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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mid-Week Moment #55

" Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes." Carl Freiderich Gauss

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Oh Wildtree!

It is a movement. Wildtree helps families all over the country eat better,think more clearly about their food and even I dare say showed me how to be more mindful of not only the food I eat but the products I use every single day.

          Lofty statement yes but so true.

    Wildtree was founded by a fantastic lady named Leslie Montie. Way back in 1996 ( ok not that way back,really it was only a few years ago) Leslie was a full-time working mom who was a having a HECK of a time feeding her children who both had dietary restrictions. She began to create spice mixes,all-spice mixes that were not only safe for her children to eat but also DELICIOUS! Her parents were right there with helping manufacture these mixes and all involved were overwhelmed at the response from customers.She chose to leave her full-time job and then wisely decided to go at this all-natural spice mixture business full time.


       Soooooo years later she,with the help of phenomenal family,friends,staff members and thousands of Wildtree reps across the country,has made  "...mealtime an enjoyable and effortless experience,dietary restrictions or not!" Leslie is pretty great. Her vision and desire to feed her family good food that was good for them is really what everyone wants.

Wildtree is high-quality food that taste even better. I became a representative for Wildtree almost two years ago and I haven't looked back. The food that I've enjoyed has taught me that food can be simple,easy and delicious. It doesn't take a lot of fuss to make a good dinner that's good for you.

    My 2nd favorite ( 1st being the Rancher Steak rub-more to come on that jar full of goodness later) is the freezer meal workshops offered by this genius company. You follow all of the steps in the diagram pictured on the left and BAM! dinner is prepped and ready to be enjoyed by all.


        So that's a very brief overview of Wildtree and a few of the amazing things it has to offer. I will have more details in the next few weeks,until then I leave you with a phrase that goes through my mind at least once a day " Simple. Healthy. Natural."


Monday, February 9, 2015

#ohthisisgonnabegood-Sausage Balls

Along,long time ago on a Christmas morning a family member who shall remain unnamed,got a good chuckle from the fact that the only way I knew how to make biscuits was from a mix.  I thought a pretty great mix,but nobody was asking me. Any-ways. 

So since then I have learned how to make some dang fine from-scratch,flaky biscuits . I love from-scratch biscuits,good heavens a scrambled egg and a piece of cheese makes a fine breakfast sandwich that will surely get you to lunch without that mid-morning snack. Ooooh fine. I mean slather some melted butter and honey on those flaky layers and YOU. ARE. DONE. Call it quits,it's gonna take you under.
     But I digress,oh yes biscuit mix.
      Bisquick has been around forever and is a trusted name in baking mixes. In fact I used it this morning to make some waffles and loved every bite. Bisquick has a variety of uses,they even make cookbooks dedicated to it's various uses: coating on oven-fried chicken,topping for a delicious cobbler and the reason I'm typing to you today a binder in a fine sausage ball.
 South Your Mouth is a new blog I have stumbled upon recently. I think I like it and if the rest of the recipes are as good as these sausage balls...oh it will be a wonderful blog to share from!

Sausage Balls
adapted from South Your Mouth
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
2lbs breakfast sausage ( I used 1lb mid and 1lb hot.)
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese,shredded
4 green onions finely chopped
salt and pepper
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. You will do the best job mixing with your hands, I haven't met a spatula that could handle this mix .
2.Using a cookie scoop or two spoons,scoop out a 2 TBL size glob,roll into a ball and put on a foil-lined and greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. 
3.Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes,rotating baking sheet halfway during cooking.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Ooooh la la. Sausage balls for a MOPS meeting tmrw and next up to make chocolate granola muffins!  You need to know about both of these!


Sausage balls for a MOPS meeting tmrw.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

#ohthisisgonnabegood- Slow-Cooker Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup

Confession time: I might have been a tiny bit jealous of the folks up in the northeast.
 I want to play in the snow. I don't necessarily want snow up to the front door or freeze my behind off shoveling snow,but I want some snow.

   See I live in the south,Mississippi to be exact. I have lived in the south all of my life and when we get snow it's a massive buy-all-the-milk-and-bread type frenzy. We pack it in like the snow is staying for two weeks when really it'll melt 12 hours later and just be really clod for a few days.

   So there you have it,I'd like some snow this winter.The cold weather still makes appearances every few weeks so I do have that going for me. This past weekend while I was working through my need-for-snow feelings,I decided we needed some cozy food on the menu for the upcoming week. Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chicken Noodle Soup were the two recipes that screamed or more like a subtle whisper cozy to me.

      I made up some cookie dough to rest in the fridge and bake the next day. The chicken soup was up next on my to-make list. I had been eyeing a certain recipe for the past few weeks. It was from a reliable source ,the folks at America's Test Kitchen. They are some fairly thourough cooks so I knew it would be good. I also new there would a extra work invovled but the end product would be wonderful.
And it was.

Slow-Cooker Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from this awesome cookbook
 written by America's Test Kitchen
4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 TBL evoo
3 carrots,peeled and chopped medium
2 celery ribs,chopped medium
1 onion,finely ,chopped
3 garlic cloves,mined
1 TBL tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried dill
pinch of red pepper flakes,optional
8 cups chicken stock, divided
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup wide egg noodles
1.Pat chicken breasts dry  and season with salt and pepper. Heat the evoo in a large skillet and brown the chicken 2-3 minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate to rest and cover loosely with foil.
2. IN THE SAME SKILLET- over medium heat soften the carrot,celery and onion for 5 minutes then add in the garlic,cook for 1 minute longer.
3.Add in the tomato paste,thyme,dill and red pepper flakes,stir into the vegetables to dissolve the tomato paste. Pour 1 cup of the chicken stock into the skillet,scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan; transfer skillet contents to a slow-cooker.
4. Transfer the chicken breasts and accumulated juices on the plate into the slow-cooker onto the vegetables.Add in the 2 bay leaves and remaining chicken stock. ( Add the chicken stock slowly to the slow cooker.You MAY NOT use ALL of the chicken stock leftover. 7 cups is the maximum to use.)
5.Set the slow cooker to cook 4-6 hours on low. WHILE THE SOUP is cooking prepare your egg noodles according to package directions. ( Here is a good time to use up some of the chicken stock that didn't fit in the slow-cooker.Add it to your pasta water when you are filling your pot with water.This step will add so much more flavor to your noodles.)
6. When the soup is finished,take out the chicken and let it cool. Shred with two forks.Now add the shredded chicken back into the slow-cooker along with the frozen peas and cooked noodles. Let it rest for 5 minutes until heated through. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mid-Week Moment #54

  "Time has a way of demonstrating that the most stubborn are the most intelligent." -YY

Monday, January 26, 2015


Hooray for a rich, savory slow-cooker chicken noodle soup recipe!  The recipe will be up on the blog tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cold Greens Salad,Greek-Style

  I get a little giddy-up in my step when the colder months arrive in the South. Here in Mississippi we don't have a super cold winter or crazy winter weather every few weeks,so I have to live it up as long as I can. I have two good ol' trusty dutch ovens that get a workout for sure from November to a few weeks after Valentine's Day. Soups,stews and chili are always one the wekly menu but also an annual classic that is whipped up in the colder months: various types of stock.

       Chicken stock,beef stock and vegetable stock are a must. Over the years I have minimized my steps and stepped up my ingredients. One of my most favorite people on the planet Julia Child always made a point to remind the at-home cook to keep leftover vegetable scraps handy for stock recipes. The homemade stocks always taste better because not only is there so much love put into it,it's real food made by YOU.

    Kale makes a fine,fresh change of pace on a weeknight salad. Kale stems make fine vegetable stock additions to be used soon,very soon. We got a CSA share this past fall that included some beautiful cruciferous vegetables. I have been kicking myself for not remembering what my pal Julia said keeping vegetable scraps.
Soooo better late than never AND my weeknight kale salad also was my addition to the January Potluck over at I Heart Cooking Clubs . Mark Bittman is one of my favorites. Soooo is  Ina Garten. The opportunity to combine two recipes from two of my favorites cooks was too good to pass up. The theme as always for each month's potluck is to make a recipe from and write about it,one of our past featured chefs or our current featured chef,Diana Henry.

    The main course for this past Wednesday evening's dinner was slow-cooker lemon garlic chicken and we needed a lighter,fresh side that was a tiny bit on the healthy-er side. I am in love with greens these days, so kale it was. I grabbed my trusty,beat-up,dog-eared-pages copy of Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. Flipped over to the index,search  and think-search and think-...

Mr. Bittman's recipe for Cold Cooked Greens,Greek Style hollered my name,but OF COURSE I can't leave well enough alone.I'm a cook,avid cooker and sometimes thinker. I can't help myself. So after a review of my produce drawer ingredients,scan for vinaigrette ingredients and a little recall of technique from a good friend ( AND health and wellness coach!!!! ), I was off to make a delicious healthy-er side dish.
( On a side note my 2 1/2 year old LOVED this salad. #mayneverhappenagain SCORE!)
Cold Greens Salad,Greek-Style
Adapted from Mark Bittman
1-2 lbs dark leafy greens,such as collards,
kale or mustard greens
juice of half a lemon
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 c pitted and chopped kalamatta olives
4 -ounce container crumbled feta
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp minced,fresh garlic
3 TBL champagne vinegar
(I've used white wine and balsamic vinegar
  in place of champagne.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c good olive oil
For the SALAD- Remove the stems,chop the greens into strips and wash the greens well. ( Here comes the genius tip) Put washed,chopped greens in a large bowl. Toss gently with the lemon juice ans kosher salt. Now massage the kale and watch that big pile reduce down to a manageable pile of greens. Add the kalamatta olives and feta. 
In a medium size bowl,whisk together the first four ingredients.Next while whisking continuously,stream in the olive oil. This step will emulsify the dressing and make it taste so good!  OR add all of the dressing ingredients in a pint mason jar and shake the life out of it. DONE!
NOW Toss salad ingredietnts with your fancy dressing and enjoy a salad that gets better with a few days age. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tomato and Smoked Paprika Butter,Swoon

I tell you what boy was I wrong.
         My smaller food processor has made me proud on mini ! HA get it! occasions and saving me a little extra effort. The bigger food processor does a fine job but for smaller jobs I like to use my smaller one. Thing is there are still dishes to do regardless! No escaping them,but maybe just a little less ground to cover...I'll go with that.

    So thinking I could chop up sun-dried tomatoes,I went on making one of Diana Henry's flavored butters. She has a ton of flavored butters in her Pure Simple Cooking cookbook, for example (take a seat the list is long.)
 Herb Butter                                Basil and Tomato Butter
Juniper and Thyme Butter      Chile and Cilantro Butter
Shrimp Butter 
Mint and Cider Butter
Dill Butter 
Martini Butter  
Roquefort Butter 
Tomato and Smoked Paprika Butter
Black Olive and Anchovy Butter

Really such a selection to fit all kinds of menus and how many more excuses do you need to eat more bread?!? The choices were plentiful and the flavors were all over the place.

I had to choose.

  I chose wisely. The flavors in the Tomato and Smoked Paprika would accompany nicely most of our meals in some way. The sun-dried tomatoes are so rich and bright at the same time. The tomato smells that wafted from just chopping them up with a knife were beautiful.

Yes you read that right: 1. Tomatoes can smell beautiful and 2. I just used a good ol' knife to chop the tomatoes. The min-food processor laughed at me.  One of my stand-by spices is smoked paprika. It add so much depth while using so little and the color is perfect.

    So while my guard dinosaurs watched ( benefits of a toddler sous chef) I chopped the tomatoes up as best I could,minced some garlic and put the tomatoes,garlic and the rest of the rest of the ingredients in the stand-up mixer. The paddle attachment did the job of mixing up all the tomato/smoked paprika goodness beautifully. The results were a glob of Kerrygold Butter covered in the most amazing smells and wound with rich flavors I can't wait to use.

I think first up with be a rubbing the butter under the skin of a whole chicken and roasting that joker in the oven. Oh the smells to come are just so exciting!

Tomato and Smoked Paprika Butter
adapted from Diana Henry
6 TBL unsalted butter,softened
2 TBL coarsely-chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 garlic clove,minced
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper
1.Combine all ingredients in a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Wrap in plastic wrap then aluminum foil and freeze until ready to use.


Monday, January 12, 2015

#ohthisisgonnabegood -Braised Mixed Greens with Tomatoes and White Beans

     Hold on to your seats,not only have I figured out hash tags ( shocker) I have also figured out how to use the Blogger app on my phone!

      The Blogger app helps in so many ways,namely if I'm out and about or even in my own kitchen and don't have time to sit down to write a blog post,I can still snap a picture of whatever deliciousness and share it with you. I. Am. Thrilled. 

  My second post while utilizing this technological breakthrough is an adaptation on a braised collard greens from my pal Martha Stewart. I had a hankering for a bowl of rich,comforting greens. We got a CSA share from the awesome folks over at Native Son Farm this past fall and the best greens were included each week. What a treat it was! The CSA program has taken a break for the winter but my need for greens was still there. I found a bag of mixed greens and went to work on my hankerin' .

   The original recipe called for a ham bone,but since I recently used the ham bone I had frozen on New Year's Day this year I was at a loss. HOLD UP! #ohthisisgonnabegood I found a package of diced prosciutto in the freezer,PERFECT! It added so much flavor to the greens,thank goodness for back-ups.

Braised Mixed Greens with Tomatoes and White Beans
adapted from my pal Martha Stewart

2 TBL evoo
2 TBL unsalted butter
(and if you are feeling extra cozy add in a little bacon fat too.)
1 medium onion,diced
3 garlic cloves,smashed and peeled
2 1/2 lbs mixed greens,stems removed and discarded,chopped into 2-in pieces (mixed greens examples-kale,collards,mustard greens)
coarse salt and pepper,to taste
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes,juice included
2 TBL tomato paste
2 c water
1 smoked ham hock ( or 1/2 c diced prosciutto)
2 cans white beans,rinsed and drained
1. In a large Dutch oven over high heat the evoo and butter. Add in the onion and garlic,sweat for 3-4 minutes. Brown the ham hock a little on all sides. Add in the tomatoes,tomato paste and water,stir to dissolve the tomato paste.
2.Add in the mixed greens,toss to wilt and let cook for 2 minutes.Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
3. Remove the ham hock,pull meat off the bone then return the meat and the beans to the pot.Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Oh This Is Good

Sooooo one if my favorite hash tags on my Instagram account is #ohthisisgonnabegood.  I love it and have to hold back, get a little more clever on food picture posts. Sooooo here on I m going to use it too! Ha, holding back.  Smh.

First post that's #ohthisisgonnabegood worthy: Braised mixed greens in tomatoes with white beans and prosciutto.  Recipe to follow next week for now we eatin' dinner.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Yes please.

Remember these biscuits from a few days ago?

Yes THOSE biscuits with their melty,flaky cheese-ness and the piece of blue cheese just waving at you?
Yep THOSE biscuits.

    We (being my family not just me) shared a towel-lined bowl of these biscuits alongside a bowl of Cabin Chili on New Year's Eve. It was such a pair I tell ya,warm bowl of just-enough-spice chili and flaky cheese biscuits. Delicious. The recipes are both fairly easy. As you can see I've made it one time before this past New Year's Eve,still in the colder months of the year and it was just as good this time as the first.

  I had an idea in the shower this morning. The chili would also work well in a slow-cooker. It calls for pretty similar ingredients to other chili recipes and the prep is hardly much work at all. Perfect busy winter's night dinner if you ask me. OH! and really you could do most of the prep the night before if you had a little extra time.
 I'll explain: Brown the ground beef ,onion, and garlic together. Let it drain on a paper-towel lined plate and cool down for just a few minutes. Put the meat/onion mixture in a bowl then in the fridge overnight. In the morning put the meat/onion mixture inthe slow-cooker along with the other ingredients.Turn that joker on then go about your day. Ok recipe time,two good ones headed your way so take notes.

    Oh ! Oh! Oh! One more thing,both recipes came from the book on top of this stack . It has become my go-to book for a number of soups and (wait for it...) stews. It aslo contains some fine,fine recipes for garnishes to serve on top of your soup or stew and breads to serve along side of it. Now on to the recipes.

Biscuits first.

Flaky Cheese Biscuits
adapted from The Big Book of Soups and Stews
written by Maryana Vollstedt

2 C all-purpose flour
1 TBL baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/3 C shortening
3/4 C milk
1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese,shredded
1/4 C blue cheese,crumbled
1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees.In a bowl,combine dry ingredients. With a 2 forks,a pastry blender or in the bowl of a food processor ,cut shortening into dry ingredients until crumbs form.Add milk all at once. add cheese and stir with a fork just until dough leaves sides of the bowl and dough forms.
2.On a lightly floured surface,knead and fold dough 10-12 times.Gently pat out dough into a 1/2 in ch thick disc.Cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter.
3.Place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.

Ok onto a big ol' batch of chili.

Cabin Chili
adapted from again a fantastic book
The Big Book of Soups and Stews
written by Maryana Vollstedt

1 lb ground beef
1 lb breakfast sausage
1 medium yellow onion,finely chopped
2 cloves garlic,minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
3 cans of kidney,black,navy or pinto beans
  drained and rinsed
1 tsp salt
1 TBL chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1.In a large pot over medium-high heat sweat the onion for 3-4 minutes.Add the minced garlic,let cook 30 seconds longer until you smell it.Add the ground beef and breakfast sausage.Break apart with back of spoon,folding together.Cook until the meat is no longer pink,about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining ingredients.Simmer for 20-30 minutes.Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with toppings.

*** Slow-Cooker Version*** Follow through Step 1. of the directions. Drain the meat on a paper-towel lined plate. If you are doing this the night before,put meat/onion mixture in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge until next day when needed You could also combine remaing ingredients in a bowl,store them in the fridge and  have those ready to pour into the slow cooker as well. When ready to cook put the meat and remain ingredients in the slow-cooker. Cook 6-8 hours on low. ENJOY!