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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Kentucky Burgoo

January is a good month for soup. To me soup is a comfort food as my mother and grandmother served it a lot in the fall and winter months. Burgoo is a dish that you either really like or you don't. Where we are from there are many burgoo dinners that raise money for different causes. My dad loved it and my mother hated it. He did not know this on their first date and he took her to a burgoo dinner where she sat and ate pickles and crackers. He learned after that she did not like it. I personally love it because it is thicker than many soups and stews. However, the old tale of the folks making burgoo in big iron kettles and then whatever happened to fall in fell in never to be known and all cooked up together is one that I personally don't want to think about and rather like to follow a recipe like the one below.

Kentucky Burgoo Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves a small army. Or 12-16.
This recipe makes a lot! Feel free to halve. Otherwise, it makes great leftovers.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 pounds pork shoulder or country ribs, cut into large pieces (3 to 4 inches wide)
2-3 pounds chuck roast, stew meat, or other inexpensive cut of beef, cut into large pieces (3 to 4 inches wide)
3-5 chicken legs or thighs (bone-in)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 quart chicken stock or broth
1 quart beef stock or broth
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 large potatoes (we used russets)
1 bag of frozen corn (about a pound)
1 bag of frozen lima beans (about 14 ounces)
Salt and pepper
4-8 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco or other hot sauce on the side

1 Heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a large soup pot (at least 8 quart size). Salt the meats well on all sides. When the oil is shimmering hot, working in batches brown all the meats. Do not crowd the pan or the meat will steam and not brown well. Do not move the meat while browning a side. Let the meat pieces get well seared. Remove the browned meats to a bowl.
2 Add the onions, carrots, celery and green pepper to the pot and brown them. If necessary, add a little more oil to the pot. After a few minutes of cooking, sprinkle salt over the vegetables.
3 When the vegetables are well browned, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant. Add back the meats, and the chicken and beef broths and the tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours.
4 Uncover and remove the meat pieces. Strip the chicken off the bone and discard skin if you want. Break the larger pieces of meat into smaller, more manageable pieces. The reason you did not do this at first is because the meats stay juicier when they cook in larger pieces. Return all the meat pieces to the pot and bring it up to a strong simmer.
5 Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks about the same size as the meat pieces (if using new potatoes, you can skip the peeling, but russets you'll want to peel). Add them to the stew and cook them until they are done, about 45 minutes. When the potatoes are done, add the Worcestershire sauce, mix well and taste for salt. Add more Worcestershire sauce to taste if needed.
6 Add the corn and lima beans. Mix well and cook for at least 10 minutes, or longer if you’d like. Here is the point where you decide whether you want a burgoo that’s been hammered into a thick mass or a stew with bright colors in it. It’s your call.
To serve, taste one more time for salt, and add either Worcestershire or salt if you want. Serve with crusty bread or cornbread and a bottle of hot sauce on the side.

Bald Eagle Watching

Illinois winters mean bald eagle watching. Spotting bald eagles in the wild during their annual return to Illinois is highlight of the season for many locals and visitors alike. Illinois is only second to Alaska for being the largest wintering population of bald eagles. Hot spots, tours and events dedicated to the great bird can easily be found. Thousands of birds winter along the Mighty Mississippi River December through March

If you plan to go Eagle Hunting here are some tips to keep in mind:

Watch the large waterways like rivers. In the winter there will be large amount of eagles to fly to the south in search of food. Each year 4,000 to 7,000 bald eagles will winter along the Mississippi River. The river offers abundant food and open water at locks and dams and power plants which help keep the river from freezing. The primary food source is fish and eagles love fish.

Bald Eagles need place to roost during the night and perch during the day. Bald Eagles roost together in large mature trees surrounded by smaller trees. So when looking for Bald Eagles look into the sky for large trees that may be their homes. The roost provide the eagles with protection from the weather. Bald Eagles also look for source close to the source of food and an average of 60 yards from the waters edge. One of the greatest threats to eagles is the continued destruction of woodland habitats along the rivers. If this continues to happen the eagles will not be able to find trees to nest, roost or a perch to hunt on.

When watching the Bald Eagle be sure to keep your distance. Anglers, birdwatchers or boaters get too close to the eagles the birds will fly away. This will expose them to undue stress and make them use energy they may not have and could cause them to leave the site entirely. Stay 400 yards away from perched eagle. If possible stay in your vehicle Best time to watch eagles is during the early morning when they are feeding.

Sweatpants Can Be Stylish

do you ever have a day where you simply want to take it easy and wear easy to wear clothes?? You know those days you get up, you attempt to go about your daily duties, there just seems to be little energy. days like this I would love to say in my pajamas and when it does not work I wear sweat pants and shirt. When I simply dont feel good or feel a bit wore out there is no desire to wear daily clothes. Lucky for all of us there is a day dedicated to when we feel this way. It is international sweatpants day. This day to me is worthy of celebrating.

Sweatpants were introduced in the 1920's by Emile Camuset. They were a simple knitted gray jersey pants that allowed athletes to stretch and run in comfort. Since that time many ash gray pants have been made but over the years other companies like Nike have put more effort into making sweat pants more attractive but still having the same comfort.

International Sweatpants Day was created to show the crowds that wearing sweatpants can be more stylish and not embarrassing. There is no need to pay for being comfortable with being embarrassed. Life is too short not to be comfortable. Take a look at some of these great looks:

Be sure to don a pair of sweatpants on this day Sweat pants are often viewed as the ideal casual wear with a sporty look.

Clam Chowder and a bit of History

What a beautiful place New England is. Known for Boston or New England style chowder you would be surprised the variety that they come in. Native Americans would string the shells like beads and use them as money or "wampum". These replace the fish in fish milk stews of coastal England and France to become New England Chowder. 
.My aunt who lives in Maine has a husband who works on the docks taking in fish, clams, crabs and who knows what else. In Maine the clam chowder becomes even more diverse as those living on one side of the bay like their clam chowder made with tomatoes while the other side like it made with milk and no tomatoes. 
Clam chowder became well known in Boston and the sorrounding area. Ye Olde Union Oyster House has been around for 250 years. Clam Chowder was also mentioned in the historical book Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
Those living in Western Rhode Island prefer clear chowder and others would prefer just enough tomatoes for a pretty pink color. 

New England Clam Chowder

recipe source here
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch dice
1/2 cup flour
2 baking potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch dice
4 cups whole milk
3 (6-ounce) cans minced clams, strained, chopped, juice reserved
1 cup minced curly parsley
½ pound white fish filet, cut into ½-inch dice (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions and celery and cook over medium low heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Add flour and whisk to mix well, about 1 ½ minutes. Add potatoes, milk, reserved clam juice, half of parsley and whisk thoroughly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.
3. Add chopped clams and fish (if using) and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the whipping cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes longer.
5. Save about 2 tablespoons of the remaining minced parsley in a small bowl for garnish,  and add the rest to the chowder. Stir well.
6. Serve in warm bowls and garnish with reserved minced parsley.
Note: You may substitute 1 pound of salmon, cut in ¾-inch cubes, for the white fish filet. Add ½ cup or more milk to adjust consistency if necessary.

Make Your Own Granola Bars

Granola bars are the right combination that kids love and moms approve. Most times we purchase granola bars but with this recipe you can make your 

our own. This time we are making our own 
Granola Bar Isolated on a White Background with Narrow Depth of Field.
The base: 
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
The rest is up to you! Add whatever nuts, dried fruit, chocolate that you want. 
Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the bottom and sides of a 8 or 9-inch pan with aluminum foil. Lightly coat foil with cooking spray. Place oats (and nuts if chosen), onto a separate small baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, stir and bake for another 5 minutes. Set aside. In a sauce pan combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and salt over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Stir together sauce-pan mixture and baked oats/nuts and let cool for 5 minutes. Add whatever remaining ingredients you have chosen (dried fruit, chocolate etc.). Transfer mixture into lined baking sheet and use a damp spatula to firmly press mixture into pan. Keep in mind the harder you press the better chance you will have at having solid bars rather than a pile of loose granola. Once pressed refrigerate for at least 2 hours after which you can cut into bars of your desired size. 
Tip: If you add chocolate chips you might notice they melt a little when mixing the ingredients. This is totally fine! Add some more chocolate chips on top right before you toss it in the fridge. 

adding sweet dried fruit to these bars you may want to leave out the sugar as the fruit will help sweeten the bars. Using nuts, seeds and or tart or tangy dried fruit add a bit more sugar
making these granola bars with a hint of peanut flavor add 1/3 cup peanut butter to the dry ingredients along with the other wet ingredients

Appreciate a Squirrel + bonus recipe

This day of appreciation was started by North Carolina wildlife rehabilitation. Christy McKeown was the individual behind the action started in 2001. It was a day to encourage individuals to put out seeds and nuts for these rodents known as squirrels.

Squirrels can be found around the world. They are native to Africa, South and North America, Europe and Asia. They have also been introduced to Australia. Here in North America the western and eastern grey squirrels are the most common. In Europe, the red squirrel is more common while they have been seen in North America as well. Squirrels are decreasing in number in Great Britain and Ireland. This may be because of the introduction to the area of the eastern grey squirrel from North America.

Did you know that squirrels can be different sizes?? They can be just a few inches to a few feet long. The smallest squirrel is the African pygmy squirrel that is only 3 inches long. The largest squirrel is the Indian Giant Squirrel that can be as long as 3 feet.

Many times you may see a group of squirrels in the yard. That group is also known as a scurry  of squirrels. Why not leave a bit of food in your yard for that scurry today?? 

While we are appreciating squirrels I guess we should also appreciate the squirrel that led to revival in one little church 

Did You Know…

…that their front teeth grow at the rate of six inches per year?

You are well aware that we also share lots of great recipes here on our blog so we would be missing something if we did not share a hunters special here in southern Illinois.

Take 2-3 squirrels (Skinned and cleaned Well, Checked for hairs) and boil in large pot with salted water. (very time consuming)
Boil till so tender meat almost comes off bones. Then take tongs and take squirrels out and lay on chopping board. Then with caution as will be hot begin to de-bone taking all meat when done and cutting into small pieces. Salt and pepper and set aside.
Take 2 cans chicken broth 1 can evaporated milk and 1 stick butter in heavy saucepan mix together well with wooden spoon over med high heat till boiling.
Turn down heat and in separate cup have 3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch mixed with water pour slowly into gravy while stirring till thickens. Then after gravy starts to thicken add in the squirrel meat.
Serve with biscuits eggs and applesauce.

Day of Hugging

Get a Hug Give a Hug....

Today, January 21st is National Hugging Day. This holiday occurs one time every year and is dedicated to hugging. The holiday was created by Reverend Kevin Zaborney on January 21st 1986 in Caro Michigan USA. This holiday is welcomed and observed in other countries as well. The Idea behind the day is to encourage everyone to hug family and friends more often. Be sure to ask your intended hug victim first before hugging them as they may not feel like a hug. 

This cute little card can be attached to a hug candy and shared with all those you see....

This day is not a public holiday It is a day to celebrate and help everyone show emotions. Simply offer a hug to anyone and everyone you want. Hug a family member or a stranger the mental and physical health benefits will be the same

When I entered my husbands family they were all loved to welcome you with a hug. They were a family of huggers and I came from a family that never really touched each other. The great thing was that after a while I adapted and did well. Now after 30 years they may consider me a hugger as well.

Today hug someone

Friday, January 20, 2017

Pray for the President

Whether or not you voted for him or not Donald J. Trump is now the President of the United States. I believe my role is to take part and note on watching how things go down. I also believe that we should pray for our president. Here are some ways that you can pray for our president

  1. Pray that Donald Trump would be given wisdom and knowledge. “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:1).
  2. Pray for Donald Trump’s health and safety. “So that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons” (Ezra 6:10).
  3. Pray that Donald Trump will execute justice for all people. “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4).
  4. Pray that Donald Trump will pursue peace and prosperity for America. “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).
  5. Pray that God’s will would be done through Donald Trump. In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him” (Proverbs 21:1).
useful resource here

Coffee Break

Coffee is what many consider their drug of choice. The truth is they may be right. Coffee can help lower your risk of diabetes, parkinson's disease, and colon cancer. Coffee can help you get in a better mood and treat a headache. Coffee can also help lower your risk of cavities. The news has shared on more than one occasion that the more your drink coffee the better.

Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America's favorite morning drink. They learned that drinking between 1 to 3 cups of coffee helped reduce diabetes risk by single digits. Having 6 cups or more could help slash men's risk by 54% and women's by 30%.

There is an average of 108 million Americans who routinely drink coffee on a daily basis. This number includes both Adults and children. The good thing is they can continue to take their coffee break because research shows that it is more healthful than harmful.

Coffee is great for our health but there are other things that coffee is great for as well. These include

  • coffee grounds easily get rid of ants simply put the coffee grounds on the ant hills. Do this for each ant hill that is located around the area you want to protect. 
  • coffee grounds is great for the kitchen drain. Use a cup of coffee grounds and tip down the plughole Follow with a kettle of boiling water. Leave to work on the odors
  • Dye clothes brown by soaking garment in strong black unsugared coffee. This is not colour fast
  • coffee grounds are good to clean any stain resistant surfaces. With the mild and gentle abrasive element and smells fresh too. Use this tip to clean smelly ashtrays and greasy surfaces
  • Coffee is great for gardening. A tip my grandmother and mother often used. Simply add to compost pile with other kitchen waste
  • Use in live fisherman bait. The moist coffee grounds will be easier to pick up when you need them and they also like coffee as much as we do so it will help them live longer
  • Coffee will help in gardening carrots. Add coffee to your seeds before sowing. This makes planing easier to sow seeds, the smell of coffee will also repel root maggots and other pests this will allow carrots to be thicker and juiser. 
  • Coffee grounds and orange peel will make a strong scent to keep cats out of garden beds

So coffee has many great reasons and why to help humans. If you have been reading this post during coffee break time your break may be over  so head back to work 

Dry January

It's January 20th, have you kept your goal for Dry January?? If so then congrats and keep going only 11 more days to go. For those that have fell off the wagon its not to late to get back on. For those that have no idea what Dry January is it is a custom of abstaining from alcohol for the month of January. Commonly practiced in the United Kingdom The custom is fairly new being created in the past few years. 

The government in Finland first launched a campaign called "Sober January" in 1942. It was part of a war effort. The term "Dry January" was started by the Alcohol Concern in mid 2014. The first year over 17,000 Britons stopped drinking for January. The goal was to help curb harmful drinking episodes

Cheese Lovers Enjoy Grilled Cheese

The ooey gooey of a grilled cheese sandwich is perfect year round.  American comfort food to the finest. Most comfortable at home around the kitchen table along side a bowl of tomato soup. The grilled cheese sandwich has come a long way since that time. 

The grilled cheese sandwich is filled with warm, gooey cheese. The two crunchy, buttery slices of white toast was a delicious treat.  Through child-hood the grilled cheese was something that could be counted on. Then all of a sudden the grilled cheese started to changed and dressed up. Superior cheese, nuts, honey and meat were added. The designer world of grilled cheese sandwiches had started. 

The grilled cheese made with American cheese and wonder bread had been changed into a Gruyere grilled cheese on artisan bread topped with caramelized onions. Of course there have been other breads and cheese combinations used  The american grilled cheese came about during the 1920s. 

Wonder bread came about around the same time as America was falling in love with the grilled cheese.  Wonder sold whole loaves as well as pre-sliced bread. In 1917 kraft started selling processed canned cheese to the U.S. Army. Velveeta came about in 1928 and individual wrapped cheese slices in 1965. It was Velveeta that my mom would make grilled cheese from. With these food inventions the grilled cheese would become a classic. 

The grilled cheese was sold in diners, lunch counters, and even appeared in many cookbooks. It was the American home where grilled cheese got its most popularity. According to research even today Americans eat an average of 2.2 billion grilled cheese a year. The tips and tricks developed over time include anything from cooking in a iron skillet to butter the bread only and yet others say butter the pan. The best tip is to use good thinly sliced bread and a good melting cheese. 
Find some great grilled cheese recipes here

Healthier Mac N Cheese With Help From Orange Cauliflower

January is for Cheese Lovers and I think that this yummy Mac N Cheese may just surprise many with how healthy it really is

During my child-hood I grew up with a family that cooked everything. It was all homemade and it seemed that it was all delicious. Now days many get a head start with their mac n cheese by purchasing and preparing mac n cheese from the box.

The cheese mix in the unmarked white envelope that made that startling orange cheese was always yummy. The orange color comes from a new and different ingredient than what is normally found in mac n cheese. It may just surprise you that the orange color was from an orange cauliflower. I know I didn't know cauliflowers were orange either.

Some may say it looks like an :"alien vegetable" but the truth is that the bunch of orange or "cheddar" cauliflower gets it colors from creamy coral to sunburst orange and is strikingly unique. The color comes from the extra beta carotene that is naturally stored in its florets. Orange cauliflower has 25% more vitamin A than the the common while cauliflower

The orange cauliflower was discovered in Canada in 1970. It was shipped to Cornell University where ag scientists crossbred it with white varieties to create the showstopper of a vegetable. Now the orange cauliflower is available at farmer markets and some grocery stores.

The orange cauliflower comes into peak season during the fall months. It can be used in any recipe that calls for cauliflower. Use it mashed, sauteed with potatoes, in soups, or roasted and served with pearl onions.

Orange Cauliflower Mac n cheese is delicious with a bubbly and crunchy cheese topping. The pasta stays soft and creamy.

Orange Cauliflower Mac n' Cheese

Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

1 head orange cauliflower (white can be substituted)
1/2 pound small pasta such as gemelli, elbows, or shells
2 tablespoons Smart Balance butter substitute
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk, plus 1/2 cup for pureeing cauliflower
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top
a generous amount salt and several cranks of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fajita or Mexican spices, optional
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Smart Balance butter substitute

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Trim cauliflower and break into small florets. Boil until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain. Place in a blender or processor with 1/2 cup milk and puree until thick and smooth. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to directions until al dente.

For the sauce, melt 2 tablespoons Smart Balance in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk briskly. Gradually add 2 cups milk, whisking continuously, until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, or until thick and bubbly. Add the pureed cauliflower, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and a generous amount of salt and black pepper. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and toss until well coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheddar evenly over the top.

For the buttered breadcrumbs, melt 1 tablespoon Smart Balance butter substitute in a small skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toss until coated with butter. Sprinkle even over the top of the cheddar. Or, if you prefer, set crumbs aside, and use as a garnish just before serving.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown on top and the cheese sauce is bubbling around the edges.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a rich and satisfying vegetable that is surprisingly low in fat and calories. Closely related to pumpkins, spaghetti squash and acorn squash it is part of the winter squash family. The term "winter squash" is derived because they store well for months due to their thick skins this helps the squash last through the winter. 
Butternut squash is a beautiful shade of orange. The great thing is that it is a healthy food. One cup of butternut squash offers nearly 4 times your vitamin A needs for the day. as much potassium than a banana and also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, fiber and antioxidants. 

Tips for Choosing Butternut Squash:
  • heavy for its size is a good sign
  • firm to touch 
  • skin free of blemishes and bruises
Prepare Butternut Squash
  • cut off stem and base 
  • stand squash on its end and peel with knife or use a veggie peeler.
  • cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and fibrous flesh out of middle

Spread squash out on baking sheet in single layer. Spread so that they do not touch it will help them cook crisper. Top squash with thyme, rosemary, oregano or spices such as cumin or paprika.
Roasted butternut squash is very versatile. Perfect for fall and winter side dish. Offers lean protein and is perfect atop a bed of greens in a salad or added to a soup. The next time you are considering serving baked sweet potatoes or any other starchy veggies try roasted butternut squash instead.
On a side note: Squash seeds are edible Simply roast like pumpkin seeds add salt, pepper, and any other spices you choose

Original recipe by Beachbody
Serves: 8 servings, about ½ cup each

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1½-inch pieces (about 2 lbs.)
4 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. finely chopped thyme

Preheat oven to 450° F.
Place squash in large oven-proof roasting pan (or baking sheet).
Drizzle with oil. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme; mix well. Spread squash in a single layer in pan.
Bake, turning twice, for 40 to 45 minutes, or until squash is brown and tender-crisp.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tin Can Day

Tin cans are defined as air tight containers made of thin metal for the storage of food or other goods. Tin cans are often opened by a tool that cuts or tears the metal, although more and more now are opened using a pull tab.

The first patent for the tin canning process was granted to Peter Durand on January 19th 1810.

Did You Know : not all cans are made of tin. Most are made of tin coated steel known as tinplate This is because real tin will rust and react with food and liquids.

tin cans are defined as air-tight containers made of thin metal for the storage of food or other goods. Tin cans are often opened by a tool that cuts or tears the metal, although more and more now are opened using a pull tab.

Layered Sweet Potato Enchilada

Lovers of sweet potatoes,as well as Mexican food will love this recipe. It will take more than a moment to create but it will be worth it. First start by boiling taters. While taters are cooking prepare the other ingredients. In the end bake the casserole and clean the kitchen.

  1. 3 large sweet potatoes (or about 3 cups smashed - but if you end up with more you can pad that a little)
  2. 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  3. 10 oz can Rotel w/ green chilies, drained
  4. 15 oz can sweet corn kernels, drained
  5. 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin with white parts and top parts kept separate
  6. 1/2 cup taco sauce (medium or hot), plus a couple tablespoons
  7. Juice and zest of 2 limes
  8. Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  9. Chili powder, to taste (I used about 1/2 tablespoon)
  10. 12-14 taco or fajita sized flour tortillas, all sliced in half
  11. 1 1/2 cups salsa
  12. Daiya cheddar, or vegan cheese of choice, to sprinkle on top

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes, then boil until tender (15-18 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the beans, Rotel, corn, scallions (white parts only) and taco sauce, mixing well.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, mash them then add the lime juice, sea salt, pepper, and chili powder, and set aside.
  5. Drizzle bottom of 9x13 casserole or baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons of taco sauce, making sure the entire bottom is covered. Arrange tortilla halves across bottom of pan.
  6. Cover tortillas with half of the sweet potato mixture, gently spreading to get maximum coverage. Next add a layer of the bean/corn mix (half of what you have), followed by a layer of tortillas.
  7. Repeat once, ending with a layer of tortillas on top (this makes 3 layers of tortillas, total). Cover with salsa, cheese and the rest of your sliced scallions.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 5-8 until cheese is fully melted.

recipe source Barb@ThatWasVegan?

Mexican Popcorn

Do you ever just a spiced up snack?? This Mexican popcorn may offer you just that.

Mexican Popcorn
adapted from Jamie Oliver Magazine 
6 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1/3 cup popcorn kernels OR 1 bag plain microwave popcorn
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt
juice from 1/2 lime & zest from 1 lime
If using bagged microwave popcorn: Use a “plain” variety of popcorn and pop in the microwave according to bag instructions. Place popcorn in a big bowl and set aside.
If popping your own popcorn from kernels: Place a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons coconut oil and a 2-3 kernels to the pot. Close the lid and when popcorn kernels start to pop, add the remaining kernels and put the lid back on the pot. Move pot back and forth on the stove and pop the popcorn until you start to hear the popping slow down. Put popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.
For the spice mixture:
In a small saucepan melt remaining 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter if you don’t have coconut oil) over medium-high heat. Add the smoked paprika, oregano & cumin to the oil and let sit over heat for 1 minute. Stir in the juice of half a lime and quickly stir mixture onto the popcorn. Season with salt & sprinkle the lime zest throughout the batch of popcorn.

Romantic Dinner for Two Mini Chicken Cordon Bleu

Mini Chicken Cordon Bleu for two

Romance will be in the air soon and this recipe will help set the mood. Some times it is hard to get out of that rut in life the same routine. Work, home, dinner, put on a show, go to bed. That is life I know but sometimes we need to break away. On a special night, dim the lights and put on some soft music. This recipe is perfect for two Enjoy!!!
Mini Chicken Cordon Bleu for two
adapted from Mom, What's For Dinner
6 skinless, boneless chicken tenders
3 thin slices Fontina cheese cut in half to make 6
3 slices ham cut in half to make 6
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Pound chicken tenders as thin as you can with a tenderizer. 
Place a cheese and ham slice together 
roll to help keep the cheese from oozing out once it is melted
Place on each chicken tender. 

Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. 

Mix the flour, Parmesan, and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces. 

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. 

Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. 

Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened.

 Pour over the Chicken. Serve warm.