On this cool June evening I decided to cook one of my favorite vegetables…. brussel sprouts. I know many of you are thinking, “yuck”. But haven’t you heard the saying that everything is better with bacon? Well, that’s how I cook my brussel sprouts. I challenge you to try my recipe to see if you may change your mind about your attitude toward this healthy dark green vegetable that is full of fiber, vitamins, and anti-cancer nutrients.
Here are some facts about the nutritious benefits of brussel sprouts according to Wikipedia:
“Raw brussel sprouts contain excellent levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6 (USDA nutrient table, right); essential minerals and dietary fibre exist in lesser amounts (table).
Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss. ”
Back to my recipe for Brussel sprouts with bacon. Here is a list of the ingredients you will need:
- 1 package of frozen Brussel sprouts
- 4 slices of bacon cut into small pieces
- 1/4 c of onion (opt.)
- 1 clove of garlic (opt.)
- 1 bouillion cube and 1 T butter melted in a cup of hot water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can of beef broth
For complete directions to make this recipe click on the buttons at the bottom of the image below.
This easy recipe takes about 15 minutes to complete. I also make fried cabbage this same way. Try it. I think you’ll like it. Let me know if you do.
Have you ever heard of homemade vanilla extract? I hadn’t until I heard a friend talking about making some. She raved about how much better it is for baking than imitation vanilla that you buy at the grocery store. So I did a little research on it and decided to make some.
I quickly found out that homemade vanilla is not cheap. I bought the smallest bottle of vodka I could find at $11.95.
The 2 long vanilla beans at Kroger were $8.95.
I could have gotten them much cheaper on the internet at http://www.homebrewing.org/Madagascar-Vanilla-Beans-2-Count_p_319.html
But I am impulsive and didn’t want to wait for it to ship. Next time I will order from the internet.
When I came home from the grocery store my husband wanted to know why I had bought vodka. As a woman who very seldom even takes a drink it was unusual for his wife to come home with a bottle of liquor. I proceeded to explain to him that I was going to make some homemade vanilla extract with the vodka and some vanilla beans I had bought.
To make the extract you just need two ingredients…vanilla beans and vodka. First I tried to cut the vanilla beans long ways to try to release some of the flavor. I found this difficult so I just cut them into smaller pieces.
The recipe I found called for 1 ounce vanilla beans to 4 ounces of vodka, bourbon, or rum. Since I didn’t have a way to measure the beans I just put the vanilla bean pieces back into the glass jar they came in and filled it up with the vodka. You need to close the lid tightly, and make sure the beans are completely covered with the alcohol.
Using my Cricut Explore machine I made a label with the date I mixed my concoction.
Now I’ll have to wait at least 4 weeks to use it. The recipe instructs to shake the mixture once a week. If the mixture hasn’t turned dark after the 4 weeks passes, one should wait a little longer before using.
Hopefully the extract will be ready to use just in time for the holiday baking season. If you need a great gift for a baker buy some jars from Hobby Lobby that have a tight fitting lid. With a ribbon, a nice tag, and a label you’ll have an unusual gift that will last a long time. Meanwhile I’ll be searching for recipes for goodies with vanilla as an ingredient. I’ll update this post when I’ve used mine. Let me know if you’ve tried making your own vanilla extract and how it turned out.
Thanks for reading my latest blog post about living in Kentucky
Chilly (Chili) Weather
On the first cool day of fall I had a craving for homemade chili. After all it had been since April that I had made a pot of the chili. So off to the grocery store I went to buy:
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 6 ou. can of tomato paste
- 10 ou. can of tomato sauce with green chiles
- 15.5 ou. can of kidney beans
- 14 ou. can of beef broth
- clove of garlic
- chili powder
- saltine crackers
Actually I had a few of these things in my pantry, but figured I’d list the ingredients here.
My husband and I have some differences of opinion when it comes to chili. He likes it soupy and I like it thick. Pinto beans is his choice for the beans, but I like kidney beans and lots of them. He puts a teaspoon of sugar in his and I don’t. Spaghetti is a must for his chili, but I’d rather not have it in mine. (I think my dislike of spaghetti comes from my elementary school days when the kids would eat it and say it was worms.) Also if I use whole wheat spaghetti to try to make it a little healthier he complains. He even sometimes put sausage in his chili which I don’t care for.
If you want to know my recipe for chili watch the following images.
I brown the ground beef and strain the grease. Then I cut up about a 1/4 cup of onions and brown it in the meat. Next I add the chili powder and some pepper. I like to use both tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Home canned makes the chili delicious. I usually add table salt, but recently I’ve heard how good Himilayin pink salt is. I bought some on Boxed.com. You can click here and buy it. https://www.boxed.com/invite/7BSIF
Cook the spaghetti for about 15 minutes if you want it in your chili. This is a quick and easy to make meal. I like to serve mine with crackers and sliced cheese. Sometimes I fix pimento cheese sandwiches to go with the chili. It also tastes great to add grated cheese on top of your chili.
Usually I have chili left over. Here is my recipe for Frito Chili which is quick to make for the next day’s meal.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Left over chili
- Grated Cheese
- Cut up Onions
Okra, Peppers, & Onions
September the twenty-seventh and the garden is about gone. Corn and beans have been gone awhile, and now I think I cut the last of the okra and have only a few tiny green peppers left. I will miss going out into the garden and picking something to fix for supper.
The vegetable for supper last night was going to be fried okra fresh and straight out of the garden. I got a bag and my garden scissors out of the barn and walked to the garden to cut off some to fry. To my dismay most of it was too big to use. I only got a few pieces of okra so I decided to add some green peppers to my harvest.
Our okra crop did great as always, but the green peppers didn’t. Too much rain I assume. But I did get enough of each to fry some up for supper.
Here’s how I fixed it.
Usually I use Kentucky Kernal seasoned flour, but I couldn’t find it last time I went to the grocery store. But I did find Fryin’ Magic seasoned coating mix. Both of these are just a mixture of flour and cornmeal which you can use and would be much cheaper.
So I cut up the okra, sliced the green pepper and added some slices of onions. I followed the directions on the box that said to dip the veggies into a beaten egg. Usually I just pour a small amount of milk over the veggies instead of the egg dip.
Then you heat a skillet with about 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat. I put one piece in first to make sure the skillet is hot enough. Fry for about 3 minutes, then turn and cook about 3 more minutes. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper while it’s cooking. I like my okra to be brown and crispy. So you may have to cook it a little longer.
This has been one of my favorite vegetables since childhood. Okra is easy to grow and produces for several weeks. You need to pick it when it is about 4 inches long or it will get too hard to eat. I cut off the pods that get too big. This will help the plant continue producing the pods. You will have plenty of large pods at the end of the season to cut open and remove the seeds and save for next year’s garden.
If you’ve never tried raising okra, try it because it is so easy to grow. Insects don’t seem to bother it and it will continue producing until late in the summer. Only downside is that it makes you itchy when you pick it so wear some gloves while cutting it. Happy Gardening! Mrs. B.
Families Ate Together
My First Pizza
When we were kids our family ate together at the table which is not the norm nowadays. Mom cooked three meals a day, and there was always meat, bread, and often potatoes. Chicken, steak, pork chops, ham, or roast beef were the usual main course.
Not until I was about 10 years old was I introduced to pizza. I remember my aunt serving my first pizza at her house while I was staying with her. Delicious! I ‘d never eaten anything so tasty!
We didn’t even have a pizza restaurant back in the 50’s or early 60’s. Pizza franchises were non-existence back then. Around 1965 the first pizza restaurant came to Danville and was located on Maple Avenue where the car dealership is now. About that time Mom got with the pizza craze and started making pizza from the boxed Chef Boy Ar Dee pizzas.
When my girls were children they could eat pizza everyday. Their breakfast was often left over cold pizza. This brings us to today. Pizza is carry out or sit down restaurants in every town. Recently I made me a Chef Boy Ar Dee pizza just for old times sake. That brought me to thinking about buying something delicious a friend had told me about.
Where to buy?
That something delicious was frozen pizza dough balls at Sam’s Club.
My friend had talked about how good they were for more than just pizza crust. I decided I had to have some. Each time I visited Sam’s I searched the frozen section and couldn’t find them. After 3 visits I finally called her to ask where she found them. To my surprise she had bought them at the snack bar. Yes, they sell the balls of dough in a box of 20. They cost $.90 each. If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of room in your freezer I suggest splitting them with a friend or two.
Pizza Crust & Cheese Sticks
- Pizza dough ball
- Garlic salt
- Olive oil
- Pizza sauce
- Cooked sausage
- Cooked ground beef
- Green pepper
- Parmesean Cheese
- Mozzerella Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
When ready to use thaw the pizza ball until you can cut it in half. For the pizza I grease the pan with a small amount of olive oil. I roll one half of the ball in garlic salted olive oil and just use a rolling pin to flatten it out onto a pizza stone. (The other half I use for bread sticks.) Pour on a small amount of pizza sauce and whatever toppings you like. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. We prefer sausage, pepperoni, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms. Sometimes we even cut up hot dogs for extra meat. Top it with mozzarella cheese and plenty of parmesan cheese. Cook at 425 for 10-15 minutes. I like my crust very done.
- Pizza dough
- Olive oil
- Garlic salt
- Melted butter
- mozzarella cheese
- Marinara sauce
For the bread sticks again roll the halved ball in olive oil mixed with garlic salt. Flatten it out in the pan. Brush on some melted butter. I put a layer of mozzarella cheese or whatever cheese I have on top. Cook for about 10 minutes. Cut into sticks and you’re ready to dip them in marinara sauce.
This is cheaper than going out to eat. So if you are a penny pincher who loves pizza this is the thing to fix for supper. And it is delicious.
- Pizza dough
- Marinated thin steak
- Provolone cheese
- Olive oil
- Sandwich spread or mayonnaise
- Salt and Pepper
While the pizza dough is thawing out cut thin steak into pieces a little larger than your bread slices will be. Salt and pepper the steak and cook in a small amount of olive oil on the stove. Set aside. Roll the dough out with a floured rolling pin. I tried to make mine rather thin. With a pizza cutter cut into squares about the size of a slice of bread. Bake the bread pieces for about 1o minutes in a preheated oven at 375 degrees. Put a piece of the cooked steak and provolone cheese on one of the slices of bread. Top with another bread slice. Make as many sandwiches as you will need. Cook in the oven just enough to melt the cheese. Add lettuce, tomato, onion, sandwich spread or mayonnaise. Melt butter. Add minced garlic and salt. Drizzle the melted butter mixture on top.
While you defrost the ball mix about 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Prepare muffin pans by spraying with a butter spray. When the ball of dough has thawed enough to work with pinch off a ball a little smaller than a ping pong ball.
Roll it in butter, then the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 3 little balls into each muffin section.
Bake at 395 degrees for about 12 minutes. Best when eaten while warm. For a sweeter version drizzle with your favorite icing.
Makes 12 cinnamon rolls.
One could also make rolls this way. Just leave off the cinnamon and sugar. Yum, Yum!
There are many more things you could make with these dough balls. Fruit pizza is one more thing that comes to mind. Hope you enjoyed my latest recipes I’ve made. If you make anything else using the pizza dough balls from Sam’s let me know. Until next time. Have a good day.
Saving money here and there is a necessity today. Even two income families have difficulty paying for all the little extras we all seem to want like the latest cell phones, internet service, and gadgets. Here are 4 ways that I try to save a little money so I can have a few extra bucks to put in my pocket. I hope it will help you in whatever your financial situation is.
Ibotta is an app for your phone which will give you a little extra cash in your pocket. Why not download it and start saving money. After you get the app you use it to look for products at certain stores that are offering rebates. At Kroger I found rebates for any brand of tomatoes, bread, milk, and orange juice. Other rebates may be specific brands like Premium Deli Lunch Meat, Hot Pockets, or Diet Coke. Rebates range from $.25 to $1.00. After you buy the product you scan the barcode, then the receipt. The app will explain the process. When you scan your first item, you get a $10 bonus. When the rebate amount you have scanned reaches $20 you can redeem it in gift cards or cash. This would be a good way to get gift cards for Christmas presents free. Just go to https://ibotta.com/r/xycukvn
The first time I used it I got $16 towards my $20. So hopefully next time I go grocery shopping I’ll reach the $20 mark. Update Sept. 29 Since I wrote this blog just 20 days later I now have $52.25 in my account. Woohoo! You get $5.00 for each friend you invite that signs up and cashes in a rebate. There are also other bonuses that I didn’t know about before.
I have a friend who often gets $1.00 a gallon discount on gas at Kroger. How can one get such a large discount on gas? Here’s how. When you sign up at Kroger for a loyalty card and make purchases you get fuel points. If you give a review from the link on your receipt you can get 50 bonus points. But the best way to get extra fuel points is to buy gift cards when Kroger offers 4X points. You can get restaurant, retail stores, or iTunes cards. So when you go out to eat, buy clothing or download music you can add to your discount for your gas. Buy gift cards year round for Christmas presents at Kroger when they are offering the 4X points. Be careful when you buy them because for some reason they don’t 4X’s those cards where you have to choose the amount on the card. So just buy the ones that have a fixed amount on them and you could save up to $1.00 a gallon on your gas.
After you’ve read how it works click here to get started.
With Ebates you get a % back of what you spend on internet purchases. All you have to do is sign up and every time you buy something online go to Ebates first. Search for the store or product you are ready to buy. The % of rebate you can get will be posted. Buy the product and it will automatically be put into your Ebates account. At this time the rebates are doubled at American Eagle, Macy’s and many others. This really amounts up around Christmas time with all the gifts we buy online. You also can order online and pick up your order at Lowe’s, Walmart, Kroger, and many others. They will have your order ready when you get to the store. For instance, if you are going to buy a washer and dryer pick one out at Lowe’s . Then go to Ebates.com and order it online. Sometimes you can get enough back to pay the sales tax. Ebates will send your rebate check in the mail every three months. So far I have received $240.40 back from Ebates. My daughter who buys more than I do on the internet has gotten back over $600. This is an easy way to get money back.
Another site you can go to that works the same way as Ebates is Mr. Rebates. If you can’t find a rebate at one then look at the other. Some of the stores featured with rebates on Mr. Rebates are Cabela’s, Guess, and Life is Good. Sometimes one of these two sites will have a larger rebate than the other. So you really need to compare the two before making your purchase.
Here is the link for Mr. Rebates.
These four ways to get cash back are really simple. Don’t be afraid that you’ll be scammed. I’ve done all four and it works. If you know of any other apps or sites that will help us save money feel free to share in the comment section. In the meantime happy shopping.
Some of my first recollections include bean breaking and canning at my grandmother’s house in the early 50’s. Sometimes there may have been 10 people or more sitting under a shade tree breaking beans. We’d sit in a circle and talk about everything under the sun while our hands were hard at work stringing and breaking all those beans. Grandma needed a lot of beans because she had 10 grown children, and their families who would often come for Sunday or Wednesday lunch.
Green beans were an important part of my grandparents’ diet. They raised those 10 children during the depression when times were hard. Because of necessity she had learned to can from her mother. Mom also canned beans for our family, but not in the huge quantity that Grandma did. So the tradition continues. And every year when canning time comes around I reminisce about grandma, granddaddy, mom, my aunts, my cousins, and myself with our tired hands breaking those beans.
Today it isn’t out of necessity, but out of wanting great tasting home grown food. I think if I figure in my time I spent fixing these beans it would break the bank. To fix 7 quarts of beans I spend probably 30 minutes picking them, 1 hour breaking them, 1 hour washing and canning them. That’s 2 1/2 hours not including plowing, planting, and weeding which my husband does. This doesn’t include the cooking utensils you need for canning.
For you people that don’t know how to can beans and want to give it a try here is my explanation of what you need and how to do it. I’ve also included the Amish way which my sister-in-law uses.
Supplies You Need to Can Green Beans
The most expensive item you’ll need to buy if you want to can green beans is a pressure canner. Mine will hold 7 quart jars or 8 pints. The jars and lids can be found in a box of 12. The jars and screw on lids are reusable, but the seals are not. I use Kosher Salt or canning salt, a strainer, measuring spoon, measuring cup, and 2 large pans not pictured. Here is a picture of canning tongs which will help you lift the jars out of the canner and keep you from burning yourself on the hot jars.
My sister in law cans her beans the Amish Way. Here’s how she does it. Wash and break the green beans. Then pack as tightly as you can in quart jars. NO WATER! Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each quart jar. Place in a cold oven. Turn temperature to 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. Turn off oven and leave beans in oven for at least 12 hours. 18 quarts will fit in most ovens. Make sure your beans are sealed. If they aren’t throw away the beans in that jar. My sister in law has canned them this way for several years and only had 1 jar that hasn’t sealed. This method sounds a lot easier. I’ve never tried it. Note: The USDA doesn’t approve of this method.
How to Can Green Beans
You’ll need about 1/4 bushel of green beans for 1 canning. Kosher Salt, and water. I wash the beans before I break them. Then you will break off the ends of the beans. If there are strings you need to remove them. I break the beans into pieces about 3/4-1 inch long. I rinse them again a couple of times and look for bad spots that I cut off.
Now you are ready to can the beans. Put about 3 inches of water in your canner and put over medium heat. Fill a 2-4 quart pan with water and heat until nearly boiling. In order to sanitize place the jar lids and seals in a hot skillet with about 1 inch of water. The jars can be sanitized in your canner while the water is getting hot. I just turn them upside down in the hot water.
When I think the jars are hot enough to kill the germs I take a jar out one at a time. I put the wide mouthed funnel on top of the jar and fill with beans to about an inch of the top. I press the beans down to try to get as many as possible in the jars. Next I add 1 teaspoon of salt to a quart jar or 1/2 teaspoon to a pint jar. Following this I use the measuring cup to pour the hot water over the beans to about 1/2 inch of the top. I always wipe the rim of the jar before I put the seal on in case some salt is on the rim. If it is the lids won’t seal. After I have done this to all the jars I put the top on the canner and put the jiggler on 10 pounds of pressure. It takes a while for the canner to build up pressure. When the jiggler starts to jiggle you may need to turn it down a little. Just don’t let it jiggle too fast or it may blow up. Don’t be afraid just read the directions carefully on the canner before using. Pressure the quart jars for 25 minutes and the pints for 20 minutes. Start the timer as soon as it starts jiggling. Don’t you just love that word. I’m really not sure that it the correct name for the jiggler. I hope you understand what I mean. After the timer goes off then move canner to a cool burner and let it cool off. Be careful opening the canner, the jars will be very hot. Place on a dish towel and let cool. You should hear a pop sound when the lids seal.
Are you looking for an appetizer recipe for a party, picnic, or snack? Since my family loves salty snacks homemade salsa fit the bill. Black Bean Corn Salsa and Frito Bean Salsa are the perfect recipes for any kind of special event or just to munch on.
The recipes are similar as they both have tomatoes, onions, peppers, and beans. Black bean corn salsa is served with tortilla scoop chips while the Frito Bean Salsa is served with Fritos. Both recipes are healthy, light, and delicious.
First I will tell you how to fix the Black Bean Corn Salsa. This recipe is from my daughter. Her family loves it and so do I. If you like Tex-Mex you should like it.
Black Bean Corn Salsa
- 1 small red onion diced
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can corn, drained
- 2 diced tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 jalapeño chopped
- green, red, or yellow pepper
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup canola oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Chill then serve with tortilla chips. We like the scoop type of chips.
Frito Bean Salsa
- 2 diced tomatoes
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 green, red, or yellow pepper diced
- 1 can kidney beans drained
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 bottle Catalina dressing
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic(optional)
Mix all ingredients. Chill, then serve with Frito Chips. Again we like to serve this dip / salsa with scoop type of chips.
If you try these two recipes let me know how you like them. Thanks for reading my blog about living in Kentucky.
For a traditional Kentucky meal you may want to fix Meatloaf. Many people around here like to serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas. Often I fry breaded okra and cook peeled potatoes right beside the meatloaf for the vegetables. If you have any left you can fix a meatloaf sandwich the next evening. Some cooks in Kentucky use bread crumbs or bread cubed in their meatloaf, but I prefer to use oatmeal.
For the best meatloaf recipe around try my meatloaf. IMHO I know you will like it.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Here’s the ingredients I use.
- 1 1/2 lb. 80/20 ground beef
- 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
- 1/4 cup onion
- 1 egg
- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1-2 cloves garlic
Mix all of these ingredients together. I use my hands, and yes, it gets messy. Pat into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with olive oil spray.
Add these 4 items on top of the meatloaf.
- sliced onions
- sliced green, yellow, and/or red peppers
- drizzle tomato ketchup over these
- salt and pepper
Sometimes I put cut up peppers in the meatloaf. You also can add a little A-1 for some added pizzazz. Cook in oven for an hour or more. At least until ketchup is slightly browned on the edges. For me the secret to a good meatloaf is cooking it until there are some almost burnt pieces around the edges. Don’t judge me, just try it. Let me know how you like it. Any one who wants to share how they make meatloaf feel free to comment.
Have you ever come home from work and you are worn out?
Tired? Achy feet and legs? Yes, me too. Here is a relaxing thing to try. Take a relaxing
bath and soak.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Epsom Salt
- Tea Tree Oil
- Scented Oil of Your Choice(I use Jasmine or lavender)
- Bath Tub
- Your Favorite Music
As your run very warm water into your tub add about 1/2-1 cup of *Epsom Salt, a
few drops of Tea Tree Oil, and a few drops of your chosen scent. Turn on the music.
Lie down in that warm water mixture and relax. I prop my legs and feet up against the
wall at a 45 degree angle while lying in the bath soak, too. Stay in this position for at
least 10 minutes. This helps your muscles relax and increases your blood flow. The
Epsom Salt has magnesium in that is supposed to remove toxins from your body.
Enjoy the smells and relaxing music. Let the Epsom Salt bath mixture take you away.
If you don’t have essential oils or Epsom Salt an alternative to this is just to put you body
perpendicular to a wall. Position your legs and feet against the wall at a 45 degree angle.
This relieves some of the tension in your legs, feet, and body by stimulating your
circulatory system. Talk to y’all later.