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+++Enter At Your Own Risk+++ At the gentle nudging (I said gentle y'all) of a few friends, I have started these blogs in order to share my culinary goings-on and daily misadventures through my own brand of humor (ok, sarcasm). I just write about stuff! At 50, I have learned that living has gotten in the way of life - and I am going to blaze my own personal trail to fun (hopefully)! If it is feminine, great. If it is not, so much the better! Hopefully fun that does not land me in jail............

Friday, June 17, 2016

Takeya ThermoFlask - Insane Review

I realize this isn't a recipe, but it is food/drink related in my book!

So this week several co-workers were drinking out of these huge metal bottles and I poked a little fun them because these bottles were rather large (40 oz.) - looked like little babies drinking out of a bottle!

Then they told me - "these keep cold products cold for up to 24 hours."

And I said "where did you get these?"

"Costco - $35 for a two pack."

I go over to Costco and search the mondo-shelves and found the two pack crate. There were tons of the stainless and green combination. None of us were very impressed with the Green color and I would say, by the number of two packs containing the green, a lot of folks don't like them. I dug around and I think I saw a pack with a white flask - not my thing. I found a stainless/black combo and off I went to checkout to buy my 'big baby bottle 2-pack'...

I reveled in my $35 buy since they are going for $31+ - EACH - online.

I loaded up the black one with ice at 5:30am the next morning, poured tea in, and headed off to work. That was Wednesday this week. It is now Friday morning and there was still a little ice floating.

26 hours after filling with drink and ice
Thursday morning I poured more tea in and headed off to work. This morning, at 6:00am, there was a little ice left. Not enough to matter, but obviously the water in there was cold! So, we are talking 2 full days and nights.  I admit I did not pour new drinks more than 3 times - but still...

The only issue is I still feel like I am drinking from a huge baby bottle. I need to see if they have a huge straw attachment.
The ice is level with my thumb at 26 hours

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Spiced Candied Orange Peel

I am sitting here waiting for citrus peels to simmer and thought I would try to get back into blogging. With a new (100+ year old house), time seems to slip by busy with house stuff. So, one way to get back in is to type less and get to the meat of the deal!

I use orange, and other citrus fruits, for teas, juice, wine and etc. I hated that I had nothing to do with the peels, then I remembered my daughter liked the orange/chocolate combination, so I figured she liked candied orange peel.

She does.

First, Let me just say that this works on Lemon, Lime, and other citrus peels.
I have a batch on with two navel oranges, two tangelos, one lemon and one lime right now.
It is a good way to up-cycle when using citrus in other recipes.
And, just an FYI, cooking these up works nicely to give the house a wonderful smell!


4 Oranges worth of Peel (give or take) - washed
2.5 C sugar for cooking
1 C raw sugar for coating
2 C water
1 Vanilla bean, split down the middle
10 Whole black peppercorns
6 Cardamom pods, smashed
3-4 Cinnamon sticks
3-6 Cloves, whole
3 Allspice, whole

Option: Ginger - a touch
Note: Use simmering spiced sugar water to sweeten anything you wish!

Cut the peels to maybe 1/8" thick and take off as much of the white pith as you can. Cuts down on bitterness.

In a saucepan on the stove, Bring the cut peels, and enough water to cover, to a boil and cut back heat to simmer for 3 minutes and drain the peels (I use a wire colander). Repeat this 2 more times. It helps cut the bitterness.

Let peels drain and wash the pot.

Add the water, sugar and all the above spices to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cut the heat to a simmer and add back the peels. Simmer the peels, stirring every 10-20 minutes, for maybe 1-2, or so, hours. At least until the peels become somewhat transparent.

While the peels are simmering, I use my spice grinder (otherwise known as a cheap coffee grinder by most everyone else in America) to grind down raw sugar for coating - and pour it in a flat storage container with a lid. I like the raw sugar (you can use what you want) for coating the peels. I think it adds a depth to the color and flavor.

I also pull out a rack to drain the peel - and place it on wax paper layer to catch drips. You can use whatever you want - to make clean-up easier.

Once the peels have reached a translucent and softer texture, use tongs to fish them out of the liquid (syrup) and place on the cooling rack to drain. Discard most of the whole spices. I actually take the vanilla bean and place it in my 'vanilla extract bottle" and top it off with vodka to cover. I have a rolling extract system.....

I place a layer of the peel in the container and shake around to coat. Depending on how big the container, you can spread all the peels out and coat and shake around a bit. Clean and dry the rack. Pull the coated peel slices out of the sugar and place back on the rack. Wait an hour or so and re-coat the peel slices. Let them sit in the sugar for maybe 15 minutes.  Pull them out and let them dry on the rack for 2 days if you have time. It helps them be more crispy. If you do not have time - that is ok! Package them up in a smaller container with some of the coating sugar in it.

Normally I have photos, but I cannot seem to get them to post! Boo....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chili on the Fly

So I was off today. MLK day. I got up this morning and decided it was a good chili day.  I didn't feel like making my usual Beer Chili today. So, I just made chili up using what I had in the house.  I didn't feel like leaving the house to the store either.....

Besides, it's time to use stock up and by fresh...

So out comes the slow cooker.

In the end I used:

A big can crushed tomatoes.
About a pound of ground turkey that I bought some time ago, fried up and froze for just such times like this...
3 cloves garlic peeled, crushed, chopped.
Half a large sweet onion, finely chopped.
A small can tomatoes paste.
One bottle light beer.
A half cup water, heated.
5 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in that hot water.
Salt/pepper to taste.
1 tsp sugar (cuts the acid).
A few dashes hot sauce.
A few dashes LIQUID smoke.
Half pound cranberry beans, dehydrated and pre-cooked.
4 tsp chili powder.
3 leftover strips of bacon, fried, and broken up.

I poured all LIQUID and spices into a slow cooker and turned it on high.
I cooked bacon in fry pan. 
I thawed the ground turkey and put it in the bacon grease, fried it a little further along with the garlic and onion.
I rinsed the dry beans, and quick soaked them per package directions. Then cooked the beans.
I tossed everything left into the slow cooking mixture.
Turned it down on low after an hour, stirring whenever.

Served with the classic choice of saltine crackers and shredded cheddar on top.

Dinner done.

And, I used up the dried cranberry beans that no one liked cooked alone and finished off a package of bacon that needed used up before it got old.....

I'm trying to cut down on unnecessary waste.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Seasoning: Taco Seasoning

I like taco seasoning. I typically buy packets and add them to recipes.  Obviously I add it to ground beef, but it can be used on chicken breasts and in dressings (both used in Southwest Salad), note it can be used in the Picante Peach Pork recipe....  If you make up your own mix, you are able to adjust flavor and heat.

The below recipe makes about 1 cup of dried Taco Seasoning Mix. I only mixed up half the recipe. I learned that I used most of the seasoning I mixed up for one go around with the Southwestern Salad.

1/4 cup Ancho Chile Powder (mild heat, sweet fruity flavor)
2 T chile powder
3 T ground cumin
1 T dried cilantro
1 T sweet paprika (not hot paprika, unless you like it hot)
1 T fine grind sea salt (or slightly less regular salt)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. fine grind black pepper
1 tsp. ground Chipotle Chile Powder or Cayenne for more heat

I combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir them together. 

You can have a more finely ground mixture by grinding ingredients into the bowl attachment of blender or a small food processor, and process them for about a minute. I don't have either of these, but I do have an old coffee grinder that I kill spices with periodically....

Store Taco Seasoning Mix in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Start with 2 T per pound of ground beef for regular ground beef tacos, then taste to see if you want it more spicy.

I can now use there in my Picante Pork recipe, spicy saltine recipe, and Southwestern salad recipe....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peachy Picante Pork

So, today was busy. I woke up too early and just started cooking until a couple of us went to the flea market.  I prepped several meats to cook my little (TV dinners) for this week.  After the flea market I had to hit the store, as well, because I forgot I needed salsa for this recipe.  I haven't made this yummy dish in a few years. I don't think I've blogged about it. If I have, forgive me...

While at the store, my daughter called.  We talked about her making bread and butter pickles yesterday and peach jam today.  I told her I was making this dish and she was like "ooh, I've not had that in a long time".  I emailed her the recipe.  We originally got it from a Wake Forest newspaper article like 10 or more years ago while visiting our cousin Charline.

This is easy as pie. Ok, easier....  If you recall my first experience with peach cobblers......

Peachy Picante Pork


1 pound boneless pork loin, or boneless pork chop, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (yea, I don't measure...)
1 - 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (yea, I used the whole packet)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (yea, maybe 3)
1 8-oz jar salsa, chunky style (ok, I added 2 oz more)
1/3 cup peach (or apricot) preserves (I guessed at it)


I rinsed the meat off and just cut it into reasonable one bite pieces.  I tried to be somewhat uniform in sizing them, but I'm not taking bets to that fact.  I layered the pieces with the taco seasoning in a ziplock bag and squish all that business around.  I sealed the bag and tossed into fridge to marinade while out for the day.

I heated a nonstick fry pan and olive oil over medium-high to sort of high heat on the stove top, added the pork and cooked, while tossing around, to brown. Well, till done anyway.  I added the salsa and leftover apricot jam to the pan, lowered the heat, and simmered for 15-20 minutes, or so.  You are supposed to cover the pan, but I didn't. 

If you like rice, prepare the rice per package directions, while the meat is cooking.

You can option for the spicier salsa and spicier taco seasoning, or spicier version of one or the other, or just go mild all the way.  I actually used "peach chipotle salsa". 

The spicy and sweet marry up purdy and look pretty nice as well.

I like it with rice.  I always use regular rice.  I don't go with the minute stuff.

I wonder if lomein noodles would also be an option...?  If anyone tries noodles, let me know!
Also, I'm thinking diced up bell pepper would also be a good addition?  Next time...

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