Thursday, November 24, 2016

Scrumptious Salmon

Scrumptious Salmon is super easy and super quick and super nutritious.  You will love the salmon flavor and the glaze recipe is only four ingredients. Here in the Pacific Northwest Salmon  [my favorite fish] is plentiful.  After a full Thanksgiving of many side dishes and stuffing and pies, and of course Turkey, salmon is a lovely light meal that your tummy will thank you for.  Here is the glaze recipe and easy directions.

Scrumptious Salmon Glaze:

2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
Juice from one lemon
1/4 c. honey

The glaze proportions are for (3) 5 oz. salmon fillets.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Internal temperature recommendations are 145 degrees [minimal] to 165 degrees.  Cooking time for (3) 5 oz. fillets is 18-24 minutes or until desired internal temperature has been acquired.

Directions:

1. Rinse salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Mix all four ingredients above for the glaze in a small bowl, stirring until combined, using only 1/2 of the lemon of it's juice.  Save the second half to squeeze on fillets before adding glaze on top of fillets.
3.  After juice has been squeezed on fillets, drizzle glaze over salmon.
4. Place fillets in 375 degree oven for 18-24 minutes or until internal temperature desired has been obtained.



Rooney has a little salmon too.  I add the salmon to her regular dog chow.  She loves the flavor and enjoys her dinner down to the last bite! 


A Pacific Northwest Sunset for your viewing pleasure.  There is something breathtaking about all sunsets, and yet November sunsets have a unique glow.  We always pause and enjoy the sunsets and the sunrises.  This one is for you Blog Readers!







Enjoy Scrumptious Salmon this week!
V...............




Little Bitty Baby BBQs

Little Bitty Baby BBQs are fantastic!  The flavor of the BBQ sauce is rich and savory.  These little sandwiches can be made up in under an hour with a delicious homemade BBQ sauce and served with a side of coleslaw, and your family and friends will be singing your praises.  Here is the recipe for the BBQ sauce and a few brief directions for putting Little Bitty Baby BBQs together with any meat or vegetables of your choice.  I used leftover lean pork roast for these sandwiches for this blog.  You can use chicken, turkey, ground beef, roast beef, lamb or a vegetable medley of your favorite veggies.  They are worth it, I promise. The Little Bitty Baby BBQs are a great break from a full sized dinner.

BBQ Sauce Recipe:

2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
1 c. ketchup
1 c. water
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/8 c. molasses
1/8 c. brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Servings: 12-18 [They are small so 2 could serve as a serving for an adult].

Directions:

1. On medium high heat, add canola oil to a medium sauce pan. 
2. Add chili powder, paprika, tomato paste, crushed red pepper, allspice, & cloves.
3. Cook for 3 minutes or until tomato paste is red brick in color.  Add minced garlic.  Heat until garlic blooms. About 1 minute.
4. Add ketchup, water, apple cider vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, salt & pepper, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, spicy brown mustard, & bay leaf.  Bring to a low boil, stirring often.
5.  Turn down burner to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove bay leaf and discard.
6.  Add meat or veggies of your choice.  Heat through.  Take off heat.
7.  Prepare your rolls by slicing them open.  Brush melted butter with a splash of pineapple juice onto inside of rolls.  Add your BBQ sauce with meat or veggies to the bottom of the rolls placed onto your baking pan sprayed lightly with non-stick canola spray.
8.  Add the top of the rolls on top of the bottom layer of BBQ mixture.  Brush tops of rolls with melted butter with splash of pineapple juice.  Place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until tops of rolls deepen in color and become slightly crispy.
9. Cut through all layers for serving sizes.  Serve with a side of cool coleslaw. Enjoy!









These Little Bitty Baby BBQs are as close as I can get to the BBQ sandwiches we would stop and order and enjoy in Paris, Illinois when we would go and visit my paternal grandparents during the summers.  We had root beer floats to drink and enjoy with these wonderful BBQs.  We were in heaven with a meal of BBQ sandwiches and root beer floats.  If you like, enjoy my Little Bitty BBQs with root beer floats!  It is a real delightful pleasure!

Rooney is always treated with a scoop of vanilla greek yogurt while we enjoy our BBQs and root beer floats.  A little pleasure and reward for being such a loving girl!


Enjoy Little Bitty BBQs this week!
Happy Thanksgiving Blog Readers!
V.......













Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blog Reader Appreciation

My acknowledgement with appreciation of 29 and counting countries where my readers live who take time out of your day/week to read about Rooney & me.  Here you are in alphabetical order:

Australia
Belgium
Canada
China
Czechoslovakia
Denmark
Egypt
England
Finland
France
Germany
Iraq
Israel
Italy
Kazakhstan
Malaysia
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
Russia
Spain
Syria
Sweden
Thailand
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States


Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I am feeling the love!
V.......
xoxo

And Rooney thanks you!

[Data provided from BlogSpot to me of readers' countries only....]  




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chicken Tidbits

Chicken in all forms is delicious.  So many choices and so much time to give each kind of chicken a try in tens of thousands of different recipes with just as many different sides.  Chicken is popular.  It is a positive thing to say that I know few people who do not love chicken.  Chicken is a fantastic finger food.  We can cut it up anyway we want in any size we want.  The choices are limitless.  I have chosen to create Chicken Tidbits.  The tidbits are smaller than chicken fingers or tenders and yet bigger than chicken bites or chicken nuggets.  I think you will find Chicken Tidbits fun and quick to make and to eat!  Here is my Chicken Tidbits Recipe:

Chicken Tidbits:

2 chicken breasts [boneless & skinless] [cut in 1/2" wide & 2" long pieces]
1 c. cracker crumbs
salt & pepper to taste
buttermilk
canola oil [ 3" deep- heated to 325-350 degrees]
dipping sauce


Honey-mustard Dipping Sauce:

1/2 c. yellow mustard
1/4 c. honey
juice from 1/2 lemon
a pinch of cayenne [less or more depending on your preference]


Servings: 2
Recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled.......


Directions:

1. Crush your favorite cracker or as I did use a bullet style blender....I tried both ways...putting crackers in a storage bag and smashing with rolling pin did not
get my favorite cracker in fine enough crumbs...bullet blender did the trick!




I love these crackers with sundried tomato and basil flavor, and that flavor was a perfect taste for my Chicken Tidbits.....

2. Soak your cut up chicken breasts in buttermilk for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Dip your chicken tidbits in your cracker crumb mix.  Toss the chicken until well coated, and drop in heated canola oil.  Turn over half way through cooking time.  Tidbits take 5 minutes.  Adjust your oil temperature to keep tidbits from getting too dark on the outside.  Some cracker crumb mix can brown quickly before chicken is done on the inside.  It is rare to happen with tidbits.  It just depends on certain crackers.  Any crackers with high oil or butter content will brown too fast in 350 degree cooking oil.  If unsure of the oil/butter content in your cracker, take your favorite cracker and place in a clean paper towel.  Fold towel over the cracker and hold in your hand; fingers on bottom side of cracker/paper towel bundle and thumb on top of the cracker/paper towel bundle for one minute.  Look at paper towel after one minute.  If towel is oily, you have a high oil/butter cracker, which means your tidbits will need to cook in lower temperature cooking oil of 325 degrees.

4. Drain your Chicken Tidbits on paper towels.

5.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and favorite sides.  Enjoy!

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce! [my recipe above]  Stir mustard, honey, cayenne, and lemon juice slowly and allow more time for ingredients to mix thoroughly.

Rooney loves chicken too!  Once a week she gets baked chicken thighs cooked to safe temperature, cooled slightly and shredded and added to her traditional pup food.  Rooney gets so excited she dances through the kitchen, dining room, and living room multiple times until she stops knowing the chicken is ready and I am about to shred the chicken to put in her bowl for her dinner. Rooney watches and sits like a lady and waits with marvelous anticipation.  She enjoys every bite.  A slow and meticulous eater who likes to savor her bites of food.  Rooney appreciates her weekly chicken thighs and expresses her gratitude with a sweet kiss after her meal is finished. How could I ever ask for anything more?!



Enjoy Chicken Tidbits this week!
V.............






















Banana Bread Extraordinaire

I start yearning for a slice of banana bread when the crisp, cool air of Fall arrives.  Banana bread can be and is made anytime of the year and yet it seems to be most flavorful in the Fall.  What a fabulous aroma baking banana bread makes in our homes.  The nutty, slightly lemony, and the distinct roasted banana smell in a moist, flavorful quick bread batter is bliss in a slice!  Here is the recipe for Banana Bread Extraordinaire;

Banana Bread Extraordinaire:

3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter [cooled]
2 eggs
1 c. mashed bananas [ two large or four small]
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 c. sifted flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. walnuts

Oven temperature: 325 degrees
Bake time: 50-60 minutes, until toothpick in center comes out clean....
Pan Size: 9x5x3 inch loaf pan

Directions:

1.  Spray loaf pan with canola non-stick spray.
2. Whisk butter and eggs until gritty feel and sound stops. Add lemon zest, and stir until well blended.
3. Mash bananas in separate bowl.  Stir mashed bananas into egg sugar mixture. Stir until well blended.
4.  Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a third bowl.  Toss in walnuts and mix well.
5.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until well blended.
6.  Pour into loaf pan and smooth top of batter with the back of a spoon.
7.  Lift and drop loaf pan a few times to settle batter in pan, and level batter evenly.  Lift and drop the pan no more than a few inches above your working area. 











8.  Store banana bread in foil and fridge.  The first time you slice, slice the loaf in middle of the loaf, and slice on either half on the inside of the loaf in 1/4-1/2 inch slices. The perfect thickness for each slice. Place the two halves of banana bread back together and wrap in foil.  It stays more moist than slicing on the end of the loaf.  Try it!  I promise you will not change your slicing technique back to the former way ever.

Fall; a promise of harvest!

Rooney; a promise of never-ending love!


Enjoy a slice of Banana Bread Extraordinaire this week!
V..........















Decadent Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is beautiful and it is one way we can  time travel....one sip and it sends us mental pictures of all the times we sipped hot cocoa....memorable times in our lives....one sip can create a timeline of our most happiest and favorable moments in life...Hot cocoa has incredible power to transmit happy memories instantly to our minds...Hot cocoa is synonymous with happiness....Here is the best of the best "Decadent Hot Cocoa" Recipe...

Decadent Hot Cocoa:

4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 pinches salt
2 pinches chili powder
2 tsp. instant coffee
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In medium saucepan on medium heat add heavy cream and whole milk.
2. When the chill is off of the cream and milk [can touch the dairy with finger without getting burned] add all dry ingredients minus the chili powder.  Whisk until well combined.
3.  Stir occasionally until hot cocoa mixture reaches 220 degrees...[can see steam lift up from the mixture, but not quite boiling; you do not want the mixture to boil or become scorched].
4. Add chili powder...stir constantly until well combined, continuing to keep cocoa on medium heat for 1 minute.
5.  Turn off heat and add vanilla extract...stir until well blended.
6.  Serve with freshly whipped whip cream and chocolate curls and/or sprinkles.

Servings: 2



How sweet it would be if we could enjoy hot cocoa with our favorite pet, and yet we cannot....chocolate is very dangerous for them.  Rooney is not pleased, as you can see, that she cannot have a hot cocoa, and to help make this up to her, in a way, and I am following the lead of a particular coffee/tea shop,  Rooney receives a cup of freshly whipped whip cream.  Rooney is in heaven with happiness with her newfound treat....clearly pleased with our negotiations I received a whipped cream kiss!



Enjoy a cup of Decadent Hot Cocoa this week!
V........



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Wow! Corn Tortillas

After making the homemade flour tortillas last week, I decided to make the homemade corn tortillas.  I will say Wow!  They are good. Delicious. Yummy.  One thing I had to do different was brush canola oil on my griddle pan in between toasting each tortilla.  The corn tortillas did not toast well with the non-stick canola spray.  Here is the recipe:

Wow! Corn Tortillas:

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. corn meal
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. water

Directions:
1. Sift flour, corn meal, salt, & baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
2. Add canola oil and mix with your hands.  Once the flour/corn meal mixture starts to have small clumps you can add water and mix to blend.
3.  Turn out on lightly floured surface and lightly knead for one minute to make dough smooth and form into a ball and let rest covered with a bowl or clean kitchen towel.
3. The rest period can be between 30 minutes to one hour.
4.  Form dough into a log about 15" inches long.  Divide dough into sixths for large tortillas or eighths for small tortillas.
5.  Form each dough portion into a circle.  Use a rolling pin or tortilla press to form tortillas.
6.  Toast each tortilla on medium high heat on stove top griddle or electric griddle.  Toast each side 2-3 minutes.

7.  Serve with your favorite taco fixings and enjoy!

Rooney & I are both surprised, delightfully so, how delicious homemade tortillas are.  I just do not think any of us will go back to store bought once we make our own and taste these delicious tortillas.  I promise you will simply love the flavor.  The extra best part is they are so easy to make!




Enjoy Wow! Corn Tortillas this week!
V.............



The Sweet & The Sour

Another great easy recipe perfect for cool, crisp Fall evenings; Sweet 'n Sour Meatballs.  Another versatile recipe.  Any meat you choose can be used with this recipe.  You can adjust the sweet and the sour according to your preference.  The heat level can be adjusted for less or more heat.  I use white wine to simmer and steam my long grain rice.  Pineapple juice or water can be used to simmer and steam your choice of rice.  That is the other thing that can be changed up; the rice, brown rice, Arborio, jasmine, etc..  It is all delicious!  Here is the recipe and directions:

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground beef [ or any other meat, chicken, pork, salmon, etc.]
1 egg
1 small diced onion
1/2 c. dried bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to medium bowl and toss with a utensil or just go in with your hands and mix everything thoroughly.
2.  Roll your meatballs in 1" balls. [ if using another meat or fish, cut in 1" bites sizes]

3. Chop veggies into 1" bites while meatballs are browning.
4. Once meatballs are brown remove from skillet and place on plate to stay warm.
5. Place onion chunks and green pepper chunks in same skillet to fry to lightly soften.
6.  Add pineapple the last minute of frying veggies.


7. Start preparing rice.  I used 1 cup white wine, 1/2 c. water, to 1 cup of rice. A pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down burner to low and simmer until rice has absorbed all moisture.
8. Remove veggies and pineapple and place on a plate to keep warm.
9.  Start rue for sauce with 3 Tbsp. of butter with 3 Tbsp. of flour. Whisk flour and butter together. Cook flour for 2 minutes to prevent raw flour taste.

Sweet 'n Sour Sauce:

1 c. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 c. pineapple juice
1 c. water
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger or 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
pinch of red pepper flakes

10.  Add pineapple juice slowly to rue, whisking to combine, and water whisking to combine.
11. Add brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and red pepper flakes, whisking to combine on medium high heat.
12.  Reduce temperature to low as sauce starts to thicken.
13. Add meatballs and veggies to the sweet 'n sour sauce.  Cook until internal temp of meatballs is 160 degrees, approximately 5-7 minutes simmering in sauce.
14. Serve with a scoop of cooked rice.

I used fresh pineapple because I bought two pineapples.  First time I used fresh pineapple.  This recipe works with canned pineapple.  Remember to reserve juice when draining the pineapple chunks.  I do like the flavor the fresh pineapple gave to the recipe. Fresh pineapple tastes like a little nutmeg has been added to it.  It is such a distinct taste!  Of course it is the natural flavor of fresh pineapple.  It is good to use fresh to awake our taste buds!
As the green turns to gold on the outside of a pineapple and the bottom of the pineapple smells like pineapple it is ripe enough to carve.  I flash froze and bagged the rest in chunks for more recipes later, including pineapple smoothies [my favorite] and fruit salads and as a topping on pizzas.  Great fun and a great flavor reward!
The wildlife love the fresh tart flavor of fallen apples.  Squirrels, birds, moose, and elk come through and enjoy the apple flavor this time of year in our area. Plenty of apple trees in this area.  Some grow along the sides of our roadways.  Even the deer stop for apple snack breaks.
We step outside in the mornings and smell apples in the air.  Rooney's nose is 100x stronger than mine and yet I have a fabulous sense of smell, and so I can but imagine the intensity with which Rooney can smell the apple smells, and all the other Fall smells in the air.  With local farmers harvesting wheat and barley, we can smell the smells of harvest in the air.  Our noses are delighted with the aromas.  I love how happy Rooney prances during our walks.  It makes me think that Fall may be her favorite season too.  We have quite a partnership!


Enjoy The Sweet 'n The Sour this week!
V......