Monday, August 5, 2013

It's been awhile...

Yeah, like 4 years.  But a lot has happened in four years.

Like, we got a kitten, and it was bad... like really bad
And then we got one of these...
Not an actual picture of our house...
Except it was NO WHERE near that nice, and we had to deal with things like this...
An actual picture from our house (yes, that is mold)

And like this...
An actual picture from our house (yes, those are Christmas lights hung in poison ivy)
And then, as things were settling down, life intruded.  Unfortunately, our beloved Sammy became ill and we were devastated when he passed. Sherman was left as the only kitty, and he didn't like his only-child status, so, then we got one of these...
Now that we've settled into our home, got rid of all the mold and most of the poison ivy covered Christmas lights, settled the kitties into our lives, painted every wall in the house (ok, ok, i haven't done the ceilings or trim yet),

tracked down the "interior water feature",

and made sure that stopped (but first caused some extra chaos), 
Why, yes, Jim is using a chain saw in our house... 
we finally decided we were ready for a new project.  And thus, thanks to my Mom's compulsive organizing and photo copier, we came home with a copy of her binder full of recipes.   

Perhaps I should explain, my mom and I are recipe collectors.  Yes, we both have a lot of recipe books, but the real stars get adapted over time, get scribbled onto little scraps of paper from phone conversations with a friend or loved one, get printed out from sources online and then scribbled on, as we make our changes.  So, the favorite gathering place for our recipes has been a three ring binder.  But of course, one three ring binder cannot possibly contain all the goodness.  So the challenge, make and photograph all the family recipes, making notes about what works, what doesn't, and where needed, measure the ingredients. Another aspect of the challenge is still in the works.  Start going through my grandma's collection of recipe scraps and to work together with Mom to recreate some of her best dishes. 

This is not an easy challenge.  My collection and my mom's collection alone is a bit daunting... 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Red-Spice Steak Fajitas

This recipe is based of off the similarly titled Fajita recipe in Rachael Ray's March 2009 magazine, but I've made a ton of changes to the original, so I thought I'd document. Jim and I have always loved fajitas, it was the very first thing he cooked for me when we started dating, but this is a nice update to the grocery store packets. Jim and I love the fantastic colors and the incredibly fresh taste. We've already made this one twice in the last two weeks, and we see another repeat in the near future.

  • 6 medium flour tortillas
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons, each, salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips (we love the color a red and an orange pepper give).
  • 1 onion, cut into strips (we usually use a sweet onion)
  • 1 cup cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • Marinate the skirt steak at least an hour to tenderize. I don't tend to measure marinades, but I used apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and dehydrated onions.
  • Wrap tortillas in foil; place in the oven and heat to 300 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cayenne, cumin and salt and pepper. Reserve 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture and rub the remainder into the steak.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon oil. Saute the onions and reserved spice mix until they begin to soften, add peppers.
  • At the same time, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon oil. Cook the steak, 3 minutes on each side for medium. Let rest for five minutes, then thinly slice against the grain.
  • Add the steak and any juices, the cilantro, and chives to the onion pepper mixture and toss. Serve with the warmed tortillas.

Indian Chicken Curry

Jim has been traveling to a small town in North Carolina every week since September, so when he comes home on the weekends he's always craving spicy ethnic foods, but I'm trying to make sure we both eat healthier than what's available from the local joints and that Jim gets to eat something home cooked. I've adapted this recipe to take advantage of the lower fat products on the market and still keep the great flavor. We serve it over a bit of basmati rice with a wedge of lemon (I love the bright flavor a splash of lemon juice provides, but Jim's not a fan, so we'll let you make your own choice). Yes, it seems like an intimidating list of ingredients at first, but it actually comes together quite quickly, and the house smells amazing while it's simmering.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup plain yogurt -- We like to use low fat greek yogurt.
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk -- We like to use the low fat coconut milk.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces, tomato paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaf, and stir in cayenne pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Paprika Spice Blend

This one is also a favorite from our Christmas Baskets, it makes a ton and it's good on everything, pork, chicken, burgers, even fish. Use about a tablespoon of spice mix per pound of meat used.


  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder


1. Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container.

Indian Spiced Nuts

One of the favorite recipes from my Christmas Basket gifts, these flew out of the serving bowl, no matter who it was served to!


  • 1 (11.5-ounce) container lightly salted mixed nuts (such as Planters)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper


1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and toss well to coat. Spread nut mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring twice during cooking time. Cool.

Sorry it's been so long!

Sorry to all of our blog followers, we know it's been a long time since we've posted. It's been a very busy few months. I've been hard at work on lots of projects since Jim's been traveling every week for work. To begin with, I created my Christmas baskets, which included lots of canned goodies like pomegranate jelly and mixed berry and strawberry jam and chocolate raspberry sauce. As I perfect my canning technique I'll be sure to post some of my canning experiments.

Also, and perhaps more important, we got a new kitten! Sherman joined our family shortly after Christmas and we've been spending significantly more time playing feather taunt than cooking, and to tell the truth, we don't mind in the slightest!

Also, I've been working on some sewing projects, including the purse below. Will post details on how I put it together shortly!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Jim is away on travel this week, so I'm making some meals that I love that easily serve one. This one satiates my desire for something spicy and creamy.

  • 3-4 oz. chicken
  • 2 oz. bite size pasta (I used whole wheat rotini).
  • 2 Tbsp. hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot).
  • 4 Tsp. melted butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1/4 Tsp. Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. salty cheese, Feta or Parmesan
  1. Boil pasta in salty water - use the cooking time on the box.
  2. Coat chicken with salt and pepper, then grill chicken on a grill pan, electric grill, or grill. I used the thin cut breasts and it took about 2-3 minutes per side. Cut into bite size pieces.
  3. Combine the hot sauce, butter, dressing and paprika in a small bowl.
  4. Mix the dressing mix, chicken and pasta in a large bowl. Top with the cheese.