CRAB PUFFS

PUFFS recipe from Martha at Seaside Simplicity

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
  • Heat oven to 425°.
  • In a medium saucepan heat water and butter until boiling.
  • Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off.
  • Stir in flour and salt.
  • Cook over medium heat until mixture leaves sides of pan in a smooth compact ball, about 2 minutes, stirring vigorously.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add eggs one at the time, beating vigorously until smooth and glossy. Do not under-beat! Drop by teaspoons full onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  • Once puffs are cooled completely split and stuff with crab salad when ready to serve.
This recipe makes about 20 puffs.
CRAB SALAD
8 ounces Louis Kemp Crab, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup minced red onion
salt and pepper
mayo (about 1/4 cup)
  • Mix crab, celery, onion, salt and pepper together until well blended using enough mayonnaise for desired consistency.
  • Place a large scoop of crab salad in each puff.

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

TEX MEX BLT’S minus the lettuce

These little delights are perfect finger foods for ANY football party or get together with lots of people. They have just enough kick to spark everyone’s appetite for more.  The shells get crispy and the cheesy filling gets gooey and they are soooooo easy to assemble while looking like you spent hours in the kitchen.

You can also vary the flavors for some extra alternative flavor.  Use your imagination and make up your own combinations.

TEX MEX BLT’s minus the Lettuce 
3-4 packages phyllo pastry cups – thawed
1 pound bacon, cooked well and crumbled into very small pieces (very fine ground beef/shredded beef)
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese  (today I used a Jack and Skellig Sweet Cheddar combo)
1/2 cup medium Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (not Low-fat)
1 can Rotel original, drained REALLY well (when I use shredded beef I trade this for a 4 ounce can of diced jalapenos that I chop very fine)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Blend the mayonnaise and cheeses together.
  • Fold in the tomatoes and bacon.
  • Scoop evenly into the cups (this will fill about 36).
  • Place on baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until starting to brown and get bubbly.

NOTE:  These shells are pretty small so cut any larger chunks of tomato into smaller pieces to make them easier to fill. I did a couple second run through in my mini food processor.

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

TERIYAKI SEX on a STICK

SEX ON A STICK
1/2 cup Teriyaki marinade (see below)
fresh pineapple cut into chunks
1 pound Chicken tenders or chicken chunks
1 pound large shrimp, tails cut off
1 pound bacon, cut into halves

  • Soak skewers in water for 1 hour prior to assembly.
  • Stack a piece of pineapple with a piece of shrimp and wrap with a piece of bacon.
  • Thread onto skewer to secure.
  • Repeat until all pieces are assembled. (I alternate chicken and shrimp for even skewers)
  • Brush with marinade,
  • Bake 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and brush with marinade again.
  • Bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until bacon is sizzling.
 Can be grilled, but watch for bacon to burn.

TERIYAKI MARINADE
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
2 green onions, minced
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
pinch sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

  •  Whisk together all ingredients until well blended and sugar is completely dissolved.

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

COWGIRL KISSES with RASPBERRY CHIPOTLE SAUCE

COWGIRL KISSES
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons Foothill Salad Seasoning
1 slice bacon per pepper
Jalapeno Peppers
Raspberry Chipotle Sauce (see below)

  • Mix cream cheese and Foothill Salad Seasoning until well blended.
  • Clean and remove seeds from peppers.
  • Fill peppers.
  • Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon.
  • Bake or grill over low heat until bacon is crisp.
  • Serve with raspberry chipotle sauce.

RASPBERRY CHIPOTLE SAUCE
1 cup Raspberry Jam
2 tablespoons diced chipotle peppers
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider or rice wine vinegar

  • Whisk all ingredients until well blended.
  • Chill until ready to serve.
  • Warm before serving.

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

HIP HIP HOORAY FOR BANANA JAM an oldie, but goodie from 2014 and a 2 for 1 with BANANAS FOSTER BUTTER

I’m still working on blog compilation and I ran across this recipe and can’t wait to make some later this week.  I can actually eat this YAY!
I LOVE!!!!! trying new recipes, but more importantly I LOVE!!!!! trying a new recipe that blows my socks off! My friend Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home mom featured a Banana Jam the other day.  I know, sounds weird right?  WRONG!!!! It’s the most fantastic, addictive recipe I’ve tried in a long time and even better it’s SOOOOOOOO simple.

BANANA JAM
4 cups mashed bananas
4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure Madagascar vanilla extract
Juice of 1 large lemon

  • Combine ingredients together and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until your boil.
  • Turn down heat and simmer until nice and thick, stirring frequently.
  • Pour into sterilized jars and water bath for 10 minutes.
  • Once open, refrigerate.

I’ve already added pineapple for a varied flavor and caramel for an ice cream topping.  Next is turning it into a Banana Cream Pie.

And OMG you have to try it on sourdough toast with JIF peanut butter.

Then a few weeks later  I was searching through my box of tricks, er recipes for tailgating recipes I wanted to try and found a recipe for BANANA FOSTERS BUTTER. It just screamed out for me to try it. It was fantastic too and great on Peanut Butter Toast.

BANANA FOSTERS BUTTER
8 ripe, firm large bananas
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons light rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Mash bananas until smooth. Transfer bananas to a pot.
  • Stir in sugars, lemon juice, rum, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Bring to a slow boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
  • Wipe jars clean, add lids and rings.
  • Process filled jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  • Cool on wire racks.

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

CARAMEL GLAZED APPLES

I’ve been making these for years, but they never grow old and are a GREAT fruity pick me up in this cold weather.
4 large Granny Smith apples (I used Honey Crisp, but they’re only available for such a short window of time)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons Kahlua’
4 tablespoons golden raisins

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel and core apples.
  • Slice each apple horizontally into 5 or 6 slices.
  • Place apples in a 9×9 baking dish.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of raisins into each apple.
  • Melt butter and whisk in the Kahlua’.
  • Drizzle over the apples.
  • Bake uncovered 45-60 minutes until fork tender.
  • Baste every 15 minutes.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

  • In a heavy saucepan whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup and a pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Boil without stirring until mixture turns golden.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Slowly stir in the cream.
  • Let cool.
  • To serve, plate apples in their stack, pour caramel sauce down the center of each apple and top with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.

TROPICAL YUM!

Years ago I found this awesome new jello salad recipe over at Mennonite Girls Can Cook called Special Salad. This quickly became a new family favorite! We have even given it a new name and a few changes for our family.

TROPICAL YUM!
1 LARGE box orange jello (next time we’re going to try wild strawberry)**
1 LARGE box lemon jello (we used pineapple)**
3 bananas, sliced (next time we’re going to use 2 and add a kiwi)
1/2 bag mini marshmallows
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup pineapple juice*
3/4 cup FINELY grated cheddar cheese
1 small can mandarin orange segments, well drained, reserving juice (we used a large can)
1- 14 ounce can crushed pineapple, *well drained but reserving the juice and adding enough of the mandarin orange
                                            juice to make 1 cup
  • Mix the two boxes of jello powder together in a large glass mixing bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Mix well until jello has dissolved.
  • Add 2 cups of cold water.
  • Place mixture in the refrigerator until partially set.
  • Mix together the orange segments, pineapple and banana slices.
  • Fold into the partially set jello.
  • If using individual or multiple serving dishes, portion it at this time.
  • Top the jello-fruit mixture with 1/2 bag mini white marshmallows and then put jello back in fridge.
  • Whip together the whipping cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla until thick, cover and place in fridge.
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, *1 cup pineapple juice, egg and flour together in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly until thick..
  • Cool this mixture completely and then fold in the whipped cream mixture.
  • Spread over the marshmallow mixture.
  • Layer the 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese on the top.
  • Return to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly.

NOTE**: This recipe originally called for orange and lemon Jell-o.  I play with the flavors ALL the time.  This time I used lemon, orange crush and strawberry banana small boxes in lieu of the 2 LARGE boxes with delightful results.

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

WEEK 4 UPDATE – RECOVERY IN PROGRESS

The bottom line to me is THIS JUST ISN’T FAIR. I didn’t need this surgery for its original intended purpose, I don’t drink or do drugs. I don’t do fast food. I have cooked from scratch (FRESH perimeter shopping, no boxes or cans) for over 30 years since I was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and Fibromyalgia. That said, it just proves my point that LIFE isn’t FAIR!

Despite doing everything right most of my life, I’ve ended up with the Systemic Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Ovarian Cancer and have now had an unnecessary gastric bypass because of FAILED MESH to fix a hiatal hernia, not once, but twice before!

So, while, it isn’t fair, it is now reality and I’m learning a new normal. My NEW NORMAL isn’t that much different from my old normal food wise except for amount, frequency and the BIG addition (or subtraction) of ALL sugar, most carbs and fat from my diet. I watched my sugar before, but I did take it in my 1 cup of coffee in the morning and the occasional holiday sweet. I REALLY miss coffee.  Now though there is the possibility of “DUMPING SYNDROME” which frankly scares the hell out of me. As time passes the threat of this will become less and less.  The doctor said he truly believes that by the time I’m “released” in March I will be able to eat and drink WHATEVER I want. Here’s hoping!

I had a really cool doctor doing my Upper GI test today and he showed me everything as he was doing it and where the dye was going.  Good news is there are no  leaks!  The freaky thing was his showing me my “new” stomach and it’s actual size. OMG it’s tiny – like a small hard boiled egg and it does not stretch or give at all.

DUMPING SYNDROME happens because there is no longer a “holding” vessel aka your stomach for food to sit in and gradually pass along to the small intestine. When sugars and starches that you have eaten are dumped into the bowel, they may act like sponges, rapidly absorbing water from the body into the intestine.  This leads to a number of symptoms including diarrhea, low blood sugar and feelings of weakness or dizziness.

ALL Food now passes directly into the small intestine hence why the small amounts, more frequently are more important than ever. From what I’ve read up to 75% of gastric patients may experience DUMPING SYNDROME at some point in their life, but it is most common immediately after surgery and may subside over time. The key is to avoid ALL the triggers.

There are two phases of dumping syndrome; early dumping phase and late dumping phase.

Early Dumping Phase 15-30 minutes after eating
• Caused by rapid entry of food into the small intestine
• Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and feeling full after eating only a small amount of food. Weakness, flushing, dizziness and sweating may also accompany early dumping syndrome.

Late Dumping Phase 90 minutes to 3 hours after eating
• Caused by a rapid rise in blood sugar followed by a rapid decrease in blood sugar
• Symptoms may include sweating, fast heart-rate, weakness, feeling tired, anxiety or mental confusion

General Guidelines to Prevent Dumping Syndrome

  • Eat six to eight small meals daily to avoid eating too much at a time.  You may be able to tolerate larger portions over time, but keep servings small at first.
  • Have a protein food with each meal and snack such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, tofu or peanut butter.
  • Do not drink liquids with meals. Drink 30 to 60 minutes before or after meals. Eventually you may tolerate small amounts of liquid with meals.
  • Limit high-sugar foods such as soda, juice, Ensure, Boost, cakes, pies, candy, doughnuts, cookies, fruit cooked or canned with sugar, honey, jams, jellies.
  • Choose high-fiber foods when possible.  These include whole wheat breads and cereals, whole wheat pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose foods high in soluble fiber.  This includes apples, oats, beets, Brussel sprouts, carrots, spinach and beans.
  • Try adding a serving of fat to meals and snacks such as butter, margarine, gravy, vegetable oils, and salad dressings.  Fats slow stomach emptying and may help prevent dumping syndrome.
  • Some people find that avoiding very hot or very cold foods can be helpful.
  • Chew foods well and eat slowly. Try to relax while eating.
  • Lying down right after eating may lessen symptoms.

YAY!! Today we start the new phase of my diet – trying to add back in fresh fruits and vegetables in VERY small amounts. I have to say that I have missed salads the most! I’m praying I can tolerate that salad!

SINFUL ULTIMATE MAC & CHEESE

SINFUL MAC & CHEESE adapted from Incredible Recipes from Heaven
MAC & CHEESE
1 pound macaroni
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
8 slices provolone cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Prepare pasta al dente per package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  • In a large skillet melt the butter over medium high heat, and whisk in flour stirring occasionally until golden.
  • Reduce heat and whisk in the milk, mustard, cornstarch, evaporated milk and all seasonings, one at a time, stirring constantly until it reaches a boil, allow to simmer while still whisking occasionally until SLIGHTLY thick
  • Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar cheese until melted.
  • Add macaroni and lightly toss until evenly coated
  • Pour half of the macaroni and cheese into greased baking dish.
  • Layering evenly with provolone cheese followed by an even layer of sour cream.
  • Pour remaining macaroni over sour cream then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

PANKO TOPPING
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/4 cup pwdered Parmesan cheese

  • In the skillet melt butter in avocado oil over medium high heat.
  • Add breadcrumbs and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  • Cook until crumbs become a golden brown.
  • Sprinkle over top the mac & cheese
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.
  • ENJOY!

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

TORTILLA ROLL-UPS

These are sooooooooo versatile!  you can mix and match flavors anyway you like. I’ve also made them with pepperoni and Italian seasoning with a hint of tomato paste in the cream cheese mixture for that Italian feel. Or with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese – YUMMY! In my haste I did not get a picture of the finished plate and they went fast!

TORTILLA ROLL-UPS
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese softened
7 ounce can roasted chiles, drained well
1 small can chopped olives
1 bunch green onions, minced
1/3 pound ham, chopped fine
flour tortillas

  • In a small food processor blend together the cream cheese, sour cream, green chiles and olives until smooth.
  • Fold the minced ham and minced green onions into cream cheese mixture. If mixture appears thin, chill for 1 hour before filling tortillas.
  • Cut rounded ends of each side of the tortillas.
  • Spread 4 tablespoons of ham mixture on each tortilla leaving 1/2 inch along one edge.
  • Roll up each tortilla ending on the dry edge.
  • Lay side by side on a plate.
  • Cover loosely with saran.
  • Chill overnight.
  • Slice into 1/2 inch rounds just before serving.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN week 1 of 2018

May 2018 be what 2007-2017 were supposed to be!

Honestly, I’m looking forward to better things in the days to come. 

I’m not going to dwell on the past, BUT I am certainly going to focus on making 2018 the best year yet!

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

It’s 22 with the wind chill and I’m staying inside!  Highs this week are only supposed to be in the 30’s before wind chill so I’m avoiding the outside except for my follow up with the surgeon later this week.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Green Tea and Banana

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… quite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing
  • LIVING AREAS… hubby is planning on doing a deep clean today and tomorrow – I can’t wait until I can do it again (the way I like)
  • KITCHEN… pretty clean
  • STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD… nothing much after the weekend storms, just too wet to do anything
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

  • BIG BANG THEORY, YOUNG SHELDON
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, GREAT NEWS
  • MACGYVER, SCORPION, BLINDSPOT, ORVILLE
  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, S.W.A.T.
  • MADAM SECRETARY, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, WISDOM OF THE CROWD
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0
  • Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, FLASH, DC LEGENDS, SUPERGIRL
  • THIS IS US, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE GOOD DOCTOR
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, BAKED IN VERMONT, KIDS BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, WORST COOKS IN AMERICA
  • WHEN CALLS THE HEART

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

LOL, I get to “switch” diets midweek, but I have to tell you there isn’t much difference between them.  And honestly I’m (well, my body) NOT ready for regular food despite the cravings for it.

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

On Christmas eve at a party we go to every year that has tons of scrumptious food that I couldn’t eat, a friend asked me if I had hit the depression yet. I just stared at her for a few minutes and thought what are you talking about?  Then it hit me, what I’ve been feeling is a form of PTSD, especially after the hospital stay from hell starting with a recovery nurse that deserves to be fired – I did speak with the patient liaison about the major mistreatment that occurred.  But, the reality is MY life was completely upended while I slept through surgery. Decisions were made I was not a party to and when I woke up from surgery and was told EVERYTHING about how I lived would be completely different for the rest of my life I have to admit I didn’t even know how to process that information.

Fortunately, I refuse to get depressed.  There are some bad days, but I am coping and will continue to think positively, take it as a challenge and adjust.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

Hubby set Ava up to guard the stockings on Christmas Eve. 😀

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday, Terri at Darling Downs Diaries and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

EGG NOG CUPCAKES with RUM CARAMEL

EGG NOG CUPCAKES with RUM CARAMEL   
Yield: about 18-20 cupcakes
     Recipe adapted from: Annie’s Eats

CUPCAKES

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

¼ cup dark rum or bourbon (optional)

1 cup eggnog

¼ cup oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚.
  • Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; whisk to combine.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, vinegar, and sugar.
  • Beat on medium-low speed until well blended.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling the cups 2/3 full.
  • Bake 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

CARAMEL
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
3/8 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup rum

  • Whisk together the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and whisk over high heat until sugar is dissolved. Don’t stir the mixture but gently swirl the pan until it has reached a dark brown amber color.
  • At that point whisk in the butter. (Careful- it will bubble up- don’t burn yourself.)
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and bourbon.
  • Allow caramel to cool in the fridge before filling/drizzling.

FROSTING
2 sticks of butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons egg nog
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt

  • Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter until it is creamy and pale.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar until thick and creamy.
  • Add the egg nog one tablespoon at a time until the texture seems right.
  • Add the nutmeg and salt and beat for another minute or so.

ASSEMBLY

  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, scoop a tablespoon-size amount out of each one with a small spoon or paring knife.
  • Fill with the caramel.
  • Pipe on frosting and drizzle with remaining caramel or a chocolate glaze which is my favorite.
  • Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg and enjoy!

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.