Tag Archives: Jeff Salter

Guest Novelist,Artist Elaina Lee/ Full Day of Recipes

I am so please to FINALLY have our time with Elaina Lee. I have been playing tag with her for some time now! Elaina is a novelist whose other claim-to-fame is her beautiful designs for other writers’ book covers. Here are two of my favorites that capture the essence of the stories within:

Sarah Ballance’s  Hawthorne:

Perfect cover for Hawthorne, a haunting story

Perfect cover for Hawthorne, a haunting story

And Jeff Salter’s  Called To Arms Again:

Patriotic novel

Patriotic novel

Elaina is going to grace us with a full day of easy and delicious meals for family and friends, so I will let her speak for herself in the prepared notes she sent to me, along with her recipes with photos.

If you have any questions or comments for Either Elaina or me, please feel free to comment below.
I present to you, Elaina Lee:

Hello! I’m Elaina Lee, award-winning author and cover artist. I have two sons, one in the 10th grade, who attends high school, and another who is four and currently being homeschooled. For the past year and a half I’ve been trying to slowly wean us from processed foods. I say slowly because the teen has been having issues giving up the chemicals. When I really began to notice what we were consuming, the lack of recognizable ingredients started to bother me. If it’s going into my children’s mouth, I want to know what it is! At first the task seemed a little daunting. Then as I began to cook and make all our sweets and dinner breads and breakfasts for the week, I realized it wasn’t so hard after all! Plus, the extra money in our pockets has been nice, I’ll admit  I’d like to thank Tonette for having me as a guest today as I share some very simple and delicious recipes. I’ve covered an entire day of meals! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

BREAKFAST –

Delicious and easy Apple Scones

Delicious and easy Apple Scones


Spiced Apple Scones with Icing
These scones are very easy to make, but be prepared to get your hands dirty! To me, that’s half the fun. Sort of like when you were a kid and could ‘bake’ in the mud. *grin* We’re currently in Apple season, so finding a good deal on Apple’s should be breeze for most of you right now, depending on where you live. You will notice an apple theme going on here, as my youngest and I went apple picking for a field trip and I still have apples I’m trying to figure out what to do with! The icing is optional, another great way to make these is to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the tops before baking.

Ingredients –
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup peeled apples, finely chopped (about two apples)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp clove

Directions –
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda. Set aside (make sure the bowl isn’t too small, as the sour cream expands in the bowl).

In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder cream of tartar, salt and spices. Cut in butter (if you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use a fork for this. The butter can be softened to make this easier, but NOT melted!). Stir the sour cream mixture and egg into the flour mixture until just moistened (the batter will appear to be very dry, don’t worry). Fold in apples.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and then with your hands ‘knead’ the dough until the dough no longer has dry areas (I just fold it over onto itself a few times). Pat dough out until it’s about ¾ inch thick. This is where you’ll get messy!  Using a knife with a sharp edge coated lightly in flour, cut scones into triangles (if you can’t get them perfect, don’t worry, it won’t affect the taste). Each time you cut a new scone, be sure to re-coat your knife so it doesn’t stick into the dough. I keep a small mound of flour off to the side and just lay the knife edge down on both sides before cutting. Place cut pieces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this stuff is your best friend when baking!) about an inch or so apart.

If you don’t want to frost your scone, sprinkle them with a cinnamon and sugar mixture if desired.

Bake scones for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on bottom.

For the Icing –
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk (more if needed)
1 tbsp corn syrup
¼ tsp vanilla

In a small bowl sift the powdered sugar (a small strainer will do this). Add the milk and mix on a low. Add corn syrup and vanilla. If when thoroughly mixed the frosting is still in lumps, add another tbsp of milk. Add in small increments only! You want your icing to be thick.

You can either spread the icing with a butter knife OR you can spoon the icing into a bag (this is messy, but then you get an excuse to lick your fingers… just sayin’). Cut the very tip off a corner (the smaller the better). Squeeze the bag until icing comes out and now you can pipe the icing over the cooled scones.

And now your done! Yay! Delicious home-made scones! This recipe is very versatile. You can replace the spices with a dash of orange zest and orange extract and use cranberries for the fruit to make orange cranberry scones. Or remove the spices all together and use blueberries. Experiment, have fun, most of all, enjoy!!!

LUNCH –

Easy, tasty Ham Salad

Easy, tasty Ham Salad

Ham Pasta Salad –

I’m not normally a lunch making gal, I’ll admit. My family at lunch time has to fend for themselves (unless you’re the four year-old. He has it made). But this last weekend my husband, father and oldest son where building the front deck on our house so I had to come up with something. We live a good distance from any store, so I had to be able to make something that I already had in my freezer or fridge for meat and whatever my mom happened to have in her garden for produce. I was lucky enough to stumble across this recipe that is so delicious and can use absolutely anything you have on hand for produce. I’m listing what we used, but if you don’t have it and happen to have broccoli or zucchini, throw it in there! Make the dressing in the morning so the flavors mix together well by lunch. I made the entire thing in the morning and just covered the mixture without the dressing and put it into the fridge until everyone was ready to eat and then mixed everything together before serving.

Ingredients –
8 ounces pasta (shell, macaroni, spiral…)
1 pound cooked ham (I used left over ham and shredded it with a fork, but you can use cubed ham sold in packages)
1 bell pepper (I used green and banana peppers)
1 onion, chopped
1 half large pickle (or whole if you have a pickle loving family), chopped
1 tomato, diced
½ cup sliced black olives
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 ½ tsp beef bouillon granules
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp the pre-chopped stuff)
½ cup pickle juice

In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, bouillon, salt, pepper, garlic and pickle juice. Cover and refrigerate. Cook pasta according to package directions. While your pasta is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Mix meat, vegetables and pasta in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, add dressing.

This was NOT dry the next day, but we noticed the ham lost its smoky flavor, so we felt this pasta was best served the day of making it. If you’re family prefers bread and butter (sweet) pickles to dill, you can use them instead.  Don’t be scared by the ingredients, this was a hit with everyone in my family who ate it.

DINNER –

Red Beans and Rice –

Ready in a jiffy Red Beans and Rice

Ready in a jiffy
Red Beans and Rice

Being a southern family, my husband loves it when I cook the staples, Red Beans and Rice being of them. This is a simple, very flavorful meal.

Ingredients –
3 cans red beans
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 celery stalks
1 large can chicken broth (or three normal cans or a can and a box – around six cups)
2 bay leaves
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp Cajun seasoning (I use the stuff that comes in a big green shaker and is ‘Creole’ – don’t know if I can say a brand, so that’s as specific as I’ll get, LOL!)
1 lb andouille (we use just regular smoked sausage), sliced

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, pepper, garlic, celery and sausage until sausage begins to brown and vegetables are soft.

Rinse beans and place into pot with sausage and vegetables. Add broth. Season with bay leaves, cayenne, parsley and Cajun seasoning. Stir. Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 2-2 ½ hours.

About twenty to thirty minutes before you’re ready to eat, make enough white rice for everyone. We usually make 1 ½ cups dry or 5 cups prepared.

DESSERT –

Delicious and quick dessert

Delicious and quick dessert

Apple Crisp

I love apple crisp, but for some reason had yet to make it. I needed a dessert for Tonette, and this can be one of those areas of baking that can be intimidating. Thinking of something simple that wasn’t a cookie was a challenge. While everyone loves cookies, I wanted something outside the box, but that was as easy as a cookie. Enter the crisp. I may actually make this again this weekend it was that good!

Ingredients –
6 apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger (optional)
½ tsp ground clove (optional)
2 tbsp water
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon (yes another one!)
½ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350

Mix the sugar, 1 tbsp of flour, cinnamon, ginger, clove, apples and water together in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and butter together. Place half the mixture in the bottom of an 8×8 dish. Gently pat to form a crust. Place apples on crust. Sprinkle the remaining mixture over the apples.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

I hope everyone enjoys these recipes and I’d like to thank Tonette for having me!

If you’re in the mood for a fun, light-hearted read to wrap up summer, be sure to check out my Southern Romantic Comedy, A Very Southern Affair. Available now for only $0.99!!!

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords

You can find Elaina at – http://www.elainalee.com

OR

www.forthemusedesign.com

Thank you so much for joining us, Elaina.I’m sure many of our readers will enjoy using your recipes, and, I hope, enjoy your work.

Don’t be a stranger!

Anyone care to ask a question of Elaina, or make a comment?

Emergency Preparedness

I know I have been negligent of this blog and those of my fellow bloggers.I am very sorry and have missed you,(you will be hearing from me). I had a few family ‘fires’ to put out, some health testing and our beloved dog, Mark, failed rapidly .We catered to him for a while but when he could no longer function, we put him to rest. He is missed.

One reason I have been away is caring for Mark in his last days.

One reason I have been away is caring for Mark in his last days.

Some of you may not know this, but I also post on blog shared with four other writers, “Four Foxes, One Hound”( http://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/); four women, one man. I am the Friday Fox. We usually do theme weeks, we have open discussion and sometimes we have in guests to introduce readers to other writers.
“The Hound” sent an email to me a short time ago; he had questions on keeping food on-hand for emergencies and suggested that I make it a topic for this blog. With the severe weather-system season stepping in in most of the United States, now is a good time for that series, but any kind of problem can happen at any time, and people should be prepared.
I am not here to tell you to hoard food or become a survivalist, nor am I going to use scare tactics. But keep in mind that twenty years ago the Mississippi river flooded seven miles out of its banks and an ice storm that never affected my sister,( who lives near me), knocked mine out for four days and others in my area lost power for two weeks. Several years ago the remnants of a hurricane jumped over me and landed square on Louisville, Kentucky, knocking out some of their power for over a week; who would have known? You never know when something as simple as someone digging can disrupt your power source.
Any type of power-outage can be made a lot less stressful with a little planning, and that is what we will discuss.
What does this have to do with food and hosting? Well, it certainly has to do with food and you never know when an emergency, even a small one, can hit; it might just be when you have guests. And keeping extra supplies on-hand for either and emergency or for unexpected guests,(which should never constitute an emergency if you are prepared), is just common sense.

Here are the questions and answers that Jeff Salter and I exchanged:

Tonette,
I have several legitimate questions (& I want straightforward answers) … but it also occurred to me that this Q&A might make a good use of your food blog.
If you want to conduct it on your blog, that’s fine with me. Might get some helpful add’l input.

Questions about can goods shelf life

I’ve read / heard that standard, grocery-store canned goods (such as beans, peas, carrots, taters, corn, fruit, etc.) can last for MANY years … provided there are no bulges in the can. But I’d like to narrow that down since I’m setting aside some food for use during bad storms.
Absolutely avoid dented cans at all costs, as well as check for bulging regularly. When in doubt, throw it out! .Tomatoes/ tomato products have the shortest shelf-lives, with green beans a close second, along with canned milk products. Other beans do not have the shelf-lives that most other vegetables have. Creamed soups have shorter shelf-lives than broth-based. Still, ALL of the canned goods have several years; many far beyond their expiration dates, if they are not banged around. I keep mine in boxes in the back of shelves.

1. For a can with NO dates or codes: if I purchase it in Jan. 2013, how long is it predictably safe for consumption?

I would say at least the very minimum is two-three years for tomatoes and the short-lived ones. Other canned goods for five years or more, perhaps with some degradation of quality.[But not safety]

2. for a can with codes but no way to decipher the code: would the answer be the same as above?
Yes, but make sure you purchase them at stores that do big turn-over. Don’t pick them up from a country store, a ‘quick-stop’ or a generally non-food store,(such as a drug store), where they may have been sitting for a long time to start with.
[If you live in an area with slow-turn over in your local grocery store, consider making a trip to a larger city to stock up on staples].

3. For items marked with a date — what does the date mean? Does it mean it should be SOLD by that date? Eaten by that date? Or does the date have some other meaning?
It depends . Some actually say ‘Sell by:”; Some say “Best used by”, otherwise, it is a ‘use by’ date. It isn’t a magic number. There is lee-way there.

4. A few items indicate “Best when used by ____[date]___”. How many years after that date would they still be “good” (i.e., safe)?

No hard and fast rule, Jeff. Some products just don’t keep their full taste, texture and flavor as well as others. Eagle Brand turns dark, but is edible. Canned beets will be perfect for years afterward. Canned potatoes can get pretty soft after a number of years, but corn is usually fine. Tuna packets are a God-send, but nonfat dry milk goes stale, as do instant mashed potatoes.

5. What other tips do you have about storage & usage of typical grocery shelf canned goods?
If you have a dry basement or cellar, it is a good idea to put them there, but off the ground. Any place that is out of direct sunlight and dampness and kept from getting too hot or too cold.( never allow them to freeze). Don’t keep them where it isn’t usually climate-controlled, like a garage or barn.
Try not to move them around; the less they are bumped or shaken , the better , the longer the life. Try to keep them in boxes and mark them as to content and dates.(Which I had forgotten to do: dates).I am about to re-check my stash and see if I need to rotate, or use and replace with new stock.
That is the best and most realistic way to keep a supply of emergency foods; buy what you like and generally use and then you can go ahead and use it when it has been around for a while then replace it with newer ones.
The last time I tucked boxes away I made variety boxes, instead of all-one type of vegetable or food .For instance, I put different types of vegetables and fruits with canned milk and tuna, sardines &/or canned meat products. I also keep sugar and honey and some jellies, plus we keep peanut butter and canned and jarred nuts,(and we rotate that stock often). I also keep dried fruits on hand. If worse comes to worse ,(our reservoir pumping station went down once), we keep a couple of gallons of regular bleach, ( and rotate it, as it breaks down). You can purify water with it…so I keep lemonade mix and instant tea to make it palatable if we do need to drink it.
I do have some Deer Park water ‘pods’ on hand, as regular ‘milk-gallon’-type water containers do not last; they break down and leak; I have no idea why.
I don’t know if we come across as ‘survivalists’ or paranoid, but, you never know, right? I could be taken ill, as I have been and not been able to shop like I’d like or Joe might be out of work and we just might need to live off of these without an national or regional emergency. I have taken to cooking most of the food that I put in our freezer. That way, if we lose electricity, we could more easily eat or share the food and lose less, plus have less fear of not getting it cooked properly. Although we do have a generator which we used mostly to keep the freezer going when we lost power for several day with an ice storm s few years ago.

I also try to keep extra basic first aid and hygiene supplies ,(heavy on the hand sanitizer) as well as extra cleaning supplies and paper products, (i.e.: paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates and cups, plus plastic cutlery.

Was I clear? Do you have any more questions or did I skip something? Let me know.

Yes, the rest of you, too, please let me know if you have any questions. I will be expounding further on what types of foods and supplies are good and finding room to store them, which can be a challenge. (You have more storage in your place than you probably know.) I also want to go into practical safety features such as heating and lighting options.
I hope to hear from you, my Friends .