Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mom's Good 'Ole Cooking and a Recipe

Maybe because it's Mother's Day Week and I've been thinking about my mom a lot, or maybe because my sister mentioned that she made one of Mom's standby recipes last week-but  for whatever reason, I've been thinking about Mom's cooking lately.  My mom was a really, really good cook.  She often said she wished she had gone to chef school, and I believe she could have taught them a few things if she had.  I was one of those kids who left for school every day with a home-cooked meal in my tummy (even if I didn't want it-which I rarely did), and came home every afternoon to a delicious hot dinner.  I know I didn't appreciate that enough. 

I remember the mornings that I did want my breakfast and those were the cold mornings when she made hot cocoa (always from scratch), and heavily buttered toast for dipping. To this day, I can't drink instant powdered cocoa.  One day when I was in 5th grade, the bus dropped me at the corner after school and I had a short walk to my house.  It was COLD, and as I walked up my driveway, I clearly remember smelling homemade vegetable soup.  Such a comforting smell, such a clear memory!  As an adult, she would often make me soup to take to work.  Although I haven't thought about it much, I have a full, emotional bank of food memories from my mom. 

So, yesterday I decided I wanted to make Mom's simple standby dish-Ground Meat and Potatoes.  It can't get any easier, or any more filling, comforting or tasty.

I'm a Cajun girl who cannot be separated from her black cast iron.  All of my skillets and pots were bought at garage sales 44 years-ago and were second hand at that point.  I rarely cook a meal without one of them in service.  So, this recipe was made entirely in cast iron skillets.

First cut potatoes (I used two large Irish potatoes) into chunks, but don't peel them.
Cook them in about 1/4 inch of bacon grease melted in the skillet, stirring until they are brown (bacon grease? Yes, I know.)

At the same time, brown ground meat with chopped onions (one) and garlic (three cloves) until completely browned.



Once they are both done, mix together and season to taste-salt and cayenne for us...that's it.




I also cooked a batch of cornbread, skillet of course, and added a salad.  My husband was a happy camper when he got home.
Thank you, and love you Mom.  Betty Lucille Hebert Puryear.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hydrate in Style!

"I've always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman's outfit." —Michael Kors

Well sisters, let's not overlook accessorizing our water bottles!  I found these cute beaded stretchy rings at a little store in my village called Rusty Bugs and Roosters. They are meant to go around the top of a beer or wine bottle. When I saw them, I knew I needed them for my S'well water bottles. I drink more water than anyone I know, so I have a bottle for toting, and one for the car (which becomes a holy, blazing inferno in a TX summer).  Now I think my bottles look undressed without their necklaces.  If you don't live here, these would be so easy to make with some stretchy cord, and your choice of bling!




Monday, September 12, 2016

I'd Like to Introduce.......

....well, she doesn't really have a name.  But she's pretty hot (sometimes) and amazing! She's my vintage, harvest gold crockpot.  She's 44-years-old..been with me since the beginning of my cooking career.  We've been through a lot of meals together.  She's faithfully cooked up pot roasts, chicken, broths, soups, stews and beans.  She's worked full-days, while I was away working full days.  She's made my tribe happy to come home to a hot meal after a long day (especially me since I didn't have to cook after that long day!)  I appreciate this old friend.  I've brought her to school functions, and the first thing people do is kind of snicker at her "style".  But once I tell them how much experience she has, she gets appropriate respect!


Lately, it seems that she needs a little maintenance--(sisters, don't we all??) Her handle broke-I think an easy fix.  I'm going to make her handle something really special, maybe a little bling.  She's earned it!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My New Beach Hat




This summer I'm taking a beach vacay. My husband says that everything I do begins with an outfit-not entirely untrue!  So, I decided I needed a great beach hat and started looking. I found the perfect hat, but it was $450!  I decided I could make a similar DIY hat and got busy buying what I needed.

First, the hat. I found one that fit right at Academy for about $15. Then, Hobby Lobby had their trim 1/2 price, so I bought a roll of black sequins for 1.50, and a bottle of fabric glue. 



I wanted a great beach "saying" and my friend who does my nails chose this one. 

I just wrote the words in glue on the hat. Then started covering the glue with sequins. If I made a mistake, I quickly cleaned it up with water on a washcloth. Fabric glue dries clear, so you have to be patient. Simple as that - and my beach hat is ready to go. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I Made Grain-Free Granola

I'm neither gluten-free nor grain-free, but when I'm paying attention I do like to limit grains in my diet.  I also love yogurt parfaits.  The ones that I buy are usually full of sugar, and I'm a fan of plain, unsweetened yogurt.  A few weeks ago, I picked up a small container of coconut, grain-free granola at my local natural market.  It was delicious, but very spendy! So, I decided to make my own, and it's almost perfect! 

Here's what you need:

Heated oven - 350 degrees; cookie sheet and Silpat or parchment
A little less than 1/4 C coconut oil
1/3 C honey
1 C of any mixture of nuts, seeds, dried fruit you like
1 C coconut (shredded)
Vanilla
Cinnamon

Here's how I did it:


Mix a little less than a 1/4 cup of coconut oil with about 1/3 cup of honey.  I buy honey at our local farmer's market, and you can get coconut oil anywhere-it's great for everything from cooking to slathering on your skin! 

Cook these for a bit in a small sauce pan until a little bubbly.



I added about a teaspoon of vanilla after cooking.

Then in a bowl mix a cup of whatever you choose from nuts, seeds, dried fruits, etc. I used raw almonds, and pumpkin seeds (because that's what I had!) that I buy from the bins in our local market.

 Also add a cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut. I also buy this at the local natural market. Once these are mixed, add the liquid, and you can also add some cinnamon at this point. 




Once it's mixed well, pour on to a cookie sheet covered with a Silpat, or parchment paper. 
Cook it until it's browned (maybe 15-20 minutes).  Let it cool, then break into pieces.  I did this process twice, because I wanted it more brown in the middle.  So I pulled off the browned pieces, and back in the oven it went.

It is really toasty, crunchy-chewy, and delicious!  I stored in in the fridge in an airtight glass container.

What I will do differently next time: I'll definitely use pecans as well as almonds and I may try NO oil since I've seen some recipes online with just the honey...maybe a little butter?? 

If you try it, be sure to let me know your results.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Dressember Day #7--It's Not About The Dress!


It's about dignity for all women and children.  One hundred percent of all of the proceeds raised by Dressember go to International Justice Mission.  I've read about their work...it's good, it's honorable, it's changing many lives for the better.  You can read about them here:
On another note-why is my hair so big today??

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Power of a Dress

It's just the 6th day (dress) of December, and many thousands have been raised to rescue women and children-all by spreading awareness in a dress. Be a light!