Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas fron The PICs

Have a safe & Merry Christmas
The PICs

To all my Wonderful Cubs with lots of love and happy Christmas wishes
Hugs and kisses
Aunt Jeannie

Monday, December 22, 2014

Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken with Coleslaw

Makes 4 servings (serving size :1 chicken breast halve- 3/4 cup coleslaw)

4                cups packaged cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw
3                tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
1-1/2         teaspoons sugar
1/2            teaspoon celery seeds
1-1/2         teaspoons cider vinegar
1/8            teaspoon salt

1             cup low-fat buttermilk
4            (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
1/3         cup all-purpose flour
1/3         cup cracker meal
1/2         teaspoon salt
1/2         teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2            tablespoons butter

1.       To prepare coleslaw, combine first 6 ingredients; toss to coat. Cover and chill.
2.       Preheat oven to 425°.
3.       To prepare chicken, combine buttermilk and chicken in a shallow dish, turning to coat.
4.       Combine flour and cracker meal in a shallow dish. Transfer chicken from buttermilk to a work surface. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Working with one chicken breast half at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess; set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and flour mixture.
5.       Melt butter in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan, meat side down; cook 4 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken over, and bake at 425° for 32 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°.

Cracker meal gives the coating more crunch; look for it on the baking aisle of your supermarket. If you can't find cracker meal, make your own by pulsing 10 saltine crackers in a food processor until they're finely ground. Or place them in a zip-top plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

Heart Healthy

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Braised Short Ribs

                             Prep : 35 minutes Cook : 3 hours

2-1/4          cups dry red wine, divided
2-1/4          cups beef broth, divided
2                garlic cloves, chopped
1                teaspoon ground allspice
1/2             teaspoon ground ginger
4                pounds beef short ribs, trimmed and cut in half 1 teaspoon salt
1              teaspoon pepper
1/2           cup all-purpose flour
3              tablespoons olive oil
1              carrot, chopped
1/2           onion, chopped
1              celery rib, chopped
2              tablespoons tomato paste
**Roasted red potatoes**
**Garnish: chopped fresh parsley**

1 .       Combine 1/4 cup wine, 1/4 cup broth, garlic, allspice, and ginger in a shallow dish; add ribs, turning to coat. Cover and chill ribs for 4 to 6 hours, turning occasionally.
2 .       Remove ribs from marinade, reserving marinade. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper; dredge in flour.
3 .       Cook ribs, in batches, in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 15 minutes or until browned. Remove ribs, and set aside.
4 .       Reduce heat to medium; add carrot, onion, and celery, and sauté 7 minutes or until browned. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes.
5 .      Return ribs to pan. Stir in reserved marinade and remaining 2 cups wine and 2 cups broth; bring mixture to a boil, and tightly cover.
6 .     Bake at 300° for 3 hours. Remove ribs.
7 .     Skim fat from sauce and discard; simmer sauce for 12 to 15 minutes or until reduced by half. Serve with ribs over roasted potatoes. Garnish, if desired.

These braised beef short ribs get their incredible flavor from a flavorful, spiced wine marinade. The marinade reduces to a savory sauce that's perfect drizzled over a side of roasted potatoes.

Heart Healthy

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Food for Thought :December is Eggnog Month.

Homemade eggnog is a tradition for many families during the holiday season.
Eggnog is technically a stirred custard that is a mixture of dairy and eggs. Its ingredients are almost identical to ice cream, although the alcohol content keeps it from freezing.
However, precautions must be taken to avoid foodborne illness related to Salmonella, which is usually caused by raw or undercooked eggs. This is especially important if you are serving people who are at high risk for foodborne illness such as young children, older adults, those with weakened immune systems as well as children and pregnant women, for non-alcoholic versions.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy eggnog this season:

1 .  Use a cooked egg base for eggnog by combining the eggs and half of the milk in your recipe. Gently cook, stirring constantly, the mixture to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Chill this mixture before adding the rest of the ingredients.

2 .  Adding alcohol to the recipe does not make the eggnog safe. If contaminated, unpasteurized eggs are used in the eggnog, you cannot count on the alcohol to kill the bacteria, as it is not likely to happen.

3 .  If using egg substitutes, some experimentation with the recipe may be needed to figure out the right amount to add for the best flavor.
 Homemade  Eggnog
                     Makes 12  cups                        Servings: 12
Ingredients :
12                     eggs
1 to 2-1/2         cups sugar (depending on your tastes, start out with 1 cup because you can add more later if you want to)
4                      cups milk
4                      cups whipping cream or 2 cups half-and-half
2-1/2               teaspoons vanilla extract
1                      teaspoon ground cinnamon
1                      teaspoon ground nutmeg (also depending on your tastes and more can be added later if you want to)
1 .      Use a saucepan or stock pot large enough to hold 4 quarts.
2.       In saucepan, beat together the eggs and sugar until smooth.
3 .      Stir in 4 cups milk.
4 .      Cook over medium low heat, whisking or stirring frequently because as this mixture begins to get hot it will easily scorch to the bottom of the pan if you aren't careful.
5 .      Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches 160° on a food thermometer.
6 .      Remove from heat.
7 .      Slowly add the 4 cups whipping cream or half& half while whisking together until smooth.
8 .      Add vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and combine until incorporated.
9 .      At this point, you may taste test (carefully- it will still be very hot) and if it doesn't seem sweet enough for your taste, add extra sugar.
10 .    Daughter use a total of 3/4 cup sugar because we like it sweet.
11 .    You may also add more nutmeg at this point if you like a strong nutmeg flavor.
12 .    Pour into a pitcher or container.
13 .    Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled- several hours or overnight.
14 .    Serve garnished with your choice of toppings: whipped cream, chocolate curls, maraschino cherries, cinnamon sticks or peppermint sticks.
15 .    Brandy, rum, whiskey or flavored liqueur's may be added before serving if desired.
You  can double  this  recipe  if  needed .

Words of  Wisdom :

A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

It's true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you'll find you've created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live. (Laughing  my  butt off)

A proud Grand-poppa

Sunday, December 14, 2014



Friday, December 12, 2014

Aunt Jeannie

Cute  am  I not  and adorable ? Right  now  I am in seventh  heaven , won't  you come and  join  me .

Jonny  ,  Sha  ,  Jenny  , Man Carano

Chris ,  Sheryl ,  Bubba  Landrieu

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Food for Thought : December is National Pear Month.

Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Varieties of pears such as Anjoe, Bartlett, Bosc and Forelly vary only slightly in flavor and texture and are, for the most part, available year round.

Washington, Oregon and California produce almost all of the pears grown in the United States. Pears pack plenty of nutritious goodness. A medium size pear has only about 100 calories, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy pears this season:

1 .  Substitute pears for apples in any recipe. Add a little orange or lemon juice to prevent fresh pears from browning. Pears are great in spinach salads or on a turkey sandwich.

2 .  Choose pears with no bruises or dark brown spots. Make sure to rinse the pear under cold running water before eating.
•The skin of a pear is packed with nutrients, so don’t peel a pear before eating. However, do not eat the seeds.

3 .  Pears ripen from the inside out. To check the ripeness of a pear, simple press near the stem with your thumb. If it gives to gentle pressure, then it is ripe and ready to eat. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle, it will be too ripe. Pears ripen at room temperature, so leaving them out on the table or on the counter top is the best place for them.

Words of Wisdom : 

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.

A proud  Grand-poppa

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Brie , Parma Ham Crostini & Asparagus

Preparation time: 25 minutes                Servings: 12

They almost look too good to eat, until you taste one and your better judgment gets the best of you. These appetizers are simple to make, but the delicate asparagus spears and distinct flavors of prosciutto and brie tell your guests a story of a detail-obsessed host. 
I want to share with you one of the treats for guests dropping  in during  the  holiday season  and  they will think  you spent  all day preparing   these   little  delicious  appetizers.

12          fresh asparagus spears 
2           tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1/8        teaspoon  salt 
1/8        teaspoon pepper 
12         slices French bread baguette (1/2 in. thick) 
3           thin slices prosciutto (Parma ham) or deli ham, cut into thin strips 
6           ounces  Brie cheese, cut into 12 slices 

Cooking Directions:
1 .        Cut asparagus tips into 2-inch lengths. (Discard stalks or save for another use.) Place asparagus tips in a 15x10x1-inch x 1-inch baking pan lined with foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp-tender. 
2 .        Brush baguette slices on both sides with remaining oil. Place on a baking sheet. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until toasted.
3 .       Top each slice with asparagus, prosciutto and cheese. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Heart  healthy

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Friday, December 5, 2014

Aunt Jeannie

If wishes were  flowers  , we would send  to you a big  bunch to say ....

"Get Well Soon"

Jonny  , Sha , Jenny ,  Man  Carano
Chris , Sheryl , Bubba  Landrieu

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Food for Thought : Packed Your Lunch Lately

 Have you packed your lunch lately? Taking your lunch can not only be a healthful alternative to eating out, it can also be much more economical. Often times, we slack on bringing our lunch to work because we get bored with the same things. Take a little extra time this week and plan your meals for next week, including your lunch, you will be glad you did. Here are a few tips to help you add some new twists to your wintertime sack lunch:

1 . Baked potatoes are great options for creativity and versatility. You can have them plain, with basic toppings such as yogurt, chili and cheese or even broccoli and baked chicken.

2 .Soups make a great quick-heat lunch. However, if you make a large pot of soup, you may become bored and tired of the flavor before you reach the end of the pot. Go ahead and freeze portion-size servings. This way, you can enjoy your healthful soup a few weeks from today without any extra effort.

3 .Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season to add variety to your lunch. Fall and winter fruits such as pomegranate, apples and pears make great additions to salads. Sweet potatoes and greens also make a bland lunch colorful and appealing.

4 . Make sure you follow food safety precautions when packing your lunch. Just because it is cold outside, doesn’t meant you don’t need your ice pack or cold source.
                               Homemade  Vegetable  Soup
2           tablespoons olive oil 
1           chicken (3 pounds) boned, skinned, and visible fat removed, diced, (save the bones and carcass) 
Creole seasoning, (recipe below)
1-1/2     cups chopped onions 
1           cup chopped celery 
1           cup diced carrots 
1/2        cup chopped green onions 
2           tablespoons minced garlic 
1/4        cup fresh parsley leaves  
2           tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
4           bay leaves  
2           cups assorted chopped fresh vegetables, such has beans, zucchini yellow squash  or cabbage, small dice 
1-1/2     cups torn spinach leaves, cleaned and stemmed 
                    Pinch crushed red pepper  
3          quarts chicken stock  
1          pound assorted small dried pasta shapes, such as stars, tubes, shells, etc. 
12        small thermoses 
1          cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves 
12        small resealable plastic snack bags

ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast): 
2-1/2    tablespoons paproka 
2          tablespoons salt 
2          tablespoons garlic powder 
1          tablespoon black pepper 
1          tablespoon onion powder 
1          tablespoon cayenne pepper 
1          tablespoon dried oregano 
1          tablespoon dried thyme
In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil. Season the chicken with Creole seasoning. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, bones, and carcass and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the meat and bones are brown. Remove the bones and carcass. Add the onions, celery, carrots, green onions, garlic, parsley, basil, and bay leaves. Season with Creole seasoning. Saute the vegetables for 4 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables, spinach and crushed red pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Reseason if necessary. Serve hot. Ladle the soup into thermoses and seal tightly with the lid. Place a spoonful of the parsley into each bag and seal completely.

ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast): 
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Words of  Wisdom:
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we're all teachers - if we're willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.

Work hard for what you want because it won't come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

A Proud  Grand-poppa 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Chicken 'N' Biscuts in a Pot

Prep / total Time : 1 hour 15 minute ... Make 6 servings

The chopped fresh herbs in the biscuits that top this comforting chicken stew add another layer of flavor to the dish

6 ..................tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ..................shallots , thinly sliced
1/2 ...............pounds shiitake mushrooms , stemmed and thinly sliced
1 ..................large carrot , cut into 1/3-inch chunks
1/2 ...............cup dry white wine
1-1/4 ............cups plus 1 tablespoon self-rising flour
2-1/2 ............cups low-sodium chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper
3 ...................cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 ................cup frozen baby peas
1 ...................tablespoon chopped sage
1 ...................tablespoon chopped thyme
1/2 ................cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 425*F. In a large dutch oven or enameled cast-iron casserole , melt 2 tablespoons of the butter . Add the shallots , mushrooms and carrots chunks and cook over moderate heat , stirring until the shallots and mushrooms are softened , about 8 minutes . Add the wine and cook until completely evaporated , about 1 minute . Stir in the 1 tablespoon of flour and the broth and bring to a boil . Season with salt and pepper . Simmer until thick , about 3 minutes . Stir in the chick peas .

2 . In a food processor , combine the remaining 1-1/4 cups of flour with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the chopped sage and thyme ; pulse 5 times . Add the milk ; pulse just until soft dough forms .

3. Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon , scoop 20 balls of dough over the chicken stew . Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes . Turn on the broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes , until the biscuits are golden . Let rest for 5 minutes before serving .
Serve with a fragrant , full bodied California white wine .

Heart Healthy

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Andouille Sausage & Chicken-Tasso Gumbo

Prep :45 minutes Cook: 4 hours Makes 5 quarts (about 20 servings)
4  ..........pounds skinned and boned chicken thighs
1 ...........pound andouille or smoked sausage
1 ...........pound tasso or smoked ham
1 ...........cup vegetable oil
1 ...........cup all-purpose flour
4 ...........medium onions, chopped
2 ...........large green bell peppers, chopped
2 ...........large celery ribs, chopped
4 ...........large garlic cloves, minced
4 ...........(32-oz.) boxes chicken broth
1-1/2 ....teaspoons dried thyme
1 ...........teaspoon black pepper
1/2 ........teaspoon ground red pepper
1/3 ........cup chopped fresh parsley
**Hot cooked rice **
Garnishes: sliced green onions, filé powder

1.         Cut first 3 ingredients into bite-size pieces. Place in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, 20 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Wipe out Dutch oven with paper towels.

2.          Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat; gradually whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 25 minutes or until mixture is a dark mahogany.

3.           Stir in onions and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring often, 18 to 20 minutes or until tender. Gradually add broth. Stir in chicken, sausage, tasso, thyme, and black and red ground peppers.

4.            Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 1/2 to
3 hours. Stir in parsley. Remove from heat; serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish, if desired.

Shrimp-Tasso-Andouille Sausage Gumbo: Omit chicken thighs and proceed with Steps 1, 2, and 3. Proceed with Step 4, stirring in 4 lb. medium-size raw shrimp, peeled and, if desired, deveined, the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Tasso is a spicy smoked cut of pork or beef popular in many Cajun dishes.

Heart healthy

Friday, November 28, 2014

Spice Pork & Bourdon Sauce

Makes 4 serving (serving: 3 pork slices --2 tablespoons sauce)


1/2 .........cup bourbon
1/4 .........cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 .........cup low-sodium soy sauce
3............ tablespoons cider vinegar
1-1/2...... teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 .........teaspoon black pepper


1/2 ..........teaspoon chili powder
1/4 ..........teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 ..........teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 ..........teaspoon salt
1 .............(1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed

**Cooking spray**

1 .       To prepare sauce, combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 11 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

2 .      To prepare pork, combine chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, stirring well; rub evenly over pork. Cut pork crosswise into 12 slices.

3 .       Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce.
TIP :Pair pork tenderloin with sweet 'n' tangy bourbon sauce for a delicious 20-minute dinner.
Substitute chicken broth for bourbon (if you prefer), and serve with couscous or rice.

Heart healthy

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Food for Thought : Celebrate Healthily

Thanksgiving is here . If you are like many people, this will be the start of a six-week holiday feasting that leads to a few unwanted pounds. Many people gain between 1 and 4 pounds over the holiday season. While 1 pound may not seem like such a big deal, this can become a real problem if you do not lose the weight after the new year. However, you do not have to fall into this trap. It is completely possible to enjoy the holidays without gaining any weight. Here are a few tips to help you keep your healthful goals in sight as you celebrate the holidays:
1 .  If food is served buffet style, use the smallest plate possible. Go for the simple foods; fresh fruits and vegetables, shrimp and other meats will help you feel full longer.

2 .  Be very picky, especially when it comes to high-calorie and high-fat foods such as desserts and sweets. If you must have some, limit them to small portions and only what is very important to you. Some people like to get several desserts and try a little of each of them. This is a good strategy, only if you know you will be able to resist eating all of them.

3 .  Bring something you know is low in calories and fat to potluck gatherings such as office parities and church events. This way you know there is something available for you to eat that is in line with your goals.

4 .  Remember the holidays are about more than just the food. Holiday celebrations include spending time with family and friends. Make sure you take the time to appreciate the decorations, enjoy the entertainment and visit with others.

Words  of Wisdom :"Everyone should be able to do one card trick, tell two jokes, and recite three poems, in case they are ever trapped in an elevator."

"I consider conversations with people to be mind exercises, but I don't want to pull a muscle, so I stretch a lot. That's why I'm constantly either rolling my eyes or yawning."

People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.

All I ever wanted really, and continue to want out of life, is to give 100 percent to whatever I'm doing and to be committed to whatever I'm doing and then let the results speak for themselves. Also to never take myself or people for granted and always be thankful and grateful to the people who helped me.

A Proud grand-poppa

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Food for Thought: Cold Weather

The cold weather season is here. Many of us are looking forward to ending the work day at home under a cozy blanket with a warm meal. Comfort foods take us back to some of our best memories; unfortunately, these can be foods that are high in fat and calories. However, some comforting foods can be good for you, easy to prepare and fit any nutrition plan. Here are a few tips:
1.   Spaghetti is a great comfort food and has less calories that the typical pasta dishes such as lasagna and creamy pastas. Opt for whole-wheat pasta or get adventurous and try some spaghetti squash. Also, look for chunky sauces without added sugars. Use fresh herbs and vegetables such as basil and onions for added flavor.

2 .  Vegetable soups and stews make great hearty meals. Use a slow cooker to prepare lean cuts of meat along with large pieces of vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. Add your favorite seasonings and let it cook all day. Typically cream soups are much higher in fat and calories, so stick to those that are broth based.

3 .   Cut the crust. Many of our favorite comfort foods such as chicken pot pie and peach cobbler have a top and bottom crust. Simply doing away with the bottom crust could save you a good bit of calories and fat.

4 .   Use lean meats for soups, stews and especially foods that have gravy such as meatloaf or beef tips. Use herbs and spices for flavor. Look for ways to cut fat and calories in your favorite comfort food by searching for healthier alternatives on the Internet on recipe sharing sites and other places, such as Pinterest.
                                 Spaghetti PIe
This makes a wonderful dish for a pot luck!

1           pound spaghetti
1/4        pound butter or margarine
1           cup Parmesan cheese
4           eggs or eggbeaters
1           large container small curd cottage cheese
1           large bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1           large jar spaghetti sauce (daughter use 2 large Prego's)

1 .    Put cooked spaghetti (not rinsed) in large bowl with: butter, parmesan and eggs After you mix this well, put into a buttered 10 x 14 pan or put into two pie pans and freeze one if you want smaller portions. Pour spaghetti sauce on top, spread on cottage cheese. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for thirty minutes. Put on mozzarella cheese and make ten more minutes.
Words of Wisdom :
People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish. 

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

A proud Grand-poppa

Monday, November 17, 2014

Poached Eggs and Country Ham


4     cups filtered or spring water
1/2  tablespoon kosher salt
1     cup uncooked stone-ground white grits
1/2  cup grated grana padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2     tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
2     cups button mushrooms, quartered
1     tablespoon oil
1     shallot, finely minced
1/4  cup julienned country ham
1/4  cup port wine
1/2  cup chicken stock
4     large fresh eggs, poached
1     bunch frisée or watercress, cleaned and dried (optional)
2     tablespoons Sherry Vinaigrette
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 . Combine water and 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt in a medium, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Whisk in grits, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and add cheese, butter, pepper to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon), and Tabasco to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon), whisking to combine thoroughly. Cover and keep warm.

2 . Sauté mushrooms in hot oil in a sauté; pan or large skillet over medium-high heat about 3 minutes. Add shallot and country ham, and cook 30 seconds. Add port wine and chicken stock, and cook until mixture is reduced by three-fourths.

3 .  Spoon grits onto serving plates, and top with poached eggs. Spoon ham and mushroom sauce evenly over the eggs. Toss frisée with vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper; scatter frisée mixture along the edges of the grits, and serve.

A hearty  breakfast  is  the  best way to start off the  day .  

Thanx  to  the  proud grand-poppa  for  taking  the  picture .

Mr. Humble

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Food for Thought : Thanksgiving

It is hard to believe Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. In the next few weeks, many of our kitchen appliances will get more use than they do any other time of the year. If you will be doing a lot of baking and cooking over the next few weeks, follow these tips to get your kitchen ready:

Check your spices and herbs. If you do a lot of baking, you are going to need these. Make sure you have plenty and the ones you have on hand have not expired. Pay special attention to the ones you only use a few times a year such as vanilla, poultry seasoning, pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg.

 Check out your baking and cookware. Make sure you have enough roasting pans, casserole dishes and cookie sheets. Make sure these are free from rust and wear. Also make sure you have plenty of serving dishes and your knives have been sharpened.

 Make room in your freezer. You are going to need the extra room for make-ahead dishes. Throw out anything not labeled and dated properly. Although foods will remain safe for some time, the quality decreases after just a few months. Go ahead and prepare the meals you have been saving.

 Clean everything thoroughly. Pay special attention to baseboards, ceiling fans, light fixtures and cabinets.

                                     Honey-Bourbon Toddy
Servings: Makes 2

2  tablespoons honey
1  cup hot water
6  tablespoons bourbon or Apple Bourbon  (recipe below)
2    3x1/2' strips lemon peel
2  cinnamon sticks

1 .  Stir honey and water in a 2-cup measuring cup until honey dissolves. Add bourbon (or better yet, Apple Bourbon, in which case you'll use 1 Tbsp. honey). Divide between 2 Toddy glasses. Twist a strip of lemon peel over each drink, then add to glass. Stir each with a cinnamon stick and serve.

2 .   To make Apple Bourbon, combine a 750-ml bottle of bourbon, 4 cored, sliced Fuji apples, and 4 cinnamon sticks in a pitcher. Cover; chill for 3 days. Strain and sip of use in recipe above.

 Words  Of wisdom :
"True humor is fun - it does not put down, kid, or mock. It makes people feel wonderful, not separate, different, and cut off. True humor has beneath it the understanding that we are all in this together."  

Suffering is the result of resistance; so much better to simply embrace people, things, feelings... as they are. Intolerance is a habit we’ve been taught, but it can be unlearned. Changing habits requires conscious practice.

"In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger something better, pushing right back."

"The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and their destination."

A proud  grandpoppa    G.-----Mr.  Humble  sitting in  for  a proud  grandpoppa  .  Without  those  toddies  I don't  think I would  make  it  this  far  , I double the  doses  and  knocked  them  out  .  Yeah , all  three off them (smiling)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Country Fried Chicken with Cornmeal Gravy

Prep / Total time : 1 hour 15 minutes Makes 6 servings

6                  (6-oz.) chicken breasts
1                  teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2           cups finely crushed round buttery crackers
6                 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
3                 large eggs
2                 cups buttermilk Vegetable oil

1.     Sprinkle cubed steaks with salt and pepper. Combine flour, crackers, and marjoram in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs and buttermilk in a bowl.

2.     Dip steaks in egg mixture; dredge in cracker mixture. Repeat procedure.

3.     Pour oil to depth of 1-1/2 inches in a large heavy skillet. Heat to 325°. Fry chicken breasts in batches, 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan.
Serve with gravy. (RECIPE BELOW)
                     Cornmeal Gravy
Total Time : 20 minutes Makes about 1-2/3 cups

1/2     cup plain yellow or white cornmeal
1/2     teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1        teaspoon bacon drippings
1        cup buttermilk
1        cup hot water

Cook cornmeal in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in salt, pepper, and drippings. Stir together buttermilk and hot water; gradually whisk into cornmeal mixture. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Whisk in additional buttermilk for desired consistency.

Heart healthy

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

Prep: 30 minutes Cook time : 1 hour Makes 6 to 8 servings
1/3            cup butter
1/3            cup all-purpose flour
1-1/3         cups chicken broth
1-1/2         cups milk
1-1/2         teaspoons Creole seasoning
2               tablespoons butter
1               large sweet onion , diced
1              (8-ounces) package sliced fresh mushrooms
4              cups shredded cooked chicken
2              cups frozen cubed hash browns
1              cup matchstick  carrots
1              cup frozen small sweet pears
1/2           cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (14.1 ounces) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 egg white

1 .    Prepare filling : Preheat oven to 350* . Melt 1/3 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat ; add all-purpose flour and cook , whisking constantly 1 minute . Gradually add chicken broth and milk and cook , whisking constantly 6 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubby . Remove from heat , stir in Creole seasoning .

2 .    Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat ; add onion and mushrooms and saute 10 minutes or until tender . Stir in chicken and next 4 ingredients and sauce .

3 .    Prepare Crust : Place 1 piecrust in a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet . Spoon chicken mixture over piecrust .

4 .    Whisk egg white until foamy ; brush top of piecrust with egg white . Cut 4 or 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape .

5 .    Bake at 350* for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until golden brown and bubby .

Heart healthy

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Food for Thought : Louisiana State Fair

The fair is in town for just a few more days. Many of us go to the fair for the food. And while common sense may tell us consuming almost every food imaginable deep fried and on a stick isn't necessarily the healthiest option for us, sometimes we just can't help ourselves. Here are tips to help you navigate food stands without going overboard:
1 .  Don't go to the fair extremely hungry. Many times we will skip meals all day long and "save up" our calories for later. This leads to overeating. Eat a light snack with plenty of protein such as peanut butter or cheese and crackers, or a half a sandwich.

2 .  Watch your liquid calories. It is best to opt for water at events like this. Calories can easily add up when consuming sweetened or alcoholic beverages.

3 .  Go early in the day. You may be less likely to be tempted with all the aromas of different foods.

4 .  Walk around the midway a few times before making a purchase. Make decisions on what are "must-try foods" and foods that you "can live without today." Take a friend and share. Many times just a few bites will satisfy a craving.

5 .   Sit down and enjoy your food. Walking around and chatting can lead to mindless eating and before you know it, you have consumed the whole order. Be mindful of what you are eating.

Words of Wisdom :
A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.

I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun.

People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.

It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.

Work hard for what you want because it won't come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we're all teachers - if we're willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.




A proud Grandpoppa

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Peach Slab Pie

Size: 10 x 15 inch sheet pan
For the pie crust:

3-3/4            cups all purpose flour
1                  cup shredded sharp cheese
1                  tablespoon sugar
1-1/2            teaspoon salt
3                  sticks unsalted butter, frozen
3/4               cup very cold water

For the filling:

3                 (16-ounce) bags sliced frozen peaches, thawed and drained
1                 cup sugar
1/4              cup cornstarch
1                 pinch salt
1                 egg, combined with 1 tablespoon of water
turbinado sugar (optional)

1 .      To make the crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Using a box grater, grate the three sticks of butter into the flour. Toss the flour with the grated butter to combine. Slowly drizzle in the cold water and combine with a rubber spatula. Use more or less water as needed to bring the crust together. If needed, use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball. Divide the dough into two balls. Flatten each ball into a dish, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours. Prepare a 10 x 15 inch sheet pan with parchment paper.

2 .    To make the filling: Toss together the drained peaches, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice.

3 .     Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

4 .    After the pie dough has been chilling for at least two hours, roll out both discs of dough to be slightly larger than the sheet pan. Work quickly or take care to make sure the dough does not get too warm; transfer back to the refrigerator as needed.

5 .      Fit one sheet of pie dough into the sheet pan, allowing the edges to drape over the sides. Pour in the peach filling. Top with the second sheet of pie dough and crimp the edges of the top and bottom crusts together. Cut vents across the top crust to allow steam to escape. Alternately, cut the second sheet of pie dough into strips and make a lattice top on the pie.
6 .      Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the pie with egg wash. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using.

7 .     Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling has thickened. Cool for 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Heart healthy

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Food for Thought: Help your family avoid getting sick

October is Family Health Month. Keeping our family healthy over the next few months may prove to be a challenge for some of us, as this is the time of year colds, viruses and bacterial infections tend to spread more. Making sure your family avoids getting sick and stays in the best nutritional health this season can be easy to do with a little planning. Here are a few tips to help your family stay healthy:
1 .  Make sure everyone is getting enough rest and proper nutrition. There are many nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables in season such as sweet potatoes, squash, cranberries and pomegranate. Fresh fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins and minerals will help your family's immune system stay healthy and ready to fight off germs.

2 .   Wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands is especially important this time of year. Make sure you wash your hands more often when you are out and about at restaurants, shopping or school functions.

3 .   Wipe surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes. While most of us will give extra cleaning attention to cooking and food prep surfaces, we sometimes forget the most frequently touched surfaces. Make it a point to wipe down television remotes, cell phones, home phones, light switches, bathroom faucets and your child's desk surfaces. These are surfaces frequently touched but typically forgotten when cleaning is done.

4 .  Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication. Never take anyone else's prescription medication, even if you have the same symptoms.

Words of Wisdom :

"Some men are assholes and some men are cowards. What they both have in common is that both just stops talking to you, for no reason other than that they are assholes and cowards."

"Healing is more about accepting the pain and finding a way to peacefully co-exist with it. In the sea of life, pain is a tide that will ebb and weave, continually.
We need to learn how to let it wash over us, without drowning in it. Our life doesn't have to end where the pain begins, but rather, it is where we start to mend."
"There is a requirement of money in everyone’s life to fulfill own basic needs and do good deeds for others, but a person becomes its slave indeed only on sowing the seed of the selfishness and greed in his life' garden to grow like a weed."

"Sometimes, the silence between the two persons is better than their conversation especially when they are not of compatible ABC (Attitude, Behavior, Character)."

"They say that some people come in our life as blessings and others as lessons, but to be specific and precise only simple and humble people with the utmost simplicity in their lives only come as blessings in a person's life."

"Sometimes the words against a selfish person have to be sharp, straight and blunt; it is very much like after the failure of all medications to cure a mental patient the only option left to revive him now is to give him a shock treatment through an electric current."

A proud Grand-poppa       G.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Food for Thought : October is National Chili Month

October is National Chili Month. A hearty chili can be a filling and nutritious one-pot meal that usually can be made with ingredients you have on hand. While most chili starts with a basic base of meat and tomatoes, some can be very complex with vegetables, beans and other ingredients. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a healthful pot of chili:
1 .  When preparing chili, make sure you wash your hands frequently as you handle hot peppers. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to wear gloves. Be very careful not to touch your eyes, mouth or nose until you have thoroughly washed your hands.

2 .  Choose lean cuts of meat and add lots of beans. Try adding different types of beans such as black, small red beans, kidney beans and pinto beans. If using canned beans, drain and rinse these before adding to the pot.

3 .  Add whole grains such as barley or serve chili over brown rice.

4 .  Add extra vegetables. Onions, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, shredded carrots and celery make wonderful additions to your pot of chili.

5 .  Limit high-fat additions such as cheese, sour cream, and corn chips. A little of any of these is all you need to add a little extra flavor to your chili.

                        Mouth-watering Chili :

4 slices thick-cut apple smoked bacon, diced
3/4 pound chicken breast , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Emil's Southwest Seasoning, (recipe below )
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 red bell pepper , diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, with juices
4 cups chicken broth 
3 cups water, plus more if needed
1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
3-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
                    Emil's Southwest Seasoning:

2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano


1 .  In a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until the fat is completely rendered and the bacon is crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and set on the side. Add the cubed chicken, chili powder, cumin, and Southwest Essence to the hot rendered fat in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
2 .  Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic and oregano and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes,broth, water and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat and beans are tender and sauce is thick and flavorful, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
3 .  (TIP : add more liquid if the sauce gets too thick before the beans are tender.)
4 .  When the beans are tender and sauce is thickened, add the brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard and cook until thick and flavors have come together, about 20 to 30 minutes longer.

Serve hot.

                Emil's Southwest Seasoning:
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 1/2 cup

 Words of Wisdom :

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.

Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it.


A proud  grandpoppa         G.