Just wait until we give up sugar. Groan! I'm not quite ready for that. However, when we do get to that level, all is not lost for those who love to cook and bake. Testing your results is perfectly legal. That means one serving of anything you make, but only one. Don't get excited. We're not there yet.
Tasting: Remember the last week's pecan chews that I made from Joanne Fluke's book, The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder?
They're so good, but I didn't post the recipe because I'm always trying to avoid stepping on someone's copyright. I emailed the authoress, Joanne Fluke, and asked for permission to post her recipe, but no response. However, I've discovered that if you Google "pecan chews", up pops the recipe, posted by other bloggers. I guess it's okay if you give credit to the source. Anyway, it's available, if you'd like to try these. You won't be disappointed.
Next Tasting: When I lived in California, my kids (Son Michel and Daughter-in-Law Kathy) and I used to go to an Italian restaurant, and they'd make up my requested fettuccine dish. I decided to do it myself, and I call it "Pasta Patricia". Here it is:
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6-8 chicken tenders
8 oz uncooked fettuccine
8 oz fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 jar or can artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained
1 cup ripe olives, drained
1-2 Roma tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Oil and butter to sauté chicken and mushrooms
Sauté chicken tenders in butter with a little oil until golden and done through. Tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Sauté mushrooms in same skillet, adding more butter if needed, until golden. Remove and keep warm.
Put a large kettle of water on to boil. Chop artichoke hearts, discarding tough pieces. Slice ripe olives. Cut up chicken tenders.
Add fettuccine to water.
Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until soft but not brown.
Add cream and cheese, and stir until cheese melts and sauce is thickened.
When sauce is ready, stir in drained fettuccine, chicken, artichokes, mushrooms, and olives. Chop tomatoes and sprinkle over when serving.
Definitely comfort, not diet, food.
Thrifting: I had to do some marketing, so I dropped into my local thrift store and found all this for $5.60. (When I got home, I discovered I already had four of these placemats, so now I have eight).
The placemats have a nice design (haven't laundered them yet)
I love the necklace, and I broke one of the beds on my old standby brown one and needed a replacement.
And the purse is fine, once I took off those little dingle balls. Maybe I can hang them from my windshield mirror. Or maybe not.
And since the Orange Purse gods were still smiling, I got this for $2 and therefore,
Togs: Still another orange outfit. Come on summer!
Trying My New Gadgets: Friend Joey, my gadget friend, gave me this little number.
You just squeeze the handle and the bottom opens and lets out the batter in a nice little stream. I tried it in my new mini-cupcake baker and also with regular cupcakes. See - not one drip on the muffin tin.
One cake mix made all this:
I used a canned frosting and froze these to see if they hold up.
Things That Grow: I planted peas this week. So far, none of my seeds have sprouted. My daffodils in the raised bed were a total waste, as I can't see them from the house, so I cut some to bring inside. They're so cheerful.
In the family room
In the living room
In the entry
And if these dreary days continue, I'm bringing in more.
Tasting: Thursday was our monthly meeting of the VECC (Very Exclusive Cooking Club). Only four members, and the same rules as the U.S. Supreme Court. No one can be added unless a member retires or dies (Heaven forbid!). January was cancelled due to flooding in Branson (Carol's home), and February was cancelled due to my brother's accident/death.
We had a sumptuous meal and I have permission to share part of our recap of the day.
Love her new placemats
Carol’s Zuppa Toscano
Carol's Antipasti Salad
Carol’s Basil/Tomato Bruschetta
Carol’s Crown Roast of Pork
Carol’s Italian Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Mary's Bread Machine Yeast Rolls
Bev’s Famous White Cake with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Iced Green Tea
THE PARTY FAVORS
So now I have new Things That Grow in my entry (daffodils moved to kitchen).
And Bev brought us each three cupcakes to take home
After lunch, Carol took us on a Branson tour. The Chamber of Commerce should hire her as the Ambassadress of Branson and area. She loves it there and knows every little nook and cranny and everything that goes on. We experienced the Ozark Mountains first hand. San Francisco has nothing on us. I guess the people who live on those hills just stay home when it ices, because if you started out your driveway, you could slide for blocks.
We also toured the College of the Ozarks to see all the spring planting. If you're ever in the area of Branson-Hollister, lunch at the Keeter Center at C of O is a must. The students do all the cooking, serving, raising of the food, growing flowers for the tables, etc. They even have a dairy and make their own dairy products, including ice cream.
Then we stopped in the little thrift store run by the volunteer library ladies. I found all of this for $3.25. It was half-price day. My Thrifting luck is holding. I already had four of these snack sets, so I'm very happy to have eight now. The silver trivet is perfect for a teapot, and I have dishes to match the little flower dish. You'll see them in action one day.
Before I left Carol's area, I drove around for a few photos. Branson is about thirty miles south of Nixa, so their spring is a bit ahead.
Tales: I finished another Joanne Fluke book and really wish I had time to make all her recipes. I've read two books and each had two murders. I wonder if all her books have more than one murder? I should think that creating the plot would be doubly difficult.
Another Tale: I finished the third Covington book. Lots of problems, but they were mostly resolved by the end of the book. A little depressing at times, but I'm moving on to the fourth in the series.
When I went to the library to pick up the fourth book, I got caught in a hailstorm. I pulled into a bank (closed on Sunday) to wait it out under the drive-thru cover. I put a quarter on the ground for size comparison.
More Things That Grow: My birthday roses from Katie Sue.
More Tasting: This is the recipe I promised you I'd post after I tweaked it.
BANANA COFFEE CAKE
Inspired by a recipe in the Taste of Home Baking Book
Submitted by Georgia Courtney of Las Cruces, New Mexico
1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (2-3) very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups chopped pecans
4 Tbs sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix the topping in two separate bowls, 1/2 of each ingredient in each bowl.
Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 13 X 9 baking dish and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
Add the bananas and vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add to banana mixture.
Mix one bowl of topping ingredients into batter. Turn out into prepared baking dish. Top with other bowl of topping ingredients.
Bake 40-45 minutes or until it tests done.
Tidbits: The other night I was reading in bed, and I saw an old wrinkled crepe-skinned arm holding my book, and I thought, "Whose arm is that?" and then realized that it was mine. I truly believe in "ask and ye shall receive", so soon after a website called www.curejoy.com came my way to tell me about the eleven foods to eat to avoid aging skin. Carol probably sent me the link because she's very interested in health and anti-aging. Well, anyway, if you find a stranger in your bed holding your book, you might want to try these with me:
Almonds, coconut oil, avocados, bell peppers, spinach, chia seeds, blueberries, cilantro, dark chocolate, grapes, and aronia berries which are choke-berries, but I have no idea what they are, no matter what you call them.
I wonder how long it takes to make a difference? And I'll have to stock up on chia seeds before the holidays because there will be a run on them to grow grass hair on all those clay heads people get for Christmas gifts. I'll work on the aronia berries aka choke-berries before next week.
Thoughts and Quotes: In honor of St. Patrick's Day coming up on Thursday, I'd like to share an Irish blessing my Lil' Sis' sent me in my birthday card:
May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you,
Faithful friends near you,
And whenever you pray,
Heaven to hear you.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY TO ALL
Follow our goals from last week. Eat corned beef and cabbage on Thursday. Make a pie Monday on pie (pi) day 3-14-16 (3.1416) - it won't be back for a hundred years.
Sorry if my posting was somewhat disjointed this week. I created it as it was happening instead of waiting until Sunday and organizing the material. Busy week.