Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Catching Up

Whispers of Moon

The moon looks down and collects the tales of the earth.

Poets and storytellers overhear her

as she whispers them as secrets to the stars.

by Kathleen M. Krueger

This photo was taken early evening yesterday and reminded me of Kathy's carefully crafted words in her poem Whispers of the Moon. 

I was up very early today to see the eclipse of the moon  but since I didn't have a tripod to use which would hold the camera steady this is my best shot.  

But I will say looking at it was an awesome sight, a rare occurrence. 

Recently my cousin Debbie and her husband Joe hosted a Mexican Fiesta meal at their home. It was a real treat especially since neither of us had tasted a Mexican Flan. It was absolutely delicious as well as the rest of the meal.  It was enjoyable to sample some local authentic foods.
Beef Tamale Pie and Western Salad recipes came for a 1983 publication "Arizona Cookbook" by Al and Mildred Fischer.
Beef Tamale Pie

Western Tomato Salad
Flan Mexicano (Mexican Flan)
Mexican white sugar which is actually a light brown was used for the recipe.

Gearing Up for Game Day
I saw this idea on Pinterest. It's a different way to serve your guacamole as an appetizer and note it's GLUTEN-FREE.  
when using Tostitos Scoops (Chips) They’re labeled gluten-free and included on Frito Lay’s gluten-free list. They claim that they do test to make sure the products on the list meet the 20 ppm FDA threshold. Keep in mind that there’s always a number of broken ones in the bag, so if you want a full tray to bring to a party, pick up two bags so you’ll have enough intact scoop chips to use. Also, add guacamole right before serving so chips don't get soggy.
A timesaver- using store bought guacamole that is gluten-free. Just be sure your guacamole store bought or homemade has a good amount of lemon or lime juice so that it doesn’t turn an unappealing brown color as it sits out at the party.
Cherry or grape tomatoes are perfect to give you firm, small slices for these.
Cilantro – a little goes a long way for flavor!

Shredded sharp cheddar or Pepper jack Cheese
Homemade Guacamole Dip
Cooking tip: Mashing avocados can be a bit of a pain depending on their ripeness. But I found a little trick in my utensil drawer that does the job just right. I use my pastry blender. It keeps the avocados chunky and mashes super quick. Give it a try.

  • 4 ripe avocados (they should be a little soft and outer shell darkish in color)
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes,. diced and drained on a paper towel 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB. lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red onions, diced
  • 2 TB. prepared chunky salsa mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of Tabasco sauce or Worcestershire sauce 
  • Use a medium sized bowl.
  • Scoop out avocado mixture and add rest of all ingredients.
  • Use a fork to mash and blend ingredients.
  • Refrigerate several hours before serving.

More Game Day Foods 
Mexican Avocado Bruschetta
Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels
Smoked Salmon Dip
Mexican Brownies

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

It's All About the Moon

Moon photo above taken January 30 at  6:15 PM 

A  Super Blue Blood Moon in the Western Sky
Set your alarm for early Wednesday morning and hope this phenomenal occurrence will be visible where you live! 
Enjoy a few moon readings

Full Moon
Full moons come,
full moons go
softening nights
with their silver glow
They pass in silence,
all untamed,
but as they travel,
they are named.

from the book "When The Moon is Full" by Penny Pollock

What A Show

He pulled out the chair
and whispered in my ear
"Madam, just for you.”

Scanning the night sky
I settled in with ease
quite the show.

The curtain opened
and the ball began
a slow ascent
into the eastern sky.

Its vibrant golden hue
illuminated the evening
casting shadows
across the ground.

The crowd murmured
and gasped
for an evening show like this
was well worth the wait.

It was then I knew
the best moon viewing chair
had been saved
just for me.

by Sue Ready

See how nature-trees, flowers and grass grow in silence,
see the stars, the moon, the sun, how they move in silence,
we need silence to be able to touch souls.
by Mother Teresa

Slowly, silently, now the moon
walks the night in her silver shoon.
by Walter de La Mare

*Shoon is an old way of saying shoes
Strawberry Fool
A light airy fruit dessert that doesn't need cooking and perfect for night moon watching. This recipe is a twist on the traditional strawberry fool recipe using whole milk Greek yogurt. Only 196 calories per serving. Recipe adapted from Beth Dooley Star Tribune 6-25-15 and serves 2-3.

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled plus a few extra strawberries for garnish
  • 2 TB. sugar
  • 3/4 heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
  • Optional fresh mint sprigs
  • Cut berries into 1/4 inch pieces and place in a medium bowl with the sugar. Using the back of the fork, smash the strawberries to release their juices.
  • In a medium bowl , whip the cream until it holds firm peaks and then whip in yogurt. 
  • Fold the smashed berries with their juices into the cream mixture.
  • Place the mixture in parfait glasses and garnish with mint and more diced strawberries.
The fool, or a dessert of sweetened fruit folded into stiffly peaked and slightly sugared whipped cream, dates back to 16th-century England. Many fruits and some vegetables (in the case of rhubarb) can be used, but berries work particularly well, especially strawberries. If you’re a stickler for tradition, channel the Brits and make your fool with gooseberries.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Soups On

OH NO! It's still January
and the temps aren't rising much

so lift your spirits with a warm bowl of  Mexican Potato Soup.
Cook's Notes:  This is a one pot meal! It's a flavorful comfort food in a bowl-perfect for chilly days. An immersion blender is a great kitchen tool for this soup, otherwise use a blender. Taste test before you increase the seasonings. Pepper Jack cheese adds a nice little kick to the flavor. The recipe was adapted from October 2016 and serves 4-6.
  • 1-1/2 TB. butter
  • 1 cup sweet onions,diced
  • 3/4 cup each celery and a combination of mini yellow and red sweet peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano or regular oregano
  • 1/2-1 tsp. each cumin and ground coriander    
  • optional 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 TB. flour, divided
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 5 cups red or Yukon potatoes, diced small cubes
  • 4 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 cup half and half 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat until foamy.
  • Add in onions, celery, peppers, garlic, and spices.
  • Saute for 3 minutes, then cover, lower heat and sweat veggies for 8 minutes until tender.
  • Stir in 2 TB. flour and cook 1 minute more.
  • Stir in potatoes and broth;bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until potatoes are fork tender about 15 minutes. 
  • Use an immersion blender or regular blender to mix but leave some potato chunks. Pour soup mixture back into pot. 
  • Mix shredded pepper Jack cheese with 1 TB. flour. Add to soup with half and half and  cook on low heat 5 minutes. Do not let mixture boil. 
  • Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a dollop of pico de gallo or croutons.     
Keeping Kitchen Staples Longer
Shelf life whole spices two years, ground spices and dried herbs one year

Olive Oil
Unopened one year, opened three months

Butter can pick up flavors, and turn rancid if kept in refrigerator longer than a month. Store butter in the freezer up to 4 months in a zip loc bag

Avoid putting eggs in the egg tray on the refrigerator door which is too warm. Keep them in a carton which holds the moisture and protects against odor absorption

Pasteurized Soy Sauce (the most common type) shelf life one year and store in pantry

Granulated sugar, honey and molasses long lasting
Keep molasses and honey in pantry and opened maple syrup in the refrigerator
Store granulated sugar in airtight container 
Shelf life baking powder and baking soda 6 months 
Instant or active yeast 4 months in the freezer

All purpose flour shelf life one year stored in an airtight container
Whole wheat flour and cornmeal don't leave in pantry as they can go rancid in as little as 3 months since they contain natural oils. Enclose each in ziploc bags and store them in the freezer. 

Unsweetened and dark chocolate shelf life two years
Milk and white chocolate-6 months
Don't store in refrigerator or freezer as cocoa butter absorbs off flavors from other foods and changes its crystal structure 

Shelf life long lasting
Keep in a tightly sealed container away from light and heat

Shelf Tidbits from    

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Weekend Round-Up


Cook's Notes: An easy Sunday morning breakfast that adds a new dimension to your usual pancakes with the addition of dried cranberries for a little sweetness and pistachios for a little crunch. So good! 
Recipe makes a dozen pancakes.
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 TB. sugar
  • 1 TB. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  •  1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 TB. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries.
  • In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a smaller bowl combine egg, buttermilk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Batter will be slightly lumpy. 
  • Stir in cranberries and pistachios.  
  • Grease a griddle and once its hot pour in about 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Cook on medium heat 1-2 minutes a side or until pancakes are golden.
  • Serve warm with a meat side and fresh fruit.    
One of the goals for yesterday's event was to connect organizers, sponsors, co-hosts, bloggers, and others interested in expanding awareness of, and promotion of multicultural children’s books.

And what a success it was with some 418 Multicultural Books posted with reviews.   
Follow this link

and note the huge sponsor list and enjoy browsing  the multicultural book reviews. 

Ever Ready was honored to be a part of this event. #166

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Favorites

“The Girl from the Metropol Hotel: Growing Up in Communist Russia” is a collection of heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories of a childhood lived in poverty and persecution. Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is one of the New York Times bestselling authors of "There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby."  She is considered one of Russia's best living writers and the author of more than fifteen volumes of prose and is also a playwright. This is her memoir presented in the form of snapshots drawing important experiences in the author's life. Each "snapshot" is a short chapter. The telling moves forward chronologically. What is told of are those experiences that shaped Ludmilla each detailing an incident or a person from young Ludmilla's life. 

After reading two previous very long books for book club, a shorter choice was refreshing. The author writes well and captures the essence of her childhood memories. No unnecessary words. So much is said in such a short book. The writing is strong, full of emotion and there is not a single wasted word. It is important to note is that word FROM in the title is misleading. She does NOT reside in the hotel very long. The book is not about the hotel. 

Ludmilla was born in 1938 inside the Metropol Hotel in Moscow, across the street from the Kremlin. It is the famed residential building that was the setting for "A Gentleman in Moscow." Today it is again a world class hotel. In 1941 her family fled Moscow in a cattle car for Kuibyshev. There they were treated unfavorable and life was brutal. There was little food or clothing and malnutrition ravaging their waif thin bodies; swollen abdomens, dark and sunken eyes, stick thin limbs. Ludmilla's job was to forage through the trashcans of neighbors for morsels of tossed out food long after the neighbors had gone to sleep. I imagine how difficult it had to be for a young child to find scraps of fat and tossed peels of vegetables and fight her temptation to eat it right then, as her belly roars with hunger, not sharing with others. In the wintertime the family had literary nights and her granny would recite classics to them from memory. After the war the family returned to Moscow where Ludmilla was sent off to summer camp because she had become a "wild child." Camp tamed her and she graduated High School despite her poor grades. We follow her through to the fifties when Ludmilla has completed her five years of study in journalism, her travel to Kazakhstan and finally her first radio engagement.

Ludmilla's resilience to a succession of unfortunate circumstances throughout her early life are to be admired. She does not write to ask readers for pity but more to understand how she survived and was able to overcome great odds. 
At a recent dinner party we were able to recreate our own ice cream bar right at home. It was a fun, simple concept that allowed for lots of creative options. We started out with these cute waffle bowls
and vanilla ice cream,We worked our way up to this loaded waffle bowl and in between 
we had several toppings, whip cream, nuts, raspberries, bananas and a few types of sprinkles to choose from. The piece de resistance were Walnut Brownie Bites
and homemade warm Chocolate Kahlua Sauce.  
Arizona Sky-like a painting

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mexican Diced Potato Hash

so let's shake it up
with Mexican Diced Potato Hash.
Cook's Notes: A potato dish bursting with some of your favorite Mexican flavors. Serve it as a breakfast dish or as a side for dinner. You can control the heat with how much adobo seasoning you use. The recipe serves 4-6.
  • 1/2 lb. Italian sweet sausage or chorizo 
  • 5 cups of red potatoes diced in 1/2 inch cubes or frozen cubed Potato O'Brien 
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 1 cup sweet mini peppers-a combination of red and yellow, diced
  • 1/2 (14 oz. can) diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
  • 1 cup frozen roasted corn 
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Adobo seasoning 
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican Four Cheeses
  • In a large skillet brown sausage, crumble and set aside. Wipe pan clean. 
  • Heat olive oil and saute potatoes, onions, and peppers with spices 10 minutes. 
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 12 minutes more or until potatoes are cooked. 
  • Uncover and add in sausage, corn and tomatoes. Cook 5-8 minutes. Add in cheese and cook until cheese is melted 2-3 minutes.  
  • Serve immediately.
Goya Adobo Seasoning. None of my Mexican recipes would be complete without it. Actually, I use this seasoning for all sorts of dishes. To make all your dishes taste their very best, make sure you shake on Goya Adobo before cooking. Adobo's perfect blend of garlic, oregano and other Latino spices is the perfect seasoning for all your meat, poultry and fish dishes. A simple shake is all it takes.

It's essential in Spanish, Caribbean and Latin American kitchens. Adobo is a savory, all-purpose seasoning readily available in the stores AND does not contain MSG. Some main ingredients include: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and sometimes dried citrus. 
A homemade recipe for Adobo Seasoning for the ambitious cook

  • 2 TB. salt
  • 1 TB. paprika 
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper 
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. onion powder 
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp. chili powder 
  • In a bowl, stir together the salt, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder.
  • Store in a sealed jar in a cool, dry place.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Paul Bond Boot Factory and a Guest Food Posting

Any chance you happen to need a pair of custom made boots? If so, I got you covered with the most amazing custom selection at Paul Bond Boot Company in Nogales, AZ.

Since 1946, Paul Bond has been handcrafting the world's best cowboy boots. Every stitch, every peg, and every cut is carefully planned to build the finest custom boots around.  

I made a visit to this company store with a photography group. And believe me I was "blown away" by the craftsmanship, high standards and selection of materials. Each step of building a custom boot is labor intensive with attention to detail. It's no wonder that only some 2,500 boots are made a year here by skilled crafters and their apprentices. 
Here are some things to consider when designing your boots., You have to set aside time to get a well fitting pair of boots as they measure every part of your foot and calf, you even try on other boots, pick out your leathers, patterns and stitching.
Material (Skins) comes from a variety of sources e.g.hippos, snakes, calf skins, ostrich to name a few. Here were some skin choices with a range of colors. 
Then move on to patterns
consider what look you want for your boot toes

and the heels.
They will then build a boot mold specific to your foot and calf. 
Who'd ever guess a simple single stitch Singer sewing machine from the 40's could craft such workmanship!   

They stand behind their work for each custom made boot for repairs and restorations. Now here is where the age thing comes in. 
I did not buy any boots today nor place an order as when I factored in their 20-30 year guarantees for the longevity of custom boots and my age I figured my boots might outlast me so would not be my best investment. Of course the prices of $1,500 and up did give me  pause.
But I will say when viewing all the steps and how labor intensive the process is with  attention to detail the prices did seem fair.   

Looking for an enjoyable tour? And you just happen to be in the area be sure to stop by their company store.
What a privilege and an honor to be a guest food blogger today on  Recipe Hunter
Take a look at Ever Ready's posting

The Recipe Hunter is a tried and tested home-made food blog by Esme from Vancouver, British Columbia. Her food blog is dedicated to providing recipes from all around the world direct to your own kitchen. Here's a link to Esme's site

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