Chemotherapy Session (#1)

So, for those of you who do not know (or know me personally) my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2008. Fast forward a couple of months (I don't think it's right to disclose her personal information) we are now at the point of having to do chemotherapy.

I'm happy, and blessed, to report that all has gone well with her first session. She's feeling good and causing trouble around the doctor's office (anyone that knows my mom will understand). We don't go back for a few weeks so she has time to practice all of her jokes on the family.

A little bit of information about the session is that (her's) is held in a "group type" setting. There's about 6-8 people in a semi-circle, all receiving their treatment. Patients can talk to one another, have a visitor, read, eat, drink, watch their iPods, play on their laptops or get some rest. So don't be afraid if you find yourself in this situation ... read up about it, and you'll be ok.

Keep us in your prayers.... and don't forget to go to (or schedule) your check ups!


Buttermilk Biscuits

Check out this recipe that I tried from The Neeley's (a show on Foodnetwork).
I made "mini" biscuits... I really like this recipe and think it's a quick way to make homemade biscuits without all of the fuss.

Click HERE for the recipe.

Homemade Beignets

So these little treats are "all the rage" in the Big Easy.
Here's a version that Mrs. Paula Deen taught me.

RECIPE: (note - I 1/2 the entire recipe and ended up with like 40)
1 1/2 c luke warm water
1/2 c sugar
1 envelop yeast
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 c evaporated milk
1/4 c shortening (not melted)
7 c bread flour
confectioner's sugar

Activate yeast in water and sugar; allow to rest and bubble for 10 minutes.
Mix together eggs, salt and milk together. Add milk mixture to yeast, combine.
Add in 3 cups of the flour. Add shortening, 'cutting' it into the mixture. Add remaining flour.

Turn mixture out onto a flour surface. Knead until combined. Place dough in an oiled bowl and rest for 2 hours in a warm (not hot) place. After 2 hours, roll dough out to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Cut into squares and fry in 350 degrees, until golden brown.

Drain slightly and then dump in a bag filled with confectioner's sugar to coat.

NOTE: be careful and constantly turn these little guys or they will bust open and you won't be able to keep them on one side.

Sirloin & Blue Cheese Shepherd's Pie

So there's a first time for everything, and since this weekend turned out to be a pretty cold and windy one, this recipe was a welcomed surprise (and addition to my recipe collection).

2 lbs ground sirloin
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 medium onion
1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
4 large potatoes
1 pkg blue cheese, crumbled
sour cream
olive oil
chives, diced - divided
1 egg yolk, slightly beatened

Brown bacon in a skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil, drain bacon pieces on paper towel. Add sirloin to bacon grease and brown up, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add onions and mushrooms, 1/2 way through cooking. Drain.

Meantime peel and boil potatoes until soft. Mash potatoes, add 1/4 c sour cream, chives and blue cheese to potatoes. Add egg yolk. Combine thoroughly.

In a casserole dish, layer the sirloin mixture at the bottom of the pan (spreading to all sides). Repeat this process with potatoes.

Brown the top of the dish in your oven (preheated to 375), uncovered for about 5-10 minutes - the egg will help the potatoes to brown.

Top with remaining chives and bacon pieces.

Tomato-Shrimp Appetizer

What a wonderful way to eat healthy and gourmet at the same time.
The sauce just tastes like a mild cocktail sauce, so add more or less horseradish as necessary.

16/20 shrimp (about 10)
2 beef steak tomatoes, sliced thick
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c horseradish
hot sauce

Rinse shrimp. Arrange tomato slices on platter, top off with shrimp.
In medium bowl combine remaining ingredients, season to taste. Top shrimp
with sauce, or arrange in center.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's (green) mud in your eye.

1 bottle of beer (your favorite)
3 drops green food coloring

Combine and drink :O (*hiccup*)

Banana Bread, sans nuts

Ok... so I tried this recipe again, because I had some bananas that were getting old faster than we were consuming them (maybe it had something to do with me placing them in the fridge :|) Anyway, I decided to have a second go-round with the banana bread that I made previously.

This time I decided to make the recipe, as it was written, and the results were not that great. The bread was slightly 'stiffer' and did not have a moist texture at all. If I made this again, using the shortening, I would lessen the cook time by almost 15 minutes and probably add more bananas to balance out the dryness.

Check out the recipe HERE!

Macaroni & Cheese-Its

Yup... that's right. You read the title of this blog correctly... Mac-n-Cheese-It's.
So, you know how some chefs/cooks top their mac-n-cheese with either bread crumbs or parmesean cheese to add a little texture to this comfort food, well, I decided (after seeing something similar on Dinner, Dives and Drive-Ins) to top my dish with this kid-friendly treat.

Not only does it add a crunch, but it adds more (*cough*) artifical cheese flavor to the dish. (ahem).

1/2 lb elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard
3 c milk
1/2 c yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 large egg
12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1 c Cheese-It crackers

Preheat oven to 350.
Cook macaroni, in large pot of water, until al dente (6-8 minutes).
Melt butter in small pot, whisk in flour and mustard for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Stir in milk, onion, bay leaf and paprika. Simmer for around 10 minutes (careful, don't burn mixture). Temper in the egg then add the cheese to the mixture. Drain pasta and place into a casserole dish. Pour cheese mixture over the top of pasta and be sure and coat all of the macaroni.
Melt remaining butter in a saute pan and add Cheese-Its to coat. Add crackers to the top of the casserole and bake for 30 minutes.
Let dish rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Spiced Up Green Beans

Everything tastes better with bacon, I always say. And bacon tastes best with garlic and onions sauteed with it. So, to get my kids to eat some veggies, "sometimes" I add a little pork fat to help them slide down their throats.

olive oil
bacon, 4 slices chopped
frozen cut green beans, 1 pkg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small onion, diced

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet. Sauteed onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper for 3-4 minutes. Add bacon pieces and cook until bacon begins to brown and get crispy, about 10 minutes. Add green beans and cook until they are no longer frozen but still have a little "crunch."



When you don't feel like cooking, and you don't want a Big Mac... find your local Mexican food "hole-in-the-wall" and order up some ceviche.

Eat with tostada chips and some lemon juice and "tapatio".


Tri-color Orzo

Instead of serving rice, on this particular night... I decided to entertain with ORZO (the other pasta product :)

olive oil
1/4 c frozen peas
1/4 c frozen corn

Prepare orzo per package instructions. Drain.
Pour orzo onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cook both peas and corn per package instruction.
Mix remaining ingredients into a large bowl and add orzo.

Garlic Rub Steak

Sooooo, how are you doing?
I know it's been a while, but believe me, there is a VERY GOOD EXCUSE as to why I've been absent from blogging. Let's just say there's a MOUNTAIN of personal issue that I've dealing with, and I have been in the MOOD to blog.

But I'm back now... so here's what's been cooking:

1 t-bone steak
olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
handful of sliced mushrooms
worcestershire sauce (phew... try and spell that without looking at the bottle)

Preheat oven to 375.
Marinate steak in worcestershire sauce, in the fridge, for at least 30 minutes. Drain. Slice open (1) large garlic clove and rub the meat with the open side of the garlic; rub both sides. Season with salt and pepper.
Saute (1) sliced garlic clove and mushroom slices in olive oil for 3 minutes. Place marinated meat inside pan, and cook for 5 minutes on both sides.

Place entire pan into oven and cook for another 15-20 or until the meat is the desired temperature.


El Salvadorean treat

My favorite "pupusa-ria" (sp?) is going out of business. This place has been the closest that my husband and I have found to some really great pupusas. It's local, it's cheap and it's good. We're going to miss those days of just running over and grabbing 6 pupusas to chow down with cabbage, plantains, and empanadas.


Here's some of our favorite dishes:
Pupusa (with pork, bean and cheese)

Empanada (fried banana goodness)

Plantains (w/cream and beans)

Our after dinner drink... something with fruit (so good)

Artichoke Heart Flowers

As you may have noticed in my 2 previous posts, I also had some artichoke hearts creating a beautiful arrangement, and holding all of my wild rice in one place. I love artichoke, especially with some kind of butter, garlic, sour cream "concoction" to go with it... yum!

1 artichoke heart
olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 c sour cream

Cut a portion of the stem off the artichoke. Place in pan with 1/4 c water, salt and 1 tsp olive oil. Let the water boil, covered, until the pedals on the artichoke open up and become soft; 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter and garlic in a small pan, then allow to cool. Add to sour cream and use as a dip for the artichoke flowers.
Pull the pedals off the cooked artichoke, dip into sour cream and SMILE!

Lemon Basil Swordfish

...so as I was saying in my previous post, my husband doesn't like salmon, the other fish I was serving for dinner last night. Instead of making him "choke down" my other creation, I opted to make him his own fish dinner. He likes swordfish... so I fed him swordfish.

1 swordfish steak
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp basil, fresh or dry

Rinse and prepare fish.
Combine oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper into bowl; whisk until combined.
Brush both sides of fish with mixture. Lay fish onto grill and cook until done.

I used my George Foreman grill and I cooked it a total of 7 minutes (4m the first time then an additional 3m - after I flipped it)

Pecan/Walnut Crusted Salmon

In my quest to eat (just a little bit) healthier, I have made up my mind to add more fish to my diet. As it stands I rarely eat fish (of any kind) on a normal bases. Last night I decided to try and go "all gourmet" and make salmon.

But not just any salmon.... pecan crusted. (and when I ran out of pecans... I still had walnuts available :)

My husband isn't fond of salmon, so for him we made swordfish (recipe in the other blog).

salmon (cut into strips or whole)
Pecans, crushed (or walnuts; enough to coat the amount of fish you purchase)
2 eggs
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place flour, nuts and egg into their own separate, shallow container; whisk eggs.
Season fish with salt and pepper then coat in flour; egg, and crushed nuts. Fry fish until slightly darker than golden brown, over medium heat, and drain excess oil onto towel. Place fish in preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. You'll have to "fork test" the fish because it's hard to see if the fish is done through the pecan crust.

Serve with favorite veggies and enjoy a healthy meal (forget about the frying) :)