Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!Quick Crab Cheese Ball/Spread

First of all, I want to wish each and every one of you as safe, healthy and prosperous 2013!

If you’re running late, we still have time to dash off a nice spreadable cheese ball for your New Year’s Eve entertainment, New Year’s buffet, host/hostess gift, pot luck or anytime you want to make something easy, yet special: Crab Cheese Ball, or Spread.

The one below is made with my original recipe, option #1 (and topped rather hastily!)You can make this as a ball or molded, as a spread ;plain or garnished in many ways.
This recipe can take many forms and I’d like you to feel free to improvise, especially on the garnish.

Crab Cheese Ball/Spread …and variations

6 ounces of Neufchatel (low fat) or regular cream cheese
1- 6 ounce can of crab meat, drained (If you have fresh crab meat, good for you! Use about ½ cup)
½- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
½ tsp. dried or snipped parsley
½ tsp. paprika or crushed pepper
½ tsp. ginger (optional)

Garnish (options in recipe)

Drain the crab meat and pick out any cartilage. Soften the cream cheese and add to it the hot pepper sauce, the herb and spices. Taste and adjust seasonings. With a spoon or spatula, gather into a ball and chill.[For a quick spread, place in a small serving bowl or in the middle of a plate, garnish if you’d like and chill, or take right to the table; for safety’s sake, do not let it become warm.]
If making into a shape or ball, after the mixture is chilled, remove and make into a ball and roll in chopped nuts,(walnuts are best), parsley, or dried vegetable flakes, or line a mold with plastic wrap and press the mixture into it, ungarnished. When the ball or molded on is reasonably is firm, serve with butter knives or cheese spreaders and assorted crackers.

Crab Cheese Ball, quick and easy!

Crab Cheese Ball, quick and easy!

(The bell pictured above is the equivalent of about half of the recipe.)

To decorate a shape, use dried or rehydrated vegetable flakes.[To rehydrate, place flakes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain thoroughly to use].You can use pickled peppers or other pickled vegetables, (giardiniera) ,chopped. I even made an angel shape one Christmas and used edible glitter (made from gelatin) for her wings and halo.
The one above I threw together,(again, too hastily), with chopped pickled red and yellow banana peppers and rehydrated pepper and tomato flakes.

Option #1: Reduce the mount of cream cheese to 5 ounces and add 1 ounces of your favorite firm cheese, grated,(Cheddar, Muenster, PepperJack, etc. I used Monterey Jack).

Option #2: Omit hot sauce. Add ¼ tsp. sesame oil to mixture. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Option #3: Omit hot sauce. Add ½ tsp walnut oil and garnish with walnuts
Or hazelnut oil and use hazelnuts. If using almond oil, reduce to ¼ tsp and garnish with …oh, go ahead and guess!)

I know you or your (non-vegan) guests will enjoy this. It is adjustable for any occasion and I often make it in a football shape for a Superbowl Party,(even if it is just me and my husband )

This should be  a gluten-free recipe,(check labels on all your ingredients) Be concerned for all of  your guests and add gluten-free crackers and /or gluten-free large chips on the side.

Have a Happy New Year!



It’s the end of the year and time to think about new beginnings. I resolve to try my best to kick this old blog up a notch, do more writing/submitting , try being more creative in all areas , put more effort into other people’s projects…and the decluttering will be in continuous motion!

I found an opening to a post I had been planning to make, actually, it had planned to be a chapter in my book: On Dishware

Another food-blogger recently introduced a friend on Facebook. The friend wants to start a food blog herself and asked for advice. One concern was what kind of dishes should she chose. My advice? If you are going to buy dishes, I suggest they be plain, preferably, white. I have found out the hard way that not all foods look good or show up well on colorful plates.

I have several types of dishes for everyday, since, dishes break. I have some of these and some of those and a set of another. I have a set of stoneware that I use for “good’ dishes. They are so much a part of holidays that when I tried to retire them to everyday use, my son,(a grown man) , insisted that I not do so; I had to go out and buy another set.
I also have my mother’s set of real china, which has seldom been used; it looks pretty in my china cabinet, but I need to pull that out again . I just haven’t had a real dinner party in some time, it’s been mostly family with kids,(so I use the stoneware!) and most often, I serve buffet-style.

Also, both sets are blue. The stoneware is blue-on-blue patterned and the china is white with gray and grayish-blue flowers. This was fine when my dining room walls had blue in the wallpaper, but now, I have gone to browns and beige and , well, it just seems a bit ‘off’, since they both looked striking with either my blue or white tablecloths; those colors contrast a bit with the more subdued browns. I have had the dish sets for more years than I have lived in the house, so the match with the décor had been a fluke. Do take into consideration redecorating when picking dishware, unless you have the funds to replace everything,(and you don’t become sentimentally attached to dish sets like my son!)

When I was a teenager, I accompanied my sister and  my mother to shop for ‘holiday dishes’. We were in need of a set to use when family gathered at our house for holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. The department store Mom chose had an enormous selection of dishware and china. She immediately dismissed the high-end priced ones,(by necessity), and the most impractical or the very wrong colors,(she disliked strong patterns, garish colors, and pink).She quickly chose three styles and weighed the benefits of all…and talked, and changed her mind and discussed…this went on for hours. My mother let the patient young man who was our salesman leave us several times to make other sales while she ‘decided’. We learned about the man’s wife, his children,(two daughters, I recall), where he lived and his education. We learned of his dreams and aspirations and finally, my mother decided on a lovely set  in off-white, beige, taupe and brown, with leaves , fruit, acorns and nuts.Its name was  “Random Harvest”. My sister still has many of the pieces, but after all that deliberation, Mom still chose a pattern that was only truly suitable for Thanksgiving!

Holiday–themed dishes are darling, I will be the first to admit. I have many, for almost every holiday; but I have to resist buying any more. I am a recovering post-holiday sale addict. I mean it seriously; it is at dangerous levels. I have bought things I did not need and really could not afford, but they were all so cute and up to 75% off! Now I now stay out of stores after holidays. I will admit for recently ‘falling off the wagon’. I was at a charity thrift store, the kind where I drop things off in donation and to try to declutter but then I go in and buy more things to take out. Anyway, they had THE cutest new set of Easter mugs!( Hey, the money went to feed the needy! And my grandkids will only be little for so long.)
Easter MugsCan you blame me?
The biggest problem, (besides the expense), is where to store seasonal dishes. They take up room, they are often ‘cute-shaped’ so they don’t stack well. Placed in boxes, they are easily broken because they are moved around, heavy things are stacked on them or, if your temperatures fluctuate a great deal, the dishware can easily crack when stored in an unheated garage or storage area. If you do need to store them outside the house or in an attic or basement, you have to find them in cold or hot weather, lug them in, make sure no bugs are in the boxes, wash them…then where do they go until you use them? And there is always the heartbreak of finding out too late that the dishes are ornamental and were not meant for food use,(either the paint or the ceramic has lead or other toxic residue), or that the pattern has come off in the dishwasher. (Lead levels are also a concern when considering crystal or metal serving-ware. Use these only for dry foods and line with a napkin, or line with plastic for moist foods.)

So what do I suggest? What I use more often than not? Glass serving-ware. Many people like silver services; if you have them, fine; go for it for your fancier occasions. No one knows when or why being served on silver platters became standard, but science has learned that silver has an antibacterial effect; it inhibits bacteria and keeps food fresher longer. Most of us don’t have silver and since it isn’t appropriate for casual serving, I also love to use, (and recommend), wood and baskets, in wood, cane, bamboo, straw, or metal.Glass serving-ware

[Examples of some of my serving glassware and crystal]

Glass, with baskets, wood with baskets, these are all you need to set a lovely table for any occasion, be it sit down, buffet or just snacks, and they go with any of your sets of dishes, glass, ceramic or china. They are useful for any holiday or any celebration, sports event or no special occasion. Do you want more of a holiday theme? Use holiday linens, or even paperware, or better yet, mix and match linens/paperware. Mix and match colors: red and browns for Thanksgiving, red and green for Christmas, red for Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July or many festive occasions, green for St.Patrick’s Day ,Earth Day or mix it with any pastels for Easter. With limited funds, try to at least find large, white or beige fabric napkins to line your baskets and wooden bowls when you serve breads, crackers and other dry items. You can add another color or paper napkin layered over the white. If storage is a problem or funds really are low, you can buy large white paper napkins and spread out the more expensive and colorful holiday/event-themed paper napkins this way, as well.
If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can run-up some different colored or holiday-colored liners and napkins, but that is not necessary.

And even if your funds are VERY limited, glass serving-ware is always available in thrift stores. Matching sets are not important; glass goes with glass and glass goes with everything. The same with wood and baskets, just be sure that you can thoroughly clean and sanitize any used item.(Some baskets will fall apart in your dishwasher. At the very least, you must immerse them in a bleach and cleaner solution or spray them with a kitchen cleaner that contains bleach or other antibacterial cleaner. Rinse thoroughly and dry in sunlight. The same applies to used wooden vessels.)

Metal basketsBaskets

[Some metal and natural baskets with wooden servingware]

See, it is easy to set a nice table with what you can easily have on hand for any holiday, or get-together, from a full meal to snacks, without stress, with confidence and pride.

Any questions?

Merry Christmas!/ Rice Puddings

Here I thought that I was ahead time-wise this year, but it got down to crunch time! Right now, it’s Christmas Eve about noon and I am scurrying…a second kind of rice pudding is on the stove, spaghetti sauce is cooking, there is a pumpkin pie in the oven and I am waiting for gelatin to cool so I can make chiffon, and the spinach dip will be next in order;(recipes soon).
There are actually some cookies left for tomorrow, but if I don’t get toffee made I will be in the outs with several family members, (including a daughter-in-law…we don’t want that!)

I came here just to wish all a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrate it; it you don’t I hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends!
We are celebrating the Birth of Christ in every way here.

I hate to post without at least one recipe. It may be too late for your plans this year, but since traditional Rice Pudding is a Christmas favorite in many places, surprise people by serving my alternate versions at other times. It would be wonderful for a New Year’s buffet, or any buffet, anytime, or as a side dish or dessert. The Pina Colada one is grand for warm weather served cold. (Perfect for you people in the Southern Hemisphere or where the weather is warmer).

Wow them any time at a pot-luck!

My version of ‘standard’ Rice Pudding puts a couple of new twists. Whereas traditional Rice Pudding is either loved or ignored, this will have the lovers leaping and may make a few converts for the dish. Both are gluten-free and can be made vegan.
Recipes may be halved for fewer servings, but surprisingly, these do freeze well. It’s nice to find them when you have the Isn’t–Winter-Over?-Blahs and need a little comfort food.

Rice Pudding

My Rice Pudding

3 cups of cooked regular rice [see August Archives]

2 ½-3 cups milk, (whole), almond or soy [for vegan]
(if using whole milk, you may need to add an extra ½ cup milk or opt, cream)

2/3 cup sugar or other sweetener, syrups, honey, mix and match; you can make adjustments by taste later (without honey, vegan)

1 cup currants (traditional: raisins)

2 tsp. ground nutmeg (traditional: cinnamon)

Heat milk, sweetener, currents and nutmeg to just boiling; (do not let it boil over!)

Reduce heat; add the rice. Stir completely. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, until it is thick and creamy. Taste and adjust for spice and sweetness. Serve warm or cold.

P-C Rice Pudding

Pina Colada Rice Pudding

I large can (or 2 small) pineapple tidbits, or other pineapple, chopped and drained,(reserve liquid)

2 cups coconut milk, (alternatives: almond or soy [vegan] or whole milk)

1/2 cup sugar,(preferably raw; options: white, syrup of choice,[vegan] or honey, mix and match; will be adjusted by taste later)

1 cup coconut,(I prefer sweetened)

3 cups cooked rice

[Optional: 1 Tbsp. Cream of Coconut]

Drain the pineapple, set aside.

Place the pineapple juice in a deep, heavy saucepan or medium pot, boil and reduce,(until it evaporates and condenses) to half the amount. Add the milk. It may very well curdle; that is not a problem. Add the sweetener and the coconut and bring just to simmering.

Add the rice, simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until it is thick and creamy. [Add Cram of Coconut, if using].Taste for sweetness and adjust.
I would say serve this one cold, but it was delicious warm last night; my husband ate half of I t,(no kidding, which is why I am also making the other version today!)

I wish you all the happiest of holidays! Peace in your hearts and Peace on Earth.

Christmas Cookies While We Wait


I have been negligent again. I have been very tied up and while we are waiting for a special guest blogger, I thought I’d post pictures of the few Christmas cookies I made this year. I usually add half a dozen more types, but like I said, I’ve been busy!Xmas cookies

Clockwise, starting with the front are my Cocoa-Gingerbread Men,(with Angels, and new this year, Teddy Bears.) Next are Peanut Butter Stamped Cookies,(Santas), above them are the not-so-pretty-but-delicious Pineapple Date Nut Cookies, (sprinkles help a little!).Next to them are Cherry-Nut Cookies,(with a few Basic Cookies).I see that some candy sneaked into the picture,(Nut Clusters, in the round bowl in the back).The white, sprinkled cookies to the right are Date-Nut Meringues; in the jar are Basic Cookies, dressed up for Christmas and in the middle are Spice Cookies.(The recipes for the last two  are in the October archives).


So, if you are doing last-minute baking, or looking for new recipes for your New Year’s celebrations, I have these here for you. Round cookies made with clock faces, or star-shaped are particularly fitting for New Year’s Eve, as would be any cookie with plenty of sprinkles… Ring in the New Year!

Of course, you don’t have to just make these for the holidays, but it is always nice to have a few that people look forward to, to make holidays special. Since the Date-Nut Meringues have no flour, they would be appropriate for Passover and for people who need a gluten-free diet.


The Date-Nut Meringue recipe came from an old magazine insert that my mother had. I adapted it just a bit.


Whites of 2 large eggs

Dash of salt

1/3 cup of sugar

1 tsp.vanilla, (or a dash of vanilla powder) OPTIONAL

1 8oz. package of dried dates, chopped

1 cup  of walnuts, chopped


Decors or sprinkles, if desired,(or sprinkle with ground nuts)


Preheat oven to 210F. Spray with cooking/baking pan spray or grease/ oil cookie sheets.(Even if using parchment paper; these babies want to STICK!)


Make meringue, not too dry. To do so, beat egg whites until foamy, add salt and vanilla, (if using). Beat on high speed and add sugar slowly. Beat until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted.(If you had any accident, a little egg yolk was in the whites, the bowl or beaters were not completely grease-free, your meringue will NOT  peak. Don’t despair; your cookies should still work, as long as your ‘meringue’ is not runny).

Fold in the walnuts and dates,(mix gently).Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for approximately 1 ½ hours. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to sit until the oven is cool,(or overnight).You want the cookies dry, but not hard. Trust me, even if they get brittle, they are still good! Remove from the cookie sheets gently.


My mother always made me use a long, thin decorating spatula to remove cookies from the sheets, never  a ‘pancake turner’. Now that Mom is gone, feel free to use one, but don’t pick up more than one soft one at a time; they’ll become misshapen.


Another thing I will do is pass along Mom’s carefully-guarded Cherry-Nut Cookie recipe. I was sworn to secrecy on this one, but I had promised one woman who begged and begged that I would give it to her after my mother left us. When Mom died, I had to track the woman down over several states, but I followed through. My mother was an incredible cook, no one, not even I, to whom she taught everything, can duplicate her touch. (If yours come out as good as hers did, more power to you!) My mother taught me everything  because I could keep a secret. Mom would have me continue to be the keeper of the keys to the locked food cabinet. I realized some time ago that I have no  intention of keeping that family tradition. My grandmother took very many recipes to her grave; it makes no sense.(More on this when we discuss Spaghetti sauce in the future).


So, please eat these with love.


Cherry-Nut Cookies

1 cup minus 1 Tablespoon sifted all purpose flour(I don’t know why, but it does make a difference)

½ tsp. salt

½ cup butter or margarine

¼ cup sugar

1 egg , divided (separate white and yolk)

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1Tbsp. grated orange rind (fresh)


¾ cup minced walnuts

Candied or Maraschino cherries * see note


Cream the butter or margarine and sugar,(beat until fluffy)

Add salt and egg yolk; mix well

Add vanilla, lemon juice and orange rind, mix well

Add flour and mix well; dough will be soft

Refrigerate until cold and firm

(Do you realize I grew up doing all this creaming and mixing by hand? They were worth it, but a mixer is easier!)

Beat the egg white slightly, with about a teaspoonful of water. When the dough is firm, shape it into small balls and dip them into the egg white, then roll them in the nuts. Place 2″ apart on cookie sheets. Press half of a cherry into the middle of each cookie. Bake at 325F for about 20 minutes or until the bottoms as slightly browned.


  • *Note:My mother insisted on using candied cherries, despite the fact that none of us could stand them; we ate all around them and threw them away. My sister came up with the idea of using Maraschino cherries and told me to suggest it to Mom. If looks could kill, you wouldn’t be reading this now. She thought it was an abomination; but I always only use Maraschinos.
  • By the way, she would also do some in red cherries and some in green; I don’t always bother. My nieces used to call them “Stop and Go Cookies”; it seems the Christmas color idea was lost on them and they saw traffic lights!



Cocoa-Gingerbread Men/Angels

(Adapted from Hershey’s Old-Fashioned Christmas)

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

½ cup light molasses,(do not use dark or Blackstrap)

½ cup light brown sugar, packed** (see note)

1 egg

½ tsp. baking soda

3 cups flour

¾ cup cocoa powder

1 ½ tsp. brandy,(or vanilla )


Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar and add molasses. Beat in the egg and baking soda. Slowly beat in the cocoa; then slowly add the flour. Chill. Roll out on lightly floured board to about ¼ inch and cut into desired shapes. Place on greased or parchment-covered cookie sheets 1 ½-2 inches apart and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch,(do not over-cook).Remove to cookie sheet and cool. Decorate with Royal icing,(October archives).



Pineapple Date Nut Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1  tsp. baking powder

dash of salt

1/3 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cups well-packed light brown sugar**(see note)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 large cans crushed pineapple or finely chopped other canned pineapple,(approx.2 cups), drained.(I used the one packed in juice, then simply drink the juice)

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup minced,(finely chopped) dates

¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Sprinkles, jimmies, decors, etc. (if using)


Mix the drained pineapple with baking soda in a non-aluminum bowl; set aside.(it will fizzle or bubble.)

Cream butter with egg and sugars until light and fluffy; add baking powder, mix well.

Add pineapple mixture; add the flour, mix well.

Add the dates and nuts, mix well.

Drop onto greased or parchment –lined cookie sheets by spoonfuls 1″apart. Apply sprinkles,(if using). Bake at 325F for about 30 minutes,(start checking after 20). These cookies need to dry, as they are very wet. Allow them to become browned on the bottom. If they are still wet in the middle, allow them to stand in the warm oven for longer. They may seem to become a bit chewy, but they are good. Cool completely before storing loosely covered,(or they will stick together). Store in one layer or with parchment or wax paper in between layers in a closed container.

These are often many people’s favorite cookie.


**Note:Brown sugar is measured ‘packed’, that is, pressed into a measuring cup , compressed as much as possible with the palm of your hand or knuckles.


I hope all are having fun preparing for the holidays and that they are stress-free. I stressed-out over all of it for too long. I did plenty this year, even though I cut back, and yet, all are eating well, (too well!), and enjoying the decorations, while the CD’s or Christmas movies play away!





I have not yet taken the time to investigate the possibilities of these recipes using vegan egg substitutes. I have, however, found a site that is a wealth of  information:

The Best Vegan Egg Substitutes for Vegan Cooking and Vegan Baking


I have every intention of making a sincere effort to find the time to check these out and do some experimenting in the coming year.

Otherwise, all of the recipes are ovo-vegetarian friendly.

You Can Do It…Breakfasts/Potatoes and Leftovers

To continue with the Breakfast theme I started, (and the uses for Parsley Potatoes from the previous posts), I have found that I can turn nearly any leftover into an omelet, scrambled eggs, or casserole, which is helpful when you have guests staying.

The Parsley Potatoes, or any leftover/pre-cooked potatoes, are a good way to diversify breakfasts. Leftover hash browns, Potatoes O’Brien,(recipe below), baked or mashed potatoes are easily cooked in an egg mixture, with or without added meat or cheese and can be made into breakfast.
All it takes is a little pre-planning to have leftovers in the first place.
Use sausage, bacon or ham, or any leftovers in your refrigerator.
Do you have steak or a roast? Ham or pork roast? Chicken? Whatever the form, if you can chop it, you can add it to eggs and if you have potatoes, all well and good. Pot Roast? Stew? Go ahead and add whatever veggies are left over; if there is gravy, add some as well. Believe me, especially if you have males in for breakfast, they will love it.

Want to wow them? Scramble eggs with spaghetti sauce. Go ahead, add potatoes,or serve with toast.

If it seems daunting, (or you can’t stay over the stove stirring), butter or oil a casserole dish, or pie plate and layer the beaten eggs and fillings,(preferably browning the potatoes first).
If you are not adding meat, or the meats are not very flavorful, please add cheese and/or your favorite sauce…hot pepper, soy, Worcestershire, chili, picante’ ; whatever you like. If you know your spices, (I’ll be talking about spices in the future), add some of what you like and bake until the eggs are set.

Want to go vegan? Fry or bake the potatoes with leftover vegetables, vegetable ragut or other leftover, flavorful dish, with added sauces. Zola’s Zucchini or Italian Baked Tomatoes,[October Archives], work well. (Ovo-vegetarians, these also go well with eggs.)

You can use mashed potatoes to make potato pancakes.

If you are truly unused to cooking and entertaining; let’s start with the basics:

Mashed Potatoes

Wash firm potatoes, [I like to use russets]
Peel and cube (approx. 1 inch squares; no larger. Make them as uniform as possible, except for a very few, which should be a bit smaller)
Place in a large pot; f ill with cold water and add at least 1 Tbsp. salt
Boil just until all the larger pieces are soft enough for a fork to easily slip into them; do not overcook.
Drain and immediately add butter or margarine and a little cream or milk,(almond or rice milk can be used).Mash, preferably with a hand-held mixer, until it is completely smooth.
Add more salt if needed.

Potato Pancakes from Mashed Potatoes

For each cup of mashed potatoes , add:

one egg ,(optional)
1 Tbsp flour (all –purpose or rice flour, if you have it)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. sautéed onions, chives, scallions, leeks (or 1 tsp. dried chives)

Drop large spoonfuls onto hot, oiled skillet, flattening with the back of the spoon.
Fry until the bottom is browned. Lower the heat, flip gently and fry slowly until the bottom is browned and the insides are semi-firm.

These are also a good side dish.

Potatoes O’Brien

Wash, peel and slice potatoes very thinly; you can use a mandolin slicer, the large or medium side of a grater a food processor or you can use frozen hash browns from your grocery store.
In a large frying pan, brown the potatoes in oil with ¼ cup of diced onions (or scallions), and 2 Tbsp. diced green pepper for every cup of potato. Add salt and pepper. Fry until the potatoes are crispy on one side. Flip and brown until crispy on the other side.(It does not matter if it breaks apart.) Use as they are, or add to eggs or vegetables.

Any questions?

With a little ingenuity you can be a hit with family and friends…and entertain well on a shoestring.

Have fun; entertain and don’t stress out. You can do it!

REALITY Blog Award

reality-blog-awardThanks so much to both Fae [Fae’s Twist&Tango] and Lesley [ PlantBasedDietAdventures] for nominating me for this award.

I find blogging awards to be not only personally encouraging, but they also help to show our appreciation of fellow bloggers, and spread the word about other blogs.I have found bloggers to be always encouraging, helpful and supportive. I love finding new people with their ideas and lives from all over the world. You just ‘gotta’ love the Internet!


The rules of the award are:

1  Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2  Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3  Answer the same 5  questions presented.
4  Nominate up to 20 blogs for the award and notify them on their blogs.
5  Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

The Questions:

1.If you could change one thing, what would you change?

I would like to see an end to all violence; War  is never an answer.

2. If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

None, if I could not know what I know now.

3.What is one thing that really scares you?

Selfish acts with disregard for the innocent who suffer because of it.

4. What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?

There are a number of  ‘unsung songs’ in my life. I think getting  a few more things published  again,(it’s been a while) , is within reach.

5.If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?

I was never vain, nor considered the beauty of the family, but now people are saying that my younger pictures are beautiful…go figure! I think, for ONE day…instead  of being the President,the Pope or the Dalai Lama,I’d like to be someone  with a  great figure.Forget about turning heads;I’d just like to stand in front of a three-way mirror all day and try on gorgeous clothes! (And I never thought I’d ever say anything so shallow!)

So, hopefully, my nominees will have some fun and receive encouragement .(If you have received this before,Friends,I apologize; but I was flattered. )

Here are a few nominees from me. There are so many to choose from! I will try to spread it around a bit. I hope you will check out each others’ blogs, and others  who visit them:

The Customs of Christmas

Enchanted Seashells

The Brave Cook…

The Clothes Line…

Arlen Shahverdyan

Tamara Leigh…

Food My Friend

Epicurean Eva…


Homemade With a Mess

Eclectic Lamb

Love To Cook…

Inspire and Indulge

Chef In Disguise

The Perky Poppy Seed….

The Healthy Flavor

Four Foxes,One Hound[I admit, this is self-serving; I am the “Friday Fox”, but there are 4 others who deserve to be checked-out!]

Let me add one more; I could not find her address until now:

A Taste of Wintergreen

Thank all of you for your great work, your fun  and your support!

Breakfast Burritos

Sorry that I have taken so long to get back…extenuating circumstances! This is the first of several posts I where I wish to give advice on breakfasts for family and that you can show-off with to feed guests with little effort.

When we lived in Colorado our church held a Mexican Breakfast every year to benefit the religious education program. It started slow and then grew every year as the Mexican/Americans in the parish rallied to show their best. It went from being (just) the wonderful breakfast burritos to homemade anise cookies on every plate, with entertainment of dancers in varying traditional dress and a Mariachi band in full costume…and full volume.
The star, however, were basically the Smothered Breakfast Burritos I give you today. Although I take a short-cut with the sauce, the outcome is worth the slight further effort.Breakfast Burritos

Smothered Breakfast Burritos

[To serve 4]

Take approx. 1 ½ cups very lean pork (traditional) or chicken breast, cube it and brown in 1 Tblsp. Oil or butter. Remove from pan and add to a pot in which you have your green chili sauce.
If you can make a nice green chili, go for it, if not, pick up a nice brand of basic tomatillo green chili sauce in mild or medium, or as I prefer, a mixture of both.(Warning: the medium runs pretty hot, but if you want and can take it made traditionally, go medium).

Pour off the fat from the frying pan and add a Tablespoon or so of water and deglaze the pan.(Place the pan over med-high heat and ,using a spatula or wooden spoon, loosen the pan drippings). Add to the chili mixture and simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil or butter in a non-stick pan. Using 1-1 ½ cups of the Parsley Potatoes (previous post) or other pre-cooked potatoes,(boiled or baked and cubed), or if need be,frozen hash brown potatoes, cook over med-high heart until slightly brown and slightly dry. Add 4-5 eggs with 1 tsp salt and scramble with the potatoes until set firm.

Warm 4 large or 8 small flour tortillas. Place some of the egg and potatoes in each tortilla and roll, after folding and tucking the ends in. Place on dish and spoon the chili mixture over the burritos.

Breakfast Burritos were popular with my restaurant clientele, but since most were bought ‘To-Go’ and eaten while driving to work, smothering was out of the question. I added the pork, chicken,( or more often), sausage or bacon to the egg and potato mixture as it cooked, (made fresh, per order. With pre-cooked potatoes ready, it is very easy and quick.).

One of our regular customers, a real Santa Claus look-alike, came back from a trip to New York City. He said,”I was walking near Times Square and thought, ‘Those burritos need sour cream’.” You can bet the next order from our supplier was individual packets of fresh sour cream to go with every burrito.

(Want to go meatless? If you use eggs and cheese, fell free to leave the meat out and enjoy.)

I hope you try these and join me for the continuation of Guest/Family Breakfasts.

Versatile Parsley Potatoes/Ham-Broccoli Casserole


If you can boil water, you can make a lovely potato dish that stands on its own and also has many other applications. As a matter of fact, I always make an over-sized batch just for the purpose of using it in several dishes during the week. With all my mother’s fantastic foods, this was one of the recipes that she was most often asked for, and one of the very few she would give(!)

Basic Parsley Potatoes:

Wash, peel and dice enough potatoes to make about 3 cups.

[Be sure your potatoes are of a uniform size, anywhere from approximately ¾-1 1/4 inch squares or rectangles. Size will affect cooking time).

Add to a pot of 2 quarts salted water.
Then add:
1/8 cup/ 2 Tbsp. minced yellow onions or scallions (green onions)
About ½ teaspoon pepper,(coarsely ground, preferably)
¼ cup minced parsley(dried is fine; add more if you wish.)

Boil until the potatoes are JUST tender; do not overcook.

I bet anyone could handle that.
Add a little butter or margarine and this is so good, I served in as it is in my restaurant
[I once put a bit too much parsley…OK, way to much parsley. The customers liked it; my niece/business partner has never let me live down my “Parsley with Potatoes”]
These works beautifully with any entrée that has an intense sauce or gravy, (instead of mashed potatoes), or if the main dish and other sides are very flavorful. It makes a light break between strongly distinct flavors.

Kick it up a notch with the addition of green beans, cauliflower or broccoli.

Kick it up more by placing in a baking dish and sprinkling with breadcrumbs and cheese; ( mix one cup of dried breadcrumbs with 2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine; add your favorite herbs and salt, or use Italian-flavored crumbs).Top with cheese of choice: medium to sharp cheddar is good, or Pepper Jack. If using Italian crumbs, use mozzarella or provolone. ( Gluten-sensitives can omit the breadcrumbs; vegans and those with lactose problems can omit the cheese.)
Bake in a 375F oven until it is heated through.

You can pan-fry the basic parsley potatoes and make them crispy. The flavor change is enough to make this a different side dish. They will also then go well with scrambled eggs; (added bacon or ham optional).

Or take it farther and make Breakfast Burritos (recipe in the next post)


This easy, cheesy casserole is perfect for a buffet or cosy family dinner

This easy, cheesy casserole is perfect for a buffet or cosy family dinner

And here is a delicious, easy, budget-stretching casserole with another very versatile creation, my Cheese Sauce: (last post)

Ham, Broccoli, Potato and Cheese Casserole
2 cups of Parsley Potatoes
add 1+ cup of cooked, chopped broccoli (frozen is fine, simply thaw or bring to boil in salted water and drain)
and 1 ½ cups chopped or cubed ham (remnants of a baked ham are good; you can also use portions of boneless ham or even deli ham )
place in a deep baking dish and layer with Cheese Sauce

Bake uncovered in a 350F oven for 25 minutes. This is great on a buffet, or just for a warm, simple cold-weather, all-in-one meal.