moment of Remembrance.  Television and radio stations play the “Taps” to give Americans pause during their busy Memorial Day.

*  The crowd that attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was about the same size as those that attend today’s observance:  about 5,000 people.

*  It has been often reported that “Taps,” the most famous bugle song came from a Civil War captain who discovered his long lost son in a field of Confederate bodies, but this is nothing more than an urban legend.  In fact, the bugle song comes from Union Brig. Get Daniel Butterfield during the Civil War.  He didn’t care for the “customary firing of three rifle volleys at the conclusion of burials during battle” and wanted a softer and more somber bugle song to honor his fallen soldiers. 

*  More than 150 years later, the Civil War remains the United States’ deadliest conflict.  More than 620,000 people died during the war.  Many of the casualties occurred as a result of disease, rather than as a direct result of injuries.  The second deadliest conflict was World War II, in which more than 400,000 American soldiers lost their lives.

*  Memorial Day is now the second-most popular holiday (after the Fourth of July) for a sun-baked barbecue:    53% of people grill on the holiday, according to Hearth, Patio and & Barbecue Association.

*  And, to wrap it upThe National Hot Dog and Sausage Council notes that on Memorial Day, Americans will consume a stomach-busting 818 dawgs per secondThat’s just a few wieners short of 71 million in a day. They’re not sure how many packages that equals, but they’re betting the equivalent number of bun packs would fall short by, oh, 1.3 million or so.






Memorial weekend also ushers in summer.  
Woo hoo!
My favorite time of year!






It’s also the beginning of strawberry season.  And what better way to give a nod to it than classic strawberry shortcake!  




Here you won’t find any of those little sponge discs that look like sofa casters that you see displayed by the strawberries at the grocery store.  I always pass on them as they taste like I suppose foam rubber would. 

This is all about serving the juicy strawberries over rich, flaky buttery homemade biscuits made with cream and a touch of sugar, topping it all off with whipped cream, of course!


Classic Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

1½ pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced, tossed with 2-4 tablespoons sugar; set aside.

For the shortcake:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ cups heavy cream 
Whipped Cream, recipe follows

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar and salt.
Add cream, mix until just combined.
Place mixture in an ungreased 8-inch pan.
Bake until golden, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, while shortcake is baking, place a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer.
When shortcake is baked, remove from pan and place to a rack to cool slightly.
Cut into 6 pieces and split shortcake in half horizontally.
Beat all whipped cream ingredients in the metal bowl with chilled beaters about 1½ to 2 minutes, until peaks form.
Spoon some strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom.
Top with a spoonful of whipped cream and the shortcake top.
Place a couple of strawberries over all and an additional dollop of whipped cream for garnish.

For the Whipped Cream 

1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Makes 6 servings
Printable recipe


ENJOY! 



Here’s to Memorial Day
summer
and
strawberry shortcake!












Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Easy Smoked Turkey Sausage Skillet

 

 

Here’s a tasty quick little dish 
for your busy day!




This is a slightly adapted Hillshire Farm’s recipeUsing smoked turkey sausage, cuts fat and calories; substitute the regular if that’s what you prefer. 

Stir-fry the meat in a little chicken broth and water, then added a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

Bill suggested it would do well with the sausage mixture served over a bed of rice, instead of combining it all in the skillet ~ I’ll do that the next time!  Most likely, the appeal of it would improve also.

My brain was on vacation when I served it though; I noticed the mozzarella sitting in the refrigerator after dinner.  It would've been great to have the cheese scattered over it…


SMOKED TURKEY SAUSAGE SKILLET

Ingredients:

1 package smoked turkey sausage, sliced thin diagonally
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, large chop
1 white onion, chopped
1 package frozen broccoli, thawed
1 can (14.5) ounces, diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups instant rice
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

Method:

In a non-stick skillet, place sausage slices and cook until browned, transfer to a plate.
Heat oil in skillet.
Add pepper, onion, broccoli, and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is absorbed.
In the meantime, prepare rice according to package instructions.
Stir sausage and rice into the skillet, combine well.
Sprinkle with cheese!
Serve

ENJOY!







Thursday, May 5, 2016

Death by Chocolate Trifle for Mother's Day!



Delight your mom’s 
(and everyone else’s) 
sweet tooth 
this Mother’s Day!







Who can resist the lure of chocolate?  I don’t know what it is ~ there’s something about chocolate that gets us going.

I would say this dessert is one of the most decadent desserts ever, both sinfully rich and sinfully delicious!

Brownies add some chewiness, while Kahlúa and the whipped topping make it creamy smooth.  For a fine finish, top it off with a delectable toffee crunch!

You try this and I guarantee you that it is so delicious there will not be any leftovers…

This is a chocoholic’s dream!  It’s wickedly delicious! 


Death by Chocolate Trifle

Ingredients:

1 family-size fudge brownie mix
½ cup Kahlúa or coffee liqueur
2 (4.2 ounce) boxes Dr. Oetker Double Chocolate Mousse Supreme
8 (1.4 ounce) Skor or Heath candy bars
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Method:

Preheat oven and bake brownies according to package directions.
Allow to cool completely.
Using a fork, prick holes in the top of the brownies.
Drizzle with Kahlúa.  Set aside.
Make chocolate mousse according to package directions.
Break Skor candy bars into small pieces by tapping on them with a hammer while in the wrapper.
Crumble half of the soaked brownies and place in the bottom of a trifle bowl or large glass dish.
Cover with half the mousse.
Layer with ⅓ of the candy.
Spread half of the whipped topping over the layers.
Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients.
Garnish with remaining ⅓ candy bits.
Makes 24 servings

Enjoy!

 




Here’s wishing all of you moms ~
Happy Mother’s Day
full of  
happiness, love and relaxation
doing what you like to do best
because it’s
YOUR day!
ENJOY!!!