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Fall is here! Clean out that fridge and freezer!

Well. Just six weeks ago my husband and I moved from one side of the country (east) to the southwest again. Now that the move is over fro...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Greetings all, I've moved twice since my last post, lost another cute fur baby who passed away at 14 years of age. Went through the process of a  female type of surgery and am in the throes of nursing my husband back from the brink of the insanity of chemotherapy. Also, in the planning stages of execution of a wedding for my one and only daughter. Life has been interesting if nothing else.

I've managed to keep the fires of writing alive, but am postponing releasing my next cookbook and novel until I have completed my next year or two of non-profit management due to conflicts.

Living out of a suitcase on and off between Austin, Tx and in San Antonio, TX in the last three years has been crazy busy. While in line for tamales at Delicious Tamale Factory I saw an old college friend. I called out to her and was able to get her to turn around. After not seeing her for 30 plus years she had not a clue who I was. But that changed about 15 minutes later, she was as dumb struck as I was. We have rekindled our friendship, food is at the root of this alliance, we are on a trek for the best  of everything edible we can find.

Below you will find some of my tamales, gorditas and there are other recipes to keep you busy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spring into 2013

Over the Christmas holidays in 2012 we moved to central Texas. Nursed my dog who died of epileptic seizures and took some time to care for him as he became incapacitated due to frequent  seisures caused by a brain tumor. Rebounded into a culinary instructor position but one fine day after Capone passed away, I had a serious car accident. I was t-boned, my car was totalled and I took time off to recover.  Hence the absence from writing while my right hand healed, yes, I am right handed!

To my readers, sorry for the delay in writing more as I get back being to being normal again!  Here is a healthy dog bone recipe which I made for my dog frequently at the end which was all natural.

Dough One:
4 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
1-1/3 cups water
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 egg
Dough Two:
4 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup banana, mashed
1 egg
1-1/4 cups water
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
Combine all Dough One ingredients and mix thoroughly. Knead on a lightly floured surface. Set aside. Combine all Dough Two ingredients and mix thoroughly. Knead 
on a lightly floured surface.
Roll each dough separately to a 1/8 inch thickness, into rectangles. Lightly brush a little water over the top of the light-colored dough. Place the darker colored dough on top, then roll up like a jelly roll. Wrap the roll in 
plastic and chill in the freezer for one hour. Cut the roll into 1/4 inch slices. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for one hour.
Makes a bunch!

I am going to publish my blog to a living ebook. Details will be forthcoming shortly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spanish tapas

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

I sit here in my bed planning the last things I need to do for dinner tomorrow with family. My mind turns to the fact that I will  be responsible for more than just the Appetizers (TAPAS) and knowing that I am always asked to put finishing or correcting touches to food by my family. Thanksgiving is a time of retrospection, being with family and sharing the good as well as the bad. Some years it feels like there is more bad than good, but thankfully we remember the good times more often than not. Must be these rose colored glasses I wear!

Recently I did a radio interview about one GFWC Ruidoso Woman's Club food demo Program I put together for them for the month of November. I fell upon my mothers Spanish heritage and put together simple Tapa recipes. I have learned to always try to establish a connection with my audience. At first, when I was trying to do demos, I was not used to sharing info about myself, and talking to them like they were my sister ....which I had not seen in a long time. Be yourself - the best advice I ever received.

Break the ice!

Seems like I always have to vary the recipe and think on my feet when an ingredient is not available or somehow never makes it on the table. I have found my sous chef may not know how to do something in a manner I prefer (sometimes they are a volunteer) so, I tend to teach as I am doing the demo. But then demos are all about teaching. Go with the flow! It always turns out fine.

Here are a couple of recipes. Feel free to modify the recipes as you wish. After all these recipes are a mere suggestion.

Sausage Marinated in Red Wine

1 or 2 links of Spanish Chorizo (or good sausage)
1 bottle of Rioja red wine (or other good red)
4 cloves of garlic
Handful of chopped fresh oregano (or basil)
Black Pepper
1 Lemon, zested

 In a large saucepan submerge sausages. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a light boil, prick sausages. Cook for 15 minutes, cut into 1 inch pieces.

Spanish Bread

Use any white bread dough recipe but add 1/4 live oil to the mix. Proceed per the instructions to make the dough.

Mixing the Yeast, with water and a pinch of sugar. I added this liquid to the flour mixture. Used the dough cycle on my bread maker.
When the dough was mixed and had risen once, I formed the dough into two loaves. Rubbed the following mixture on the dough. Slashed the loaves and let it rise once again.

Rub the bread dough with 1 overripe tomato, garlic, olive oil and salt. Bake per directions. Serve with fresh olive oil, Spanish Wine and the sausages.

 Fresh Baked Spanish Bread!

Note: Tomato Pie ingredients (see recipe in previous post) in the background I made a Tomato pie, a recipe which a friend in Alabama verbally described and served in a fundraising luncheon I coordinated for the Class of 2012 Assistance League of Birmingham.  In the background, you see two baked pie shells, and 1 thinly sliced tomato marinating in balsamic vinaigrette, top the pie crust with one layer of tomatoes. Mix with equal parts of Mayo, Monterrey Jack and Colby jack , which are mixed well.

Great as alternative food choice for people who do not like the Spanish Foods.

My Optional Garnish: Top it all with chopped fresh Basil and bake until the cheese is bubbly.


Pictures of my Spanish Tapas Demo
Tapas Tasting

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baking while on the road....

So, you think you have it hard trying to figure out how to make a recipe at home. Try it on the road!

While traveling back and forth from Alabama to New Mexico and back again, I have found a few shortcuts to cooking on the road. First of all, when you are literally traveling or caravaning with significant other, dogs and at times kids in a truck full of your basic necessitites you learn to streamline. Choices are limited by how much you can carry in your vehicle, cooler, how good your memory may be to make recipes on the road. The there is the limitation of making food with very few ingredients and tools. If you love to camp, you may have already conquered these obstacles. But for some of us who are used to the creature comforts of home -- it can be daunting. Lets throw in the limited mobility of your significant other (might have broken a bone - as my husband did and was on crutches) or perhaps the transmission went out and your are crammed into a Penske truck with your dogs and your husband and your mobile belongings (lets say home lies about 16 hours away, which it did). My significant other was a little too enthusiastic about moving a 200+ lbs table by himself, he dropped it on his foot and is in hard cast for 6 weeks - only 4 to go. Kill me now!

The scenario is set.

You have room in your cooler for the basic sandwich suppplies and some sandwich veggies, have a tote bag full of fruit, paper goods, plastic ware and some snack foods like nuts, seeds, cookies and so forth. You have checked into a place which allows pets (we have two small dogs). How can you avoid days and weeks of eating hamburgers, McDonalds, Wendys and other fast food including Fried Chicken? It does bad things to your wallet, your waistline and your cash/bank account. After all, we are feeding our cars gas too and that costs Big money!

If, you are fortunate enough to have a kitchenette in your room, you can bake a few things. Use flour tortillas to make a mexican pizza - Toast the tortilla in the oven or in a skillet ( if you have one), then add thin sliced tomatoes and top with grated cheddar cheese. Delicious! Alternatively add Shredded Cheese and Beans (Get those instant dehydrated beans and reconstitute with water microwaving for 5 minutes), warm the taco in the microwave, skillet or oven. Easy Tacos on the road.

Save those extra tacos (wrap in plastic wrap) for breakfast in the morning (love those Reynolds Wrappers)- when you are on the road it makes travelling easier and faster. Those Reynolds Wrappers are also a find (use to line a baking sheet or if you have no baking sheet! Go to the local dollar store and get a pack, along with Sandwich and gallon zip lock bags and water (12 bottles for a buck) - you can't go wrong for a buck apiece!

Biscuits are wonderful too, get a bag of Grands frozen biscuits and bake them all at one time according to the directions. Store remainer in the Fridge, remove as needed. Or, you can store in the cooler in bags (two in each - you can use them as needed). There are also great buys in the breakfast meat section. Have you ever tried Turkey Sausage? They make great breakfast sandwiches at home (add cheese and an egg for extra protein) or on the road.

But the most helpful things I have found are:   Frozen Pie crusts!

You can make a quick empanada (hand held pie) out of anything - think past the apple pie - have sliced meats for sandwiches? Take out that ham and cheese and make some hand pies (add cold cuts, and cheese and bake in the oven till golden brown; or add beans and cheese as a filling, bake in the oven until golden brown at 350 degrees.

Yes, I carry extra pieces of Parchment paper for traveling. Not sure about those cooke sheets which we encounter on the road. Call me paranoid!


Have you tried tomato pie? You are in for a treat - tastes delicious.

Tomato Pie

1 large Roma Tomato
1/2 cup salad dressing
1 pie crust baked
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Thinly slice a large roma tomato (from your sandwich making ingredients), add 1/2 cup of salad dressing (balsamic or italian work great), marinate the tomatoes in the dressing for 30 minutes in fridge. You can use the dressing later for your salad afterwards (I buy spinach, cucumbers and carrot sticks). Using a bakign sheet or pie tin (if you have one), lay out a pie crust and prick well then bake. When the crust is browned and cooled then remove the tomatoes from the marinade, set aside the marinade and place tomatoes in the bottom of the pan. Add cheeses to the mayonaise and mix well. gently spread the cheese mixture over the pie. Bake until bubly and golden brown.  Makes six servings.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall is here! Clean out that fridge and freezer!

Well. Just six weeks ago my husband and I moved from one side of the country (east) to the southwest again.

Now that the move is over from Alabama to New Mexico, life is becoming somewhat normal. The move to the Southwest where my husband originally came from, was an ordeal. Moving from a larger city to a small rural village presents some unforeseen problems. We adapt as we find the need. So, you must learn to improvise and modify your recipes on an ad-hoc basis.

We also just recently put our home up for sale. We are looking towards moving to an area where the altitude is not as high and downsizing our home is looking very much as something we want to do. Most baby boomers are in this frame of mind, the kids leave for college, some never to return except for holidays. This is due to the fact that we are looking forward to our retirement years and know that we don't need three extra bedrooms and two extra bathrooms to clean! Cooking in a home where your private spaces are being viewed is another issue, short cooking times, not allot of mess to clean up after each meal and keeping the house staged -- presents problems as we cook, bake and grill our food. More on quick recipes to get us all through the next few months to come, including the mad Christmas rush as we all entertain family and friends.

Also, waste not. Use your leftovers and get that stuff out of your freezer cause the holidays season is just around the corner. Hm, makes one think...Christmas cards and Christmas gifts...its time to start thinking about those things! as your put away your Halloween decorations, see what you need to throw away, go out and see what great bargains there are for next years Halloween decor. Next holiday is Thanksgiving. You need to pull out your Christmas list, order cards now and start to declutter your OLD or broken Xmas decorations.

A few ideas for leftovers to make great quick and easy meals with left over bread

1) use leftover bread to make french toast. Serve with thick sliced bacon, fresh fruit and some WARM fresh homemade strawberry syrup (add strawberries to pan along with a couple of tablespoons of water,  sugar and simmer until the fruit starts to break down ~ 15 minutes).
2) make croutons with left over bread. Simply add to a stick of butter in a plan, coat bread cube and brown on all sides, add Parmesan, Italian seasoning or seasoning of choice. Serve on your salad or on top of hot tomato soup.
3) make grilled cheese croutons. Scrumptuous with tomato soup, butternut squash soup or cream of arugula soup.

pics are being sorted and will be added shortly!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Putting it all together

Life simply put, has been hectic lately.

My husband and I are in the process of moving back to our home in New Mexico from Alabama. It has been really a trying time to move piecemeal, take our dogs with us, find accomodations for all of us. Not being able to cook, eating on the road has taken a toll on me! I have just found my set of knives in the box we packed (due to the fire - more about that later in this post). Gained 8 lbs and desire to have a kitchen to cook in again.

Once I arrived in NM -- I was looking forward to being able to cook in my own kitchen. The kicker is that without proper utensils and pans, then having to prepare to evacuate our home due to little bear fire in New Mexico life dealt me a bunch of bothersome hurdles. So, we began our list of things to save, funny how while you may have possessions, it the things which you hold near and dear to your heart which really help you reset your priorities about what is important in life. So, we began our gathering phase of pulling together all our papers, pcs, personal belongings, and medications. Found a store room in  a nearby town away from the fire and took our precious cargo there. Two days have passed since we arrived from a cross country drive starting in Alabama and ending in New Mexico. We suddenly we had to prepare our house for a possible evacuation due to a forest fire in New Mexico..

But, before I digress with photos of the fire way down below...let us review the basics of creating a miripoux, trinity, or as I call it a sofrito as it is called in Hispanic cooking. First crush the garlic, add salt to the garlic and mince garlic, add your vegetables and sauté in a pan with olive oil mixed with butter or corn oil. NEXT....Lets try to create your basic chicken and rice dish using the principles you have learned so far...

Lets put together a meal of Chicken and Rice with Borracho beans. Pull together the ingredients ( will add the recipe down below:

Add 1 Tbsp of Oil to your dutch oven, add 1 cup of long grained white rice. Brown the rice over med-high heat until you can see the rice color change to a nutty brown.

Next, take out the following ingredients:
1 can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Green pepper
2 cloves of Garlic
1 rounded teaspoon of Cumin
1 lemon, juiced

Using a good knife, slice one side of a green pepper. Julienne it, or you may just set aside the green pepper.

Saute chicken in the pan, making sure to brown both sides.

Crush Garlic in a molcahete, add cumin seeds and grind fine, you may add 3 - 4 peppercorns in the molcahete and crush with the mano negro. Add a little water to make a soupy paste. Add to the Chicken and Rice pot. Drop in the bell pepper and the Lime juice. Add 1 Tsp Pepper, the cumin and rice. Simmer for 45 minutes. Serve!



For the borracho beans you need a few items:  1/2 to 1 lb pinto beans, pinto bean seasoning or you can substitute a can of tomato sauce, 1 tsp pepper (add salt after you cook beans), 1 can of beer, 1 peeled garlic clove per 1/2 lb beans, 2 slices bacon, water to cover the beans up to 5" above beans. Save the chicken for the chicken and rice dish.

Clean and soak beans overnight in 1 tsp baking soda, water in the crock pot of the slow cooker you will be using.

The next morning rinse the beans 3 times, discard water. Add beer, and rest of ingredients. Cook on high in the crock pot for 6 hours, checking the water frequently and stir occasionally. Spoon out into bowls or on a plate and enjoy!

Here the pics of the LITTLE BEAR FIRE IN RUIDOSO:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

All About Rice!

I've had so many people ask "How do you make Spanish rice?" Well, there is a little trick to making great Mexican rice , Southwest Style rice, Mexican or Tex-Mex Rice.  My grandmother taught me how to make her Rice recipe in her kitchen in Laredo, TX in the 60's. She served this rice in her Mexican Restaurant. She told me using lemon juice in the recipe would make the rice light and fluffy, and it does! It works every time! No fail!

I was about 9 years old when she taught me how to make the rice, I wrote the recipe down and use the basic recipe to this day. However, I have added my own variations below!

Here is the basic recipe, variations are included below.


1 cup long grain rice
1 Tbsp Corn Oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 chopped onion
1/2 can tomato sauce
1 teas ground cumin, scant
1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 teas salt
1/2 teas fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup green pepper
1/2 lemon

First crush the garlic, add salt to the garlic and mince garlic.  Next, brown rice in the oil in a medium skillet over med-high heat, stir frequently until the rice is browned lightly like a nutty brown (but not burned). Add onion immediately and cook another 30 seconds, stirring quickly to keep from burning. Add water to pan (will cause steam to form), tomato sauce, rest of spices and stir quickly. Add green pepper which has been cut into strips. Add 2 cups of water, Cover tightly. 


Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. No peeking! Do not lift the cover for 5 minutes AFTER you turn off the burner! NO EXCEPTIONS!


Spanish Rice: Omit cumin powder, proceed as normal.

Southwestern style:  Add 2 -3 Hatch Chile Peppers, chopped  (add to the rice with spices).

Mexican or Tex-Mex: Add 1/4 cup Peas with spices and proceed as normal.