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