Random Thoughts – How to Stay Young

I added this post to my blog in August 2015.  In 2019 I am going through my blog trying to organize it. I thought I would bring this to the front for another read.  My dad passed in 2016, mom in 2017.  Miss them both very much. This was nice to see again.  My mom was my everything that’s all I can say.

When I was in Syracuse in July  my mom was in rehab for a fractured pelvis.  I would visit dad at their assisted living apartment.  (For some reason I can’t call that their home.  They left their home 6 years ago.)  Needless to say I saw a stack of papers on her table, one of which was a story Eric wrote long ago.  I knew in those papers there were probably articles she cherished.  Amongst the papers was this one, “How to Stay Young”.   I read through it as I was sitting at her small kitchen table. I can relate to all 10 of those listed.  So, take a deep breath and enjoy the read.  I know my mom would.  August 044

“How to Stay Young”
(Author; unknown)

1. Throw out non-essential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her. (Well, I am not sure about this one but I will ignore the age part.)

 2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. (This is so true.  Get that negativity out of your life.  Life is way too short to deal with it and it definitely brings you down.)

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ” An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s. (Since my dad has Alzheimer’s I think about this often.  My cooking hobby keeps me busy.  I am always doing something.  If you know me you know I am not idle…EVER.)August 017 66 years together this November!

4. Enjoy the simple things. (Need I say more.)

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. (One person who can make me laugh totally out of control is my brother Scott.  I just don’t see him enough.  When I do, watch out!)

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive. (Believe in yourself and nothing can stop you.)

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge. (Your home is so important.  We are so fortunate to have that, aren’t we?)

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help. (Just take care of yourself, it is not that hard!)

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is. (I don’t know about this one.  My mom gave me lots of guilt trips to travel.  I try it with my kids every once in a while.  They just go to the mall :D)

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. And always remember: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. (You can never tell them enough, can you?)

Hope you enjoyed as much as my mom! Ciao!!

Meatballs – You will LOVE these!

Every single one of us in this house love these meatballs.   You can always cut this recipe in half.  This recipe will make about 24 meatballs.  Our family loves meatballs so cutting in half wouldn’t cut it here!  Simple and Delicious!

Meatballs

Ingredients

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2 slices of white bread
1/2 cup milk
1# ground beef
1# ground pork (If you don’t have you can use ground beef only.)
1/4 cup of diced red onion (you could use white onion too. )
1 Tablespoons chopped parsley (you can use 1 teaspoon of dried or just leave out. I tend to leave it out.)
2 egg
1 cup grated parmesan (I like to grate my own but you can use whatever you like. I also like to use Pecorino Romano or other hard Italian cheeses. Shake it up!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste (I would use 1 teaspoon salt for this recipe)
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1.   In a bowl soak the bread in the milk.  This is called a panade and is a very important step.  This makes the meatballs moist and delish!October 035
2.  In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, ground pork, bread and milk, onions, parsley, eggs, cheese, and garlic.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  
3.  Form the mixture into 1-2 inch since balls.  I like them about 2 inches.
4.  Put olive oil in non stick skillet.  Fry meatballs over medium to medium high heat until browned on each side.  When I make meatballs I usually am adding to a sauce to cook through.

Also, I fry 10-12 meatballs at a time in the skillet.  Don’t over fill the skillet or you will steam the meatballs and not get that golden crust.  Since I usually have more than 10-12 meatballs after each frying session, I wipe out the oil and start with a clean skillet and start all over.  That way they fry up perfect. 😉

If you are going to make the meatballs and not add to a sauce, brown them in the skillet then transfer to a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  You could also cook them through in the frying pan.  I have done it both ways.

Enjoy!!

 

Green Chili -Denver Local Fav

It has been awhile since I made this chili.  Thought I would make some for our Friday instead of pizza this week.  Going to make some grilled cheese sandwiches too!  Looking forward to our Friday evening and the weekend!!

Green Chili

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Ingredients

3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 pounds pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1/2 cubes (I have also used County Style Spare Ribs)
1 medium onion (red or white, whatever you got!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2-10 ounce cans Ro-tel tomatoes and chilies or 2 -15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
**14 ounces roasted peppers (see below) OR 2 – 7 ounce cans of green chilies (I roast the peppers.  It is easy and even more flavorful!)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup chicken broth (you could add another cup of broth.  I thought 1 cup was enough.)

Directions

  1.  In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add pork and saute until browned.  (Do it in batches.  You want to brown the meat not steam it.  If you overcrowd your pan, the meat steams.)
  3. Stir in onion and garlic.  Add flour and stir until all is blended together.
  4. Add tomatoes, green chilies, jalapeno, salt, pepper and sugar.  Stir until blended.
  5. Add chicken broth.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours or until pork is tender.

**NOTE:  Roasting the peppers – I had 3 Poblano, 2 Anaheim and 1 Jalapeno.  Roast all the peppers, whole in the oven at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.  Took out of oven, placed in paper bag for 5 minutes.  Removed from bag, peeled skin, removed seeds, diced into small pieces.

This is Simple and Delicious.  ENJOY!

 

 

Left Over Pizza Breakfast Casserole

I saw this  recipe in “allrecipes Magazine”.  Yes, they not only have their website but they have a nice magazine.  Kent and I enjoy breakfast pizza but have never tried left over pizza in a casserole.  Most every Friday we have pizza.  This Friday we did a cheese pizza and a 3 meat pizza.  The meat pizza this week had sausage, bacon and Canadian bacon.  Ready for a nice “Simple and Delicious” casserole? Here it is:

Left Over Pizza Breakfast Casserole
(compliments of allrecipes.com)

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3 slices leftover sausage pizza, cut into 3/4 inch squares (or 3 cups) Whatever pizza you have left over is perfect!
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced (optional) I say add it in!
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I use kosher salt.  If you use table salt use 1/4 teaspoon. OR; don’t add at all. This was not part of recipe.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste (I lightly sprinkled on top)
Pepperoni slices or any other meat if you desire.  I did not add any more, we had plenty this week! However, Canadian Bacon or some fried bacon would be yummy.

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  (I used my 8 inch square pyrex dish.)
  2. Arrange pizza squares in prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, onion, melted butter, garlic and oregano in a large bowl; pour over pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan and crushed red pepper then cover with foil.
  4. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and top with pepperoni or other meat if using.
  5. Continue baking, uncovered, until eggs are set and Parmesan is melted, about 20 minutes.

With everyone worrying about calories in my world I am going to start posting calories if noted in recipe.  Per 1 cup serving: 446 calories.  Have a piece or 1/2 a piece, it is worth it!

Enjoy!!IMG_9287

Baked Oatmeal with Berries and Nuts

A friend made a similar recipe at work for us one day last week. I thought it was quite tasty and decided to try it at home.  Here is what I ended up doing.  Simple and Delicious!

Baked Oatmeal with Berries and Nuts
(This is a single serving.  You can double it and make more!)

 

1/2 cup whole milk (Use any milk you like.)
1/4 cup steel cut oats (You can use regular oatmeal)
2 large strawberries, diced
1/4 cup mix of fruit (I used blueberries and blackberries. Ran out of raspberries! How about a nice, ripe banana? Apple with cinnamon? What do you like? )
1-2 Tablespoons nuts (I used walnuts for Kent’s. No nuts for me! You can use whatever type of nut you like!)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees
  2. Using a 16 ounce baking dish (I used my trusty pyrex bowl) place fruit on bottom.
  3. Add honey, brown sugar and salt to fruit. Mix together.IMG_9217
  4. Add milk and oatmeal to separate bowl or pyrex cup, stir together.
  5. Pour oatmeal mixture over fruit.
  6. Place in oven for 30-45 minutes. (This will depend on the oatmeal you use.  I used Steel Cut Oats so it took 45 minutes.)
  7. If the bowl seems too full, place it in oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I am not a fan of messes!!

Enjoy!!

Peas and Macaroni – Simple and Delicious

When I was younger every Friday my dad made dinner.  My favorite Friday dinner was when he made Peas and Macaroni.  I enjoyed watching him make it (he always seemed happy). I also enjoyed eating it, lots of it!!  I know this was a meal he had when he was growing up.  This is another “Depression” food but as far as I am concerned it is definitely not depressing!  One thing though, my mom always bought the LeSeur brand canned peas.  I also still buy the same peas.   Sometimes I will use frozen peas and a can of chicken broth.  It just doesn’t seem the same.  When I make this meal all I can  think of is my dad getting home from work on a Friday night, having a beer in the breezeway sitting on the steps, then coming in the kitchen and making the most delicious meal for all of us.  Don’t knock it until you have tried it!

Peas and Macaroni

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Ingredients

1 pound pasta (I use large elbows, you can use whatever you like.  I find the smaller pastas go better with this dish.)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 large or 2 small green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans of peas, not drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1.  Cook pasta according to directions on box.
2. While pasta is cooking add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to fry pan over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and peppers.  Cook until onion opaque, about 8-10 minutes.
3.  Add garlic, oregano and basil. Stir together.
4.  Add 2 cans of peas. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
5.  In the meantime drain pasta in colander, then put back in sauce pan.
6.  When peas are heated through add to the pasta.  Mix the pasta and peas together.

Enjoy!

Tarator (Bulgarian Cold Cucumber Soup)

This is one of Martin’s favorite soups.  Since he has moved to NYC I am moving some recipes he enjoyed at home to the front of my blog. Simple and Delicious!

Tarator

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Ingredients

1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced or grated. (I generally grate)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk greek yogurt (not low fat or no fat, use the real stuff please)
1 – 2 cups water (depends on the consistency you like. I generally use 1 cup)
2 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 Tablespoon oil (I use vegetable, olive or sunflower oil depending on what is in the pantry)

Directions

1.  Mash the garlic and salt together in a large bowl.
2.  Add grated cucumber to the garlic and salt mixture.  Mix together.March 17 2013 321
3.  Add yogurt to above and mix together
4.  Add water.  It should be the consistency of whole milk.
5.  Add dill and season with more salt to your taste.
6.  Serve chilled.

Enjoy!

Tzatziki

Simple and delicious!

Tzatziki

May 2014 083

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (I use whole milk yogurt.  You could strain the yogurt.  I skipped that step.)
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mint or dill (Actually, I prefer mint flavor over dill, kids like the dill and Kent doesn’t care!)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

1.  Grate or dice the cucumbers.  (I grated and then chopped) Wrap the diced/grated cucumber in a cheesecloth.  Squeeze over the sink and try to get rid of as much liquid as possible.  Cucumbers are very watery. ( If you don’t have cheesecloth, use a paper towel or thin dish towel.)
2.  Add the cucumbers to the yogurt along with the rest of the ingredients.
3.  Mix well and refrigerate 1-2 hours.  This is a flavorful condiment for your falafel, duner or any sandwich.  You could use as a salad dressing.

Enjoy!

Banana Bread

This recipe is from a Betty Crocker cookbook I have had forever. I have baked this bread for as long as I have been with my husband and that is 36 years.  Timeless, huh!!  Our whole family enjoys this recipe every. single time.  As always, Simple and Delicious!

Banana Bread

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Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 medium mashed ripe bananas (I used a fork to mash them is separate bowl)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup water
1 2/3 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (we don’t usually use nuts)

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of loaf pan.  I use a 9x5x3 inch pan.  I also mix this recipe by hand.  No stand up mixer for this one!
2.  Combine sugar and butter in large bowl.
3.  Mix in eggs until well blended.
4.  Add bananas and water and blend together.
5.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients until moistened.  (If you like nuts, add now)
6.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.
7.  Loosen sides of loaf pan and remove from pan.  Cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

 

Ethiopian – Doro Wat -Chicken Stew

Paige and Lily went to Chicago over the summer and mentioned they went to an Ethiopian restaurant. They really enjoyed the flavors.  I have been looking for a recipe since they put that in my mind.  Doro Wat is a slow cooking chicken stew with the main spice being Berbere. I have the recipe for Berbere below or you can get it at Penzeys in Appleton. I follow Festival Foods and saw this recipe while scrolling through Twitter over the weekend.  I enjoyed the flavors, Kent not so much.  See what you think!

Slow Cooker Doro Wat

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Ingredients

2# boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon, need the juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger (I used 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 Tablespoons Berbere spice (see below)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
4 hard boiled eggs, shelled and halved (I did not do this – next time!)

Berbere Spice  (This makes a little over 4 Tablespoons.  I used it all in my stew.)

2 1/2 Tablespoons sweet or smoked paprika (I used combination of both)
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds  (I used ground fennel for a substitute)
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions for the stew

  1.  Season chicken breasts with lemon juice and set aside for 15 minutes. (that is about how long it takes to make the Berbere)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and ginger.  Cook until softened – about 5 minutes.  Place onion mixture in slow cooker. (you could also slow cook in a dutch oven – 275 degrees for 2-3 hours)
  3. Place the chicken breasts on top of the onion mixture.  Add turmeric, Berber spice mix, tomato paste and chicken broth.  Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.  (slow cookers differ in times so be sure your chicken is cooked through)
  4. Add eggs to the dish and serve warm with rice or flatbread

Simple and Delicious.  Enjoy!!