Wednesday, July 31, 2013

August 2013 Newsletter

Wow! Can you believe tomorrow is the first day of August? They say, "Time flies when you're having fun!" ...I must be having a lot of fun!

Hope this finds all doing well...know there are some recovering from major surgery, some hospitalized and others undergoing continual treatments.

Hugs and prayers to all, whatever your needs!
What Do I Want?

I want you to be happy...happiest with me!
I want to be all the needs in your life!
I want to fill your heart with feelings of wonder...and fulfillment!
I want you to be full of courage and hope...looking forward to each day!
I want you to have the type of friendship that is a treasure...
the friendship of trust and anticipation!
Anticipation of spending our lives together as one...forever friends!
To find the kind of love that is beautiful forever...
time together or apart!
I wish you contentment: the sweet, quiet, inner kind that
comes around and never goes away...that will awaken you each morning!
Of all the things I'll be wanting and wishing for, wherever I am
and whatever I will be the most intricate part!
There will never be a day in my life when
I won't be wishing I were with you...
whether it's in your thoughts, your heart or your arms!
I want us to be happy...happiest with one another!

July 26, 2010

RECIPES: Apples, Apricots, Peaches & Cream Cheese
Peach Gallette
1 refrigerated pie crust
8 oz. cream cheese at room temp
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
4 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 egg, separated
2 cups peeled, sliced peaches or fruit of your choice (Nectarines, Apricots, Berries)
2 Tbsp. sugar for sprinkling (I used Splenda)
Roll pie crust to form 13" circle. Place on baking sheet.
Cream together cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, 2 Tbsp. corn starch, 1 tsp. extract and egg yolk.
Spread on crust leaving 2" edge. Toss together fruit, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Spread over cream cheese mixture. Fold edges of crust up toward center in rustic manner.
Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until golden.

It's called Naked as it doesn't have a prepared crust.
Naked Apple Pie
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. dark rum
1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 apples, pared and sliced
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Sift flour with baking powder. Put all ingredients into a bowl and
mix well. Spread mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate and bake at
350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

from Becky (decolady)


2 cups red or green bell pepper strips
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup (or more, depending on taste) chopped fresh jalapeno peppers
1 cup dried apricot halves, slivered
6 cups sugar
3 oz. liquid pectin

Combine pepper strips, vinegar and jalapeno peppers in a blender or food processor.
Pulse until small chunks remain.
Combine with apricot slivers and sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil.
Boil and stir 5 minutes. Remove from heat; skim off any foam.
Cool 2 minutes; stir in pectin. Pour into sterilized jars; seal at once.
(If desired, process in boiling water bath 15 minutes). Makes 6 1/2 cups.

Mom's Apple Cobbler

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 1/2 Martha White® Self-Rising Flour
1/2 stick Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening Sticks
OR 1/2 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
1/3 cup milk
2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation Directions
1. HEAT oven to 350º F. Place butter in a 13 x 9-inch (3-quart) baking dish; place in oven to melt. Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan; heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Set aside.
2. PLACE flour in medium bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk; stir with fork just until mixture begins to pull away from sides of bowl.
3. KNEAD dough on lightly floured surface just until smooth. Roll out dough to a 12 x 10 x 1/4-inch rectangle.
4. COMBINE apples and cinnamon in medium bowl; stir to mix. Sprinkle apples evenly over dough. Beginning with long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion. Cut into 16 slices. Arrange slices in baking dish over melted butter. Pour sugar syrup carefully around and over rolls. (This looks like too much liquid, but crust will absorb it.)
5. BAKE 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes before serving.
6. Drizzle with glaze.

2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 Tbsp. milk for consistency
Peaches and Cream Cake
A wonderful cake made with canned peaches, cream cheese and instant pudding mix.


3/4 c. self-rising flour
1 pkg. cheesecake or vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounce)
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1 lg (about 28 ounces) can sliced peaches, drained (*** save 3 TBL juice for topping)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


Mix together first 5 ingredients. Spread in lightly greased (deep) pie plate or casserole.
Arrange peaches over batter.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and 3 tablespoons peach juice for about 2 minutes. Spread over peaches, leaving a 1-inch border.
Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over cream cheese mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in 350 degree preheated oven. Cool and refrigerate


Maple Cream Treats
I've made these for years, lost the recipe...but this is my rendition.

1 can Hungry Jack flaky biscuits (10)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup maple syrup
1 stick butter melted
1 cup chopped pecans

In 11x7 baking dish, melt butter...add syrup and pecans. Separate and roll each biscuit into 5" round.
Mix cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, coconut and vanilla. Put heaping spoonful in center of each
biscuit round. Fold sides over to cover filling. Place in syrup mixture seam side down. Bake in 350 preheated
oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. Let stand for 10 minutes and invert on
serving platter.

Paula aka mecookin

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Soup's On!!!

I love soup any time of the year!!! These are a few favorites!

Stuffed Pepper Soup was VERY popular and requested often when I was working at LuVici's in Athens.

Stuffed Pepper Soup
Paula George

2 pounds ground beef
1 -1/2 cups chopped onion
2 quarts beef broth
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups cooked long grain rice
2 cups chopped green peppers
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.Add onions
and saute for 5 more minutes.
Stir in the remaining ingredients except rice & peppers; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes; add peppers & cook for
10 additonal minutes or until peppers are almost tender.
Stir in rice the last 5 minutes of cooking.
 Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Last night we were wanting something light for dinner so I concocted this Summer Veggie Soup. Rick said it was the best homemade vegetable soup that he had ever eaten!

Summertime Veggie Soup
My way, Paula George...
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 lg. potato, peeled & chopped
1 lg. tomato, peeled and chopped
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off
1 cup cut green beans
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. Adobe seasoning
1 zucchini, chopped
1 can Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
In large saucepan, saute onions and celery in Olive Oil for 5-10 minutes
with salt and pepper. Add next 8 ingredients, bring to boil,
reduce heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.
Add Northern Beans and tomato paste and simmer 10 additional minutes.
Adjust seasonings and serve.

Another soup requested often is Colcannon Soup...even got the "thumbs up" from a lady visiting from Ireland!

Colcannon Soup
Paula George

2 Tbsp. Butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 lg. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 qts. chicken broth
2 cups. water
1 cup half & half
1 small head of cabbage, quartered and cut in strips
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup crumbled bacon

In Dutch oven, saute onion & potatoes in butter with salt and pepper for 5-10 minutes over medium heat.
Add chicken broth & water, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 additional minutes until cabbage is crisp tender.

Friday, July 5, 2013

JULY 2013 Newsletter

Hi Everyone!

Hope this finds all doing well. Enjoy the upcoming holiday celebrating safely with family and friends!



Reflecting Independence
by Paula George
June 26, 2006

As Independence Day approaches, many thoughts and memories travel through my
mind and heart.

Thoughts of the freedoms, others have sacrificed home and lives for bringing us
to this point in time.

Families divided, others brought closer as they faced enemies seeking to destroy
these freedoms.

Goodbyes said as loved ones shipped to foreign lands, never to return, yet;
giving their lives to protect their homeland.

Unfortunate the divisions in our own homeland, families divided, others
reunited...infiltrated within by...

Outsiders...taking advantage of our freedoms and government, unwilling to accept
our land according to the laws it was founded upon.

Only taking of the opportunities...unwilling to become an intricate part of the
Independence we have because of lives sacrificed.

Reflections still remain that I have the opportunity to live in "freedom" and I
am a "citizen" of the "Land of Independence".

Refections of those who serve in our military forces...those near and
far...those past and present...those willing to sacrifice home and family to
protect our freedom and homeland..."Reflecting Independence".

I made this a few years ago for Rick's birthday at his request...very rich, made 4 generous servings but it is delicious! He had eaten it in LA while visiting down on the Bayou. He said this was as delicious if not better than he remembered.
Crab Au Gratin is a rich dish that goes well as a side with other seafood main courses such as stuffed flounder.
Mix 1
1 med. onion - finely chopped
1 rib celery - finely chopped
4 leaves green onion tops - finely chopped
1 stick butter
Mix 2
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 Tsp. of dried parsley flakes or small handful of fresh chopped
1 Tsp. Worcestershire
1/4 Tsp. "Old Bay" & 1/4 tsp Tony's seasoning
pinch of garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 egg yolks beaten well
1 pound lump crabmeat (see note below)
Gratin Dishes or shallow casserole
12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, or, your favorite ( I used 1/2 sharp cheddar & 1 half white cheddar)

In a saucepan on med-low heat melt the butter. Add the remainder of mix 1 above. Cook until onions are clear and soft, don't brown.
Stir in mix 2 in the order given (except egg) thoroughly mixing in each ingredient before the next is added. Add the milk a little at a time as you stir. Raise heat to med. and get the mixture bubbling then remove from heat. Take a spoon out to taste. Add the egg and mix well. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Add seasoning if needed (see note below).
Note: Crab meat purchased at the grocery will not be seasoned. If you're using crab meat that you peeled from a batch of boiled crabs it will be seasoned. Keep this in mind when adding seasoning. Using boiled and peeled meat will flavor the dish so taste it before adding any seasoning.
Add crab meat to saucepan and mix well. Fill gratin dishs to 1/4" from top of dish, smooth top with a spoon and sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake at 375ºF until cheese is brown and crusty.

Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp & Pina Colada Dipping Sauce
Serves: 4
Prep. Time: 0:35
1 1/2 cup corn starch - divided
2 cups plain bread crumbs
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cup liquid piña colada drink mix - divided
2 Tbls. powdered sugar
1/3 cup spiced rum
1 lb. raw jumbo shrimp - peeled, deveined, butterflied
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup canned crushed pineapple - drained

-Place 1 cup corn starch in a bowl; set aside.
-Combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup corn starch, and coconut flakes in a separate bowl; set aside.
-Combine 1 cup pina colada drink mix, powdered sugar, and rum in a separate bowl; set aside.
-Coat shrimp in corn starch, then dip in pina colada mixture, then in coconut mixture, back into pina colada mixture, and back into coconut mixture.
-Carefully drop each coated shrimp into 375 degree oil, fry until golden brown; drain on brown paper bags.
-To make sauce, combine 1/2 cup piña colada drink mix, sour cream, and pineapple.
-Dip fried shrimp in sauce.
Corn & Crab Bisque

"This creamy, Cajun crab soup has been in my family for years. It's comfort food during the winter, a 'stick to your bones' soup!!"

Prep Time:
20 MinCook Time:
30 MinReady In:
50 Min
Original Recipe Yield 8 servings
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large celery stalk, minced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
Cajun seasoning to taste
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 bay leaf
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon liquid shrimp and crab boil seasoning
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and black pepper to taste
Additional chopped green onions
1.Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; then gradually whisk in the flour. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, whisking constantly, until a golden roux forms; set aside.
2.Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine the onion, garlic, and celery and cook 1 minute. Add the Cajun seasoning to taste. Stir in the broth, corn, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then pour in the milk, cream, and liquid crab boil. When the mixture begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer 7 minutes. Stir in the roux, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending thoroughly. Continue to cook, on low heat, whisking until mixture thickens. Stir in crabmeat, green onions, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 6 to 8 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Momma's Deviled Crab (Alberta George)
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup milk
Saute flour in butter. Whisk in milk. Heat until
thickened. Remove from heat.
Combine with 1 packet saltine crackers, crushed.
1 sm onion, diced or grated
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 lb. flaked crabmeat
Shape into small mini loaves or spoon into foil
shells. Bake at 400 degrees until golden.

Marinated Shrimp Salad
3 lb. 21-25 shrimp boiled in Old Bay seasoning, peeled & deveined
1 can black olives
1 jar pimento stuffed green olives
6 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 large red onion, cut in circles
1 lg. bottle Zesty Italian dressing
1 qt. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 qt. cherry tomatoes, halved
3 stalks celery chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
Boil & Peel Shrimp. Put all ingredients in glass or plastic bowl, cover and refridgerate for 24 hours before serving.
Shake or stir often. Serve on bed of lettuce with crackers or tortilla chips.

Apple Brown Betty from Ree Drummond
  3 whole Apples, Preferably Granny Smith
  7 slices Wheat Bread
  3/4 cups Regular Salted Butter
  1-1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  3 Tablespoons (to 4 Tablespoons) Water
Preparation Instructions
Peel and thinly slice 3 apples. Slice bread into a small dice, or tear into very
small pieces.
Coat a small baking dish or pie plate with butter. Then add 1/3 of the brown
sugar, 1/3 of the apple slices, and 1/3 of the breadcrumbs. Repeat these layers
twice more, ending with breadcrumbs.
Slice butter and lay slices all over the top of the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle dish
with water and a little more brown sugar, and bake in a 375-degree oven, covered
in foil, until done – about 45 minutes. Remove foil in last few minutes of
baking to brown the top.
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or Reddi Whip, if you’re feeling ornery.
The Cast of Characters: Wheat sandwich bread, apples, brown sugar, butter, and
water. Um…shouldn’t there be something more complicated here? Flour, perhaps?
Baking soda? Whole vanilla beans?

Begin by slicing 7 pieces of bread into thin strips…

Then rotate the slices 90 degrees…

…And slice again to create a dice.

Keep cutting…

Going over it a few times to get the bread into small pieces. You can also tear
the bread into small chunks if that floats your boat.

Now core and peel 3 apples…

And slice them thinly.

And try not to eat them all. Mmmm. Isn’t there something so inviting about a
stack of freshly sliced apples?

Now rub a baking dish very, very generously with butter.

I said very, very generously. Please don’t be afraid of the butter. Because you
know what? You’re going to see a lot more than this here in about 45 seconds.

To assemble…

Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar in the bottom of the dish.

Follow this with a layer of about 1/3 of your sliced apples, then sprinkle 1/3
of your bread crumbs on top.
(You can actually use a little less than a third of your crumbs, as you’ll want
to be sure to have enough for the very top layer.

Next, start in with 1/2 cup brown sugar again…

Followed by a layer of apples…

And another layer of breadcrumbs. Breadchunks. Breadcubes. Whatever.

Repeat this one last time: The rest of the sugar…

The rest of the apples…

And the remaining breadcrumbs. Don’t you just love layered dishes? There’s
something about it that satisfies my deep need for order and symmetry and
Symbiosis? That didn’t fit at all. But oooh, I love that word and I try to use
it in my everyday speech at least twice a month.

Next, slice 1 1/2 sticks butter (regular, salted) and begin placing the slices
all over the top of the breadcrumbs.

I warned you earlier: do not be afraid of the butter. Do not be afraid of the
butter. Do not be afraid of the butter. (Repeat this an additional seven times.
Then go get on the Stairmaster.)
Finally, sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of water all over the top, give it a final
sprinkle of brown sugar, and bake on 375—covered in foil—for approximately 45
minutes. When you have about five minutes remaining, remove the foil from the
dish. You’ll want to watch it in the oven to make sure it doesn’t get too brown.
When it’s hot and bubbly, take it out of the oven.
Mine almost got too brown, but I’m not afraid of a little color in my cookin’.

To serve, just stick a big ol’ spoon in there…

And dish it up.

Paula aka mecookin

Monday, July 1, 2013

For the 4th...need some new ideas?

Meal Plan Monday #19

Everyone seems to always be looking for new ideas for the holidays as they come's some old ones and new ones that may be new to each of us.

Betsy's Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa
shared by DKJ several years ago...

1 pound package frozen niblet corn thawed
3 Tblsp oil (canola or olive)
1 Tblsp. salt
3/4 Tsp cumin powder
6 Tblsp fresh lime juice
5 Tblsp oil
2 Tblsp cider vinegar
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 plum tomatoes chopped
2 jalapeno peppers chopped
1 red pepper chopped
2 tsp minced garlic (from a jar is fine)
2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large avocados chopped
~ Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss corn with 3 T. oil on baking sheet. Bake for 18- 22 minutes until golden brown stirring frequently.
~ Combine salt, cumin, lime juice, oil and vinegar. Shake well in a jar.
~ In a large bowl, combine rest of chopped ingredients. Add beans and
corn. Add avocado, and dressing last and toss gently.
~ Refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Serve same day you make it.
~ Serves 16 easily!
Btw ~ If there were ever a salsa made for those scoop chips, this is it!!!

Note: per DKJ
-I omit the jalapeno
-I add three to four avocadoes instead of the two
-I use 3 tabl. olive oil to roast the corn
-I usually chop four tomatoes instead of three
-I add about 1 cup of the chopped red onion....we love it!
-I use about 1 1/2 bunches of the cilantro in a rough chop
-I chop about 4 cloves of fresh garlic

Greek Orzo Salad

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta

2 (6 ounce) cans marinated artichoke hearts

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 red onion, chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 (2 ounce) can black olives, drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1.Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Drain artichoke hearts, reserving liquid.
2.In large bowl combine pasta, artichoke hearts, tomato, cucumber, onion, feta, olives, parsley, lemon juice, oregano and lemon pepper. Toss and chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.
3.Just before serving, drizzle reserved artichoke marinade over salad.

Optional Dressing instead of the artichoke marinade.
Use 6 tbsp olive oil,
5 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoon dried oregano

Bacon Stuffed Eggs

I have made these since the mid 90' this recipe!

12 large eggs
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Garnish: chopped chives or paprika, if desired

Place eggs in a large saucepan; add water to depth of 3 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.
Drain immediately and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice. Tap each egg firmly on the counter until cracks form all over the shell. Peel under cold running water.
Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks. Mash yolks with mayonnaise. Add bacon and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Garnish, if desired.