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Peach State says: Boy do I have a Recipe for you!

Dinner is served!

I often get phone calls from friends while I am fixing dinner.  They hear the chopping or blending and their interests is peaked.  “What are you making for dinner?”  “I don’t know what to have for dinner.” or “What is something I could make quickly?”

“Boy do I have a Recipe for you!”

I have crock-pot meals that take about 20 minutes to put together and then they cook all day so they are ready for you at dinner time.  I have wonderful ways to prepare ground beef that makes you forget you had ground beef the night before.  I have changed the method of preparation for fancy meals and side dishes so that the cook has time to relax.  The shortcuts in the kitchen are a specialty that I enjoy on a daily basis.  No more cutting up potatoes and carrots for Beef Stew….use the canned carrots and those wonderful, already cut up, potatoes in the freezer section.  I do, however, still make the gravy the old-fashioned way….it is the best!

“Boy do I have a Recipe for you!”

Some of these changes were natural due to the items now available in the store.  Most of the changes were due to being diagnosed with Diabetes a few years ago.  I will not eat food unless it looks and tastes good… “Will you?”  Some of the recipes given to me by the doctor’s office and those websites online for Diabetes and dieting looked awful or did not fit my specifications.  Before I go any further I need to tell you that I did lose a lot of weight.  I cut, to the core, my intake of carbs and sugars.  “I really need to start that back up!”  The Weight Watchers Diabetes food was higher in sugars and carbs for my standards and there were “Mushrooms”.  I hate “Mushrooms”!  I took from the recipes my mom had been using for her Diabetes and adapted them to fit my needs.  I had to prepare food that my family would eat.  For example:  The are having hamburgers and fries….I will have a patty with a salad…now I will have 8-10 sweet potato fries instead of the salad.  I cut my portions down as well and often had a growling stomach after dinner.  I counted and used the smallest dishes for my food.  I found a recipe for fudge and altered it so that I could have some.  I must have had about two pounds during that first Christmas and when I went to the doctor he noticed my blood  sugar was normal and weight was down.  I told him about the fudge and he wanted to know my recipe.

“Boy do I have a Recipe for you!”

MY FUDGE

Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk (1 small can)

Chocolate Chips (3 cups)

vanilla (1 TBS)

Place the sweetened condensed milk in a microwave bowl with the chocolate chips and microwave for 1 minute and stir. Place the bowl back in the microwave for an additional 30 seconds to a minute until smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and place in flat square dish and chill.  Cut to the desired bite sized morsel.  Makes two pounds.

I have two friends that read this blog who love my fudge and “OOOPS”…the cat is out of the bag.  “I told them it was easy!”  I have recently started baking pies and cakes to sale and have been asked about those recipes.  “Let me think about that for a moment.”  If I give you my recipe then you will be able to make your own and I will be out of a job.  I have one friend that recently ordered a Red Velvet Cake (Three layer) for her husband.  She asked me about my recipe and with all of my grinning and evading of the question she suddenly assumed that I used a mix…..I quickly told her “NO!”  and told her that if I gave it to her she would not need my baking talents anymore.  She laughed and said “You still make the best fudge!”  She realizes that time is a big factor for her and that, with small children, it would not be an option for her at this time to bake a 3-layer Red Velvet Cake.  “Maybe I will give her the recipe later.”

I loved watching my mother and father cook.  My dad was not afraid to try new things or try to duplicate a dish he enjoyed at a restaurant. My grandmother, on my dad’s side, had cookbooks with notes on her changes for many of the recipes.  “I have one of those books.”  She was a cook who would throw this and that in and stir and add this and that and flavor…”MMMM! That’ll do”.  She had a favorite recipe for dessert called a Jelly-roll and had the process down to a science.  “I always wondered if it was a Jelly-roll then where was the jelly.”  She used a marshmallow cream filling in the center of the dark chocolate cake.  It was soooo rich!  “I’ll stick with my fudge.”

I have found myself in a role of the nurturing older friend who helps the younger friend who does not cook.  She is another who would ask me how I cook my dinner.  Her main concern is time.  “I will use Wednesday as an example.”  Wednesdays are complicated because so many of my friends, and I, have church and choir practice.  My youngest child gets off the bus at 3:55 every afternoon. I am heading to church at 5:15….”Plan ahead!”  Crock pot meals are great for this day.  I can prepare the meal in the morning and as they say on the “Infomercial” Fix it and Forget it.  Dinner is 99% done when my youngest walks in the door on Wednesdays.  I will jump in the shower and then eat a little before heading out the door.  I have two other sons who go to another church on Wednesdays and they have to be there by 6….Everyone eats and there is time to clean up before charging off to our different churches. My favorite, and easiest, Wednesday night recipe is:

Crock Pot Enchiladas

Tortilla Shells

Meat of your choice (I usually make Chicken Enchiladas and canned chicken can be used.  Prepare your meat by par-boiling the chicken and pulling it apart or browning your ground beef)

Cheese (Grated in bags)

Enchilada Sauce (2 standard cans)

Layer, in Lasagna style, beginning with Tortilla Shell and fill the crock pot.  I start with shell, meat, shell cheese, sauce, shell, meat…..you see the pattern.  Place the top Tortilla shell on top and cover with cheese.  Pour the remaining Enchilada sauce on top.  Cover and let cook for at least 4 hours.

Black beans, corn, or refried beans are great additions to this dish.  Serve with a spoon full of Sour Cream and garnish with Green Onions. You can serve it with a salad and cornbread.

Easy clean up is also part of this meal especially when using paper plates.

Now I will go about my day…secure in the fact that someone out there will benefit from these two recipes.  If you have a great Crock pot recipe please send it my way….I am always in the market for easy and tasty meals…”Who isn’t?”

Have a great day!

D.L.

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Peach State says: All is Calm, All is Bright

Christmas Eve is finally here and all the planning and strength training will be tested.

I know it may feel like it but not at this house. “Nope!”  The house is still quiet and will swing into full gusto in about an hour and a half.  My day was already full and since talking with you yesterday I have two guests coming over today.  2 young ladies, each one the significant other, will visit and then whisk the son, they are associated with, out the door for festivities with their families.  But for now…”All is Calm, All is Bright“.

I awoke this morning as usual and already had a list of VIP tasks to accomplish.  After waking my husband and making sure he was eating his breakfast and functioning I headed to the kitchen.  The ingredients of the various casseroles covered the counter and my body took over.  Sip of coffee, bowls, spoons for mixing, cheese and eggs from the refrigerator, sip of coffee.  A time for everything and everything in its place, including the coffee cup in my hand.  One casserole at a time was prepared and covered.  Each one placed in the refrigerator where they will stay until tomorrow for the final bake.  Coffee back in hand and sip!  “All is Calm, All is Bright

The pies and the three-layer cakes were all baked and wrapped yesterday.  The fudge was made and put away for today.  The cookies were all baked and wait for the icing and decorations.  I love making fudge for gifts….so I retrieve the fudge this morning and began cutting the slab of smooth, dark chocolate and place it on my cutting board.  The gift bags are placed out and ready for the heavenly little squares.  Once this is completed I pick up my trusted friend and finish the contents.  I need another cup!  Yet still…”All is Calm, All is Bright

You may wonder why I felt the need to prepare them all this early…Well with the visit of the girlfriends, and the fact that I have to be at my church at 12:15 for practice and sound checks, the 2 Christmas Eve Services at 2:00 and 4:00, I get tired just thinking about it.  HEHE! I like to plan ahead allowing for schedule changes.  I hear a noise from upstairs….one of my sons is up and moving around.  So much for a little more peace and quiet.  Pick up coffee cup and sip!  “All is Calm, All is Bright

I have to admit to you that the true test will come tomorrow.  I do not remember, sadly, ever going to church on Christmas when it fell on a Sunday.  Stop spitting out your coffee in unbelief and swallow.  Most of the churches either canceled services or I was out-of-town.  My husband is a little disturbed with the fact that I have the special in the morning.  I explained to him why we have never had this issue come up before and he replied…”We can go out-of-town!”  I just smiled back at him and reassured him that I would not be long and the service is early.  It is not like we have four children all getting toys from Santa.  We just have one and he is borderline “coal”.  “We can have breakfast and get ready for church, come home and baste the turkey then open presents.”  and “Don’t worry honey, you will get your Latte’ .” “All is Calm, All is Bright

The sun has been up for a little while now and it is not the only light I see.  The tree’s lights glisten giving pause to my gaze.  The time ahead is for remembering the reason for the season and spending time with my family and friends.  Take a moment to realize all that we have and don’t dwell on the regrets of our past.  We must step out on faith and take one step at a time as we head into this season and the upcoming new year.

Holding this concept to my heart I will close….family is moving around me and I want to be with them for as long as I can.  I pause with tears in my eyes for those I have lost dear to me and smile because I will see them again.  I hope you can have the same feeling and enjoy your Christmas and New Years.  Try to find the place in your season where “All is Calm, All is Bright” and you will have a Merry Christmas.

D.L.

Peach State says: Today is the Day!

Cinderella would feel at home with my list of “Must Do’s” scheduled for today.  It has finally arrived, “Today is the Day!”

You know, by now, that I am one of those that prepares big meals in advance to lessen my kitchen time.  The casseroles will be made today along with the baking of most of the pies and cakes.  I already have the cookies for Santa made, and in the freezer, awaiting the decorations tomorrow.  I have an extra practice tomorrow, Christmas Eve, before the rest of the musicians arrive.  We are meeting at 12:30 pm and everyone else shows up at 1:30.  The first Christmas Eve Services will begin at 2:00 and the second one starts at 4:00.

I will arrive with gifts and the sweets ordered and deliver them to the appropriate parties.  On the list today I have 1 pie, orders of fudge and a Red Velvet Cake.  “Today is the Day!”  I think it would be wise to start with the cake first and make one for our family as well.just before taking them out to cool I will prepare the pies and have them ready to put in the oven when the cakes come out.  Then I will have the cooling and icing to do while the pies are cooking.  The fudge will be the last to do.  I will have to put it in the refrigerator and cut it later.

“I can’t help but think about the line from the movie “The Wedding Date” when the main characters arrive at the first of many parties and the mother tells her daughter to hydrate”.  So yes, the espresso will be made at the needed times.

In between the previous processes I will be preparing the various casseroles and fruit salads.  “I should hang a sign waring those here in the house to stay clear of the kitchen.  Which on should I use?” “Work Zone Ahead”, “Under Construction”, or “Expect Delays”.  I know it seems like I might be overwhelmed but quite the opposite.  I have the uncanny ability to function under chaos and find organization.   I have reminders on my phone for just this reason.  I am always making list to give me heads up for upcoming calendar events and to keep track of those close to me.  I cheerfully mark the item off when completed with a smile of accomplishment.  “Well done and no time for a pat on the back just yet”, “What is next on the list?”

Being this type of person I should let you know that I have already begun working on the items to be baked.  The crust is made and all ready for the pan, the cake pans are out and the cake boxes are made and ready to be filled.  The icing is prepared and in the refrigerator, “I need to pull it out and let is soften”, Wow, “Today is the Day!”  I sit here, giving you a peek into my little corner of the world, sipping on my Quad Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte’ and wait for my husband to leave.  I am hoping that I will be able to complete my shopping today which means I will have to receive something in the mail today.  “Please let it come today!”  I will need several more items for the snack for Christmas Eve.  I would really rather be at home, instead of at the store,  for the short time I have free tomorrow.

So, in the spirit of schedules I will proceed to the next item on my list.  LOL!  It is time to move the laundry!  Don’t forget I have

One down two to go!

all the other things I typically do in a day as well…. Have a great day and just in case I do not get the chance tomorrow…

Merry Christmas!

D.L.