Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue Moon

(You need to turn the jukebox off at the bottom of my blog.)

Who would'a thunk it? Where was I thirteen years ago when this was explained? Living in my own itty bitty world I guess. "Once in a blue moon," which happens only once every thirteen years, means...well, it means "once every thirteen years." Wow!!! How neat is that? It happens when there are two new moons in one month. The second new moon is called the blue moon.

Speaking of new moons. I went to see New Moon last night.

It was like the book...took forever to get to the point. And, believe me, it was definitely a teenie bopper movie. You should've heard the girls twittering when Jacob took his shirt off to wipe the blood from Belle's forehead when she crashed the dirt bike.

I understand that some grown-up women are all a-twitter about this series. My only suggestion is...go find a MAN!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Not much going on today or yesterday. Nice and slow and easy. It's been colder longer than normal for my corner of Texas. We generally have a week or so of cold or coolish weather, then it warms up. hasn't warmed up yet. I am just so glad that we don't do firewood in a fireplace or wood burning heater any more. What a mess! This house is so well-built and insulated that our propane consumption is extremely low. The electric bill is nearly 1/3 of what it runs in the hot as hell summers we generally have.
You can see people dressed in all styles in weather like this. I went off without my camera yesterday...rats. As I pulled into a parking slot at the grocery store, I looked up. He had on shorts and a t-shirt. The little boy he was carrying had on long pants and a long-sleeve t-shirt. She had on a velour (LOL...yes velour!) track suit and a coat over that. And...she was a young woman. Velour! Is it in style again? Shudder?!
I need to get to the grocery store for black-eyed peas to cook January 1...speaking of food...
Today's cookbook is from someone who catered in the Lake Jackson area. In the seven years I lived there, I attended many events she catered; wedding receptions, business events, etc. EVERYTHING was delicious. When she got out of the business, the cookbook was compiled and sold.
How would you like to have this at your groom's table?!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy 26th Birthday, Baby

Born on a Tuesday, middle of the afternoon, in the middle of a long month of ice covering everything!
Eleven months later...

We don't have our photo taken together often enough!
Love you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Looks like chocolate doesn't it?! But it's not! It's roux! How does a Cajun make chili? First he starts with a roux.
This is going to be gumbo though. I cheated with the roux. When Drew down in Freeport/Lake Jackson told me that he used jarred roux...well, if it was good enough for a real life Cajun, then it's good enough for me. Besides, it saves an hour! I forgot to look for andouille, so just put some bacon grease in the bottom of my soup pot; added a cup of roux and a tablespoon of Penzey's seafood soup base. When it got hot, I whisked in a quart of water. The added chopped celery, bell pepper, and onion; along with some minced garlic. Don't forget the salt, pepper, and some kind of fire...I use a seasoning mix Sam's sister Linda makes. What else...Oh! Two bay leaves.
I added a couple of cooked chicken breasts that were hiding out in the freezer. Chopped them and threw them in the pot. Let that simmer an hour or so before adding the shrimp and sliced okra.
If you are not an okra fan, omit it. If you liked tomatoes, add some diced. A recipe is a guideline, not rocket science! Did you pay any attention to the shrimp in the above photo? It's Tony Chachere's...wild shrimp caught off the coast of Louisiana. Try very, very hard not to purchase Chinese shrimp.I made a pan of rice, then we sat down and ate...didn't get a photo of it 'plated.' This is going into the refrigerator for tomorrow's lunch. (I'm not cooking a big meal until Saturday when John and Brook may come in. I also put a couple of 1 quart freezer containers aside in the freezer for future meals.
While the gumbo was cooking, I did some more baking. Another of my New York style cheesecakes. I was excited to try my new glass-bottom springform pan. (More about that later.) The crust is a sweet pastry. Set aside 2/3 cup in the refrigerator and pat the remainder in the bottom of the pan.
Bake it, cool, spread the remaining dough around the sides.
Pour in the filling and bake.
Cool a bit, run a thin-blade knife around the perimeter and try to release the latch. Well, the latch released but the damn pan didn't. Sam had to help me get it open. Then I had to take a long blade knife to cut the cheesecake from the bottom. It stuck. This is the springform pan from hell! As good an idea as I thought the smooth glass bottom was...I won't be using this again. I was so ticked off that I forgot to take a photo. Tomorrow...

My other metal pan was (1) Made in Germany and
(2) was a thicker metal. This pan was (1) Made in Taiwan and (2) was so thin I thought it would bend when we were trying to get it to slide open enough to release the bottom. This is Norpro. Pass it by!
Faked you out with the chocolate look-a-like earlier, so here's the real thing. FUDGE!! Waiting on it to cool.
All cooled and sliced and missing a piece or two. whistle whistle whistle
The recipe can't be simpler. It came out of this cookbook.
The best recipes are the desserts, of course! German Sweet Chocolate Cake, Original Banana Pudding...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It Sold!'s gone. It's a bit melancholy, but I do not regret the decision AT ALL!

Yeah. It's the cookbook that came with my KitchenAid stand mixer. First stand mixer I've ever had having used that avocado green handheld mixer since 1971...the mixer that fell off the kitchen island, hit the ceramic tile floor, yet lived to mix it up another day. ;o)

This cookbook gave me renewed confidence in pie crust. Prior to the recipe in this book, my pie dough was hit or miss...miss most of the time. It was always a patched up leaking mess that was not the least bit flakey.

The book also has a delicious plain pound cake in it. I always bake it in two loaf pans. We eat on one and I wrap and freeze the other for dessert emergencies.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I haven't mentioned Christmas much. Without grandchildren...

But as members of the Longview H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group), we purchased toys for entrance to the annual Christmas party. I tried to think 'older' kids and purchased some board games and made three stockings. Next year I want to do better.

These are the toys left at the battered women's office in Longview Sunday. Unfortunately the director said that they have 87 children. Sigh. I wish that they could go out of business!

While in Longview, I went through a car wash...YES in the 4-Runner. Loved watching the red rag thingytwirling...
The pizza peel Sam made me WORKS!! On its sprinkle of cornmeal, the risen bread dough slid right into the oven onto the heated pizza stone. Yippee!!

While the oven was hot, I also baked Sam a mince pie.
But I have to admit it. I did cheat.
I don't like mince pie. Yes, you can still purchase NoneSuch mincemeat either in a jar or the dried stuff in a package. Mama said that her mother made mincemeat pies from scratch, but since she and I think my older brother, Junior, were the only two who ate it at our house, she started buying Mrs. Smith's frozen pies. First husband, Ron, liked them. So does Jonathan. Sam likes them too. Did you notice that this is just 'mince' pie? No meat in it. I still don't care for it.

LOOK what I purchased! A springform pan with a clear tempered glass bottom. Some people serve right off the pan bottom. I slide my cheesecake onto a serving plate. But the metal bottom to my old pan has a lip on it. This glass bottom is smooth. I am anxious to try it.

I don't know where this cookbook came from. I haven't used a single recipe in it. It's just taking up space on my shelf. Jonathan?
Charting Your Courses
Clipper Club Cookbook Fund
La Canada, California
Printed in North Hollywood CA by Pride Printing

Saturday, December 19, 2009


2-A Tigers meet Bushland this evening for the final game in the playoffs. We won State the first time in 1968, I was in high school waaaay back then. Then again in 1983 and 1985. Many state and even nationwide records were broken then. The team won State in 2008. If they win tonight, this will be the first time that Daingerfield has taken home the State trophy two years in a row. Of course I wish the boys the best of luck tonight and pray no one gets injured. (Longview and Carthage are both playing tonight too. Wouldn't it be great if all three east Texas teams can win State in their respective division?!)

Now...I'm not much on high school football. I was in Pep Club until the team reached the playoffs in 1968. I dropped out when I realized that it was about the coaches getting a raise and an offer to move to a new school at a premium salary. My views completely, 100%! And...the football boys didn't have to make the grade. Coaches were strong arming teachers into "Aw go ahead. Give him that extra couple, er 10 points."

I thought in the days of pass to play that that mentality had gone by the wayside. Aw, contraire, mi petite. It is still there. A few years back I heard a comment a teacher made. Coach visited this teacher and asked what could 'we' do to make certain 'he' passes... Tell him to turn in his homework. 'Ah, but what can 'we' do?' Tell him to turn in his homework. This bantered around for 10-15 minutes.

From me to coaches everywhere: HEY!!! Tell him to turn in his homework! The rest of the kids are!

My personal experience. Last year I subbed in a class on a Friday. (Remember, these kids were on their way to winning State.) Gave the assignment. Looked around and kid in the football jersey is not working. I walked over to him, "You need to get to work and quit goofing off." His reply..."I don't do schoolwork on Fridays." I asked him, "Who do you think you are? The star quarterback?" The young man seated beside him, looks up at me and says, "I'm the quarterback." I looked at him and smiled, "YOU are doing a fantastic job on the field. And you are doing your classwork." Looked back at the kid and said, "If your quarterback can do classwork, so can you. Get to work."

Sam and I ate at David Beard's Catfish King today. They have a rather nice salad bar to go along with your meal...if you so choose to order it. As we were walking out, Sam spoke to someone who was kicked back in his chair and had evidently enjoyed his meal. Then Sam laughed. "What?" I asked as he caught up to me. The man called his outfit a, "Buffet tux." He had on a pair of these:

Cookbook time. I worked with a misplaced Cajun at U. S. Contractors in Clute Texas. Jerry was always talking about cooking something good. One day he loaned me one of his cookbooks. In the back was information on ordering. I managed to acquire these. OH, MY, GOODNESS! Talk about drooling all over the pages. Both books are full of not only authentic Cajun recipes but also definitions of cooking terms and French words, some of the origins of the recipes.

I don't know if it is in one of these books or if Drew Ryder from On the River/Riverside told me, but I now know the differences in a gumbo and a jambalaya and an etoufee.

A gumbo is a soup.
Jambalaya is more of a casserole
Etoufee is a sauce.
I think I got that right. At least that is the basic premise of the thickness of the dish.

From Louisiana Cajun Seafood (Poisson de Mer) with Lagniappe Breads I found THE recipe for Gumbo. As if there is one recipe for Gumbo. Gumbo was initially the clean out the refrigerator or icebox before it ruins meal. Anything and everything went in. When I think about gumbo, I think about okra, but that's not necessarily correct. But, I like okra, so in it goes.

And Cajun Shrimp Sauce Piquante. Ummmm-um. So good it makes a possum hug a hound! Lemme tell ya! Don't forget Fish Coubion.

Oh, what does lagniappe mean? Something extra. And this cookbook is loaded with lagniappe! (It is sorta pronounced like lon-nyee-opp according to the book, but when I've actually heard it, it sounds more like lon-yopp.)

I am getting soooo hungry and haven't 'talked' about the second book yet. Louisiana Lagniappe. Looks as if the main recipe I've garnered from this book is the Shrimp Jambalaya. But after that first book...shoulder shrug.

Louisiana Cajun Seafood, 1989 by Mercedes Vidrine and J. A. Allen
Louisiana Lagnaippe, 1973 (5th printing 1995) by Mercedes Vidrine, J. A. Allen, and Mary Alice Fontenot

In case you're interested both books are published by:
Claitor's Publishing Division
3165 S. Acadian at I-10
P O Box 3333
Baton Rouge LA 70921
800-274-1403 or 504-344-0476

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pizza Peel

I sent Sam a web-link or two and he made this. Slanted edge and all!
I wanted one to slide my risen bread dough into the oven onto the hot pizza stone...
So that I could bake more bread. (This photo is from an earlier baking day.)
Remember the Christmas cactus? Of course you do! Right now a photo of it is in my header. Bernice White from Wadsworth gave me these two cookbooks too. Both books have the Natchitoches Meat Pie recipe. I've eaten them in Natchitoches, but haven't made them yet. These books are so much fun to just read. I have to keep a handkerchief with me so that I can wipe the drool off the pages though. ;o)
PIrates Pantry, 1976, The Junior League of Lake Charles, Incorporated.
Cane River Cuisine, 1974, by The Service League of Natchitoches, Inc.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chilly Weather Calls for Texas Chili!

No self-respecting Texas cook doesn't have a built-in (by memory) recipe for chili. We get it from our mothers...who got it from their mothers...who got it...well, I think you've got the picture. MOF, when I typed up my recipes for Jonathan, I forgot to type up my chili recipe. I told him that I would get it to him. He laughed. "Mama! I watched you and Daddy make it enough...I don't need it written down."

See! What'd I tell ya?

This is the raw stuff just starting. For you non-Texan cooks you are looking at one pound of ground beef, one chopped onion, two or three cloves of minced garlic.Let's take a break here. Do NOT purchase the ultra-lean stuff. You lose so much flavor! Go ahead and buy ground chuck. After it has browned, scoot it all to the handle end of your skillet and tip the skillet a bit. The grease will drain to the other side of the skillet. Spoon it off or wad up a paper towel, sop up the grease, carefully pick it up with a pair of tongs and drop the greasy towel into the trash. Use another paper towel if necessary.

While it is browning, salt and pepper to taste. After it has browned, add a tablespoon or two of chili powder to taste (I use Penzey' can purchase it online at Also stir in two or three tablespoons of flour. Almost forgot...I also add one to three teaspoons of cumin.

Pour in one can of diced tomatoes and a couple of cans of water. Stir. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for an hour to let all the flavors marry. Do the QC (Quality Control) thing a time or two. Check your seasonings...add more if necessary. Also, as it simmers, add more water if needed. Made with one pound of ground beef, this chili is beefy. I have made it with half a pound, but Sam prefers it beefy.

Now. Let's talk about tomatoes. Some Texas chili aficionados do not put tomatoes in their Texas-made chili...cause they say the chuck wagon cooks didn't have tomatoes. Well. I'm not a chuck wagon cook. And I like tomatoes. First husband, Jonathan's daddy, after several years of eating my chili decided he didn't want tomatoes in the chili. I tried that once. Bleh. So...I started whirring my tomatoes (back then they were from my garden and in the freezer) in the blender. He never caught on. Jonathan likes tomato products as long as the tomatoes aren't in big chunks. But I don't cook for him any more. ;o)

A sprinkle of cheddar/Monterrey cheese combination. A few saltine crackers (or if I'd thought about it in time, a pan of cornbread) and a glass of iced tea. Yeppers! In Texas we drink iced tea year round.

I made a quilt block today to send to a HGTV quilting forum member. One of our members has been diagnosed with cancer. Once the quilt is finished and delivered, she will be wrapped with healing love.

I don't remember where this cookbook came from. I think I purchased several to give for Christmas gifts and one for me several years ago.

I have several recipes checked, but this may be the only one I've used over and over so much and finally adapted to suit me.

Some of the other interesting recipes are:
Big Boy Cream of Broccoli Soup
The Cheesecake Factory Key Lime Cheesecake
Chili's Grill and Bar Peanut Buttercup Cheesecake
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Hash Brown Casserole and Chicken & Dumplins
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Texas Rice
Marie Callender's Banana Cream Pie
The Olive Garden Italian Salad Dressing and Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip
Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion and Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp
Pizza Hut Pizza Crust
Ruby Tuesday Potato Cheese Soup
Ruth's Chris Steak House Creamed Spinach and Potatoes Au Gratin
T.G.I. Friday's Nine-Layer Dip

Can't believe I haven't tried them yet. Perhaps this browsing through my cookbooks will get the creative juices going again. That coconut shrimp sounds soooo good!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sewing Stuff For Sale

Okay. If I can't do any better than this...I need to get out of the business!

Did you notice that even the hanger loop is on the wrong side. For those of you who do not sew...the lining will not stuff inside the stocking because it's sewn in backwards! In other words...toe will be in the heel and vice versa. Sheesh. And I'm outta chocolate! I think. Lemma look. OH! I found some Lindt Intense Dark. Gimme a minute.


It started with a preprinted stocking front on a piece of fabric I received in the 20 Things I Want For Christmas Holee hosted over on the HGTV quilting forum. This was one of the items Wenonah/Jackie sent me in my gift box. Sam and I are going to the Longview H.O.G. Christmas party Saturday. Entrance fee is a gift for a child. They are waiting on the dining room table, and I thought I'd make the two stockings too.

The first one. Arrgghhh! First, I sewed wrong sides together - which means the wrong side would be outside. Since I sewed it on the serger, I just cut the seam allowance off, flipped the pieces and reserged. Sewed the lining and left a few inches in the bottom of the foot for turning. Lined seams, inserted loop, serged around the top. Pulled through the hole in the foot. SERGED the hole closed! THEN found out what I'd done.

Just to show you that I did fix it...and did NOT repeat the same mistakes with the second stocking.

To make ME feel about me showing you this again?

To make ME and YOU feel even better...

Sure wish I could take credit for this photo.

Another cookbook! My Lake Jackson sister-in-law, Barbara, gave these one year for Christmas. It has soooo many great recipes. Unlike most of the recipes submitted for this type cookbook, the Symphony League tried out each and every recipe before including it in the book.

My favorite recipes are the Breakfast Casserole on page uses waffles instead of the usual bread in most recipes like this. And Cinnamon Pull Apart Bun that uses frozen dinner rolls, powdered butterscotch pudding, brown sugar and other good stuff. I also like the Crawfish Etouffee, contributed by the Cajun co-ower of On The River and Riverside restaurants, on page 100. Another of our favorite restaurants, Red Snapper Inn at Surfside, posted their recipe for A La Grecque Sauce. Absolutely delicious over grilled fish and shrimp. Almost forgot about the Cream Cheese Casserole. Around here it is called Sopapilla Casserole or something or other. It's made with those cans of crescent rolls in the dairy section of the grocery store and cream cheese...butter...cinnamon and sugar.

Oh! Lunch time. Catcha later!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Day...Another Cookbook!

Sam got up early to go to VA for bloodwork before his checkup on Friday. I stayed in bed. When I did get up, I decided to go to Mt. Pleasant for a little stocking shopping. This afternoon, I bundled up some of the peanut butter cookies to take to City Hall...made that quick trip, then back home.

I had fried chicken for lunch. LOL They gave me one napkin. I had that good ole grease dripping off my elbows, and they give me ONE napkin. Lots of finger-licking going on!
I don't know where this cookbook came from. It is a modern how to live and cook country. Making sausages...brewing beer!...pressing cheese. The author combines the best of the old ways and recipes using modern methods in a modern kitchen.
Honestly, I haven't really used it much, but it does make an interesting read.
The Country Kitchen Cookbook
by Jocasta Innes