Monthly Archives: August 2012

Labor Day Weekend Menu

Our Amish Friend’s Mums

Happy Labor Day Weekend to everyone. Growing up in Southern California Labor Day marked the end of Summer and the beginning of the school year. Now that I live in Southwest Indiana, Labor Day marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. Schools have been in session for a bit now, the pool is closed, the leaves are starting to turn and the mums are blooming. It’s also another excuse to have a cookout to celebrate.

Here’s our menu to usher in the Fall Season.


(You can find the recipes in my blog by using the above post titles in the search box)


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Bacon and Eggs for Breakfast

Bacon and Eggs

This post is specially created for my lovely young niece Ashley Pauline. I hope it will help her discover the joy of making bacon and eggs for breakfast in the morning…..And maybe others will find it helpful along the way.

The other night my niece Ashley was asking advice about cooking a special dinner. She’s young and new to the whole cooking experience and when she asked me the question  “what is packed Parmesan cheese?” I realized without home economics being taught in school, without mother’s cooking a dinner that the entire family sits down to eat all together, without Grandmothers around to share they family recipes, how is the younger generation to learn the joys of sharing their love for their family through the meals they prepare for them. How are they suppose to learn cooking terms?  (by the way the term “packed” means when measuring the ingredient, pack it so that it is densely measured rather than loosely measured”

I was lucky enough to have had the chance to take home economics “cooking” in junior high and high school. I loved those classes. I was also lucky because my mother needed help in the kitchen with family dinners so I was given the chance to prepare our family meals on many occasions. I was also very lucky to have had my Grandmother’s experience in the kitchen which she shared with me for many years of my life. All of this led to my passion for cooking meals for those that I care about.

My dear Ashley, you stole my heart the first time I laid eyes on you. Although I am thousands of miles away I hope you will find my blog enjoyable and helpful. It’s my way of sharing my passion of preparing meals for you so that you can eventually share preparing meals with your family.  Here’s your Aunt Teri’s way of making a breakfast of Bacon and Eggs.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1/2 pound of bacon, cut the slices in half
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • cracked black pepper

Here are the tools you will need:

  • 10″ frying pan
  • tongs
  • frying screen to fit the pan
  • spatula
  • a plate lined with a paper towel
  • 1 spoon
  • a couple of paper towels

Heat your frying pan over medium heat until hot, probably about 5 minutes. Add 4 slices of bacon, place the frying screen over the pan. (This will keep the grease from popping on you Missy) Fry the bacon until just starting to brown on that first side. Flip the bacon over and fry the over side just until it starts to brown. Now you can continue to flip from side to side every so often until the bacon is browned to your liking. Once you like how the bacon looks remove it from the pan and place it on your paper towel lined plate. Continue to fry the remaining slices of bacon the same way. When they are all cooked, remove you pan from the burner to cool for about 5 minutes. Turn the burner off for this time.

After the 5 minutes place the frying pan, still with the bacon grease in it, back on the burner and turn the heat to medium low. Crack the eggs over the frying pan, sprinkle with a little bit (a dash) of cracked black pepper and fry without moving them until the egg whites and yolks are set. This means the whites are turning from clear to white and the yolks no longer look runny. During this time continuously spoon the bacon grease over the eggs. Once the eggs are almost fully cooked, white and yellow, then flip them over using the spatula to the other side and fry just a couple more minutes to complete the cooking. (tip: if the eggs sticks to the pan, it’s not ready to be flipped) Now once the eggs are completely cooked I place them on the paper towels to blot off the excess grease.

Now Ashley, I generally use my cast iron skillet for cooking all of my bacon and eggs, but I’ll save that for the day you are able to be here to cook alongside me. Love you Miss Ashley.


Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Breakfast


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Onion Lemon Saffron Brined Smoked Chicken

Smoked Chicken

I just love smoked chicken. But I have found that if you want nicely flavored chicken you need to brine it before placing it on the smoker. I enjoy creating different flavors of brine. Here’s my latest recipe.


  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 onion, grated
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 Tb saffron
  • 1 whole chicken, quartered

Basting ingredients:

  • about 8 Tb salted butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

In a large container that will hold the liquid and the chicken mix the brine ingredients together, add the chicken, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Or at least for 6 hours) Place on the smoker and cook at 220 for about 5 hours.

Combine the basting ingredients and in the last hour of smoked baste the chicken a couple of times.

Suggestions: Serve with a nice “Summer Harvest Salad” and any kind of “Beer Bread” and you have a nice meal on a hot summer’s evening.

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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Chicken


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Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard Boiled Eggs

With Labor Day approaching I am surprised how many times I am asked how to hard boil eggs. But not surprised with how many different methods people use to achieve them. This is how I was taught by my Gramma. Never a crack, always a bright yellow center and it has worked every time for me. The only exception is that Gramma would have had me let the eggs sit over night to cool.  Not anymore, just to scared of making someone sick, so here is how I would recommend hard boiling eggs.

Place eggs in a heavy bottom pot, cover with cold water, at least 2 inches above the eggs. Bring this to a boil over medium high heat, once at a boil remove from heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Then carefully plunged the boiled eggs into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Dry with paper towels and refrigerate overnight. When peeling, lightly crack the entire egg against the counter or sink and peel under cold running water. I have never had a problem with the shell coming off, nor do my peeled eggs have divots due to peeling.  Give it a try and check out my recipe blog for colored deviled eggs.


Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Salads, Sandwiches, Spreads


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Old Fashion Potato Salad

Old Fashion Potato Salad

This recipe is an adaption of an old Betty Crocker’s recipe for Potato Salad. Old school style. I wish I had a better photograph but we had lost power during the afternoon so by the time it came back on we had eaten our supper and I was putting the leftovers away. Enjoy this easy recipe, just some good ole home cooking from my kitchen.

Ingredients:   4-6 servings

  • 9 Yukon potatoes (yellow), peeled and quartered
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 1/4 of a sweet onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup french dressing (see my recipe for Homemade French Dressing)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

In medium sauce pan steam your quartered potatoes. I usually place the potatoes in the steamer basket that sits above the sauce pan filled with cold water. Cover and bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and continue to steam for about 20 minutes. You’ll know the potatoes are done when they are easily pierced with a fork. Cool the steamed potatoes in the refrigerator.

Roughly dice the cooled potatoes in large pieces then combine in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. Toss well to ensure everything is mixed thoroughly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Season with more french dressing before serving if desired.

Suggestions: Do you really want to go old school? Cover a serving platter with lettuce leaves, spoon the potato salad a top of them, then line the platter with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Sprinkle the potato salad with a little paprika and cracked black pepper. Now you have an old school presentation of a wonderfully simple potato salad.


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Homemade French Dressing

French Dressing

Ingredients:   1 1/2 cups of dressing

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (usually 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 6 Tb honey (optional)

Add all ingredients into a dressing bottle or a “Ball” canning jar and shake until well blended. Keep refrigerated and always shake well before each use. The honey is optional if you like sweet French Dressing. When using this recipe in my potato salad, leave the honey out.

Suggestions: Homemade dressing taste much fresher than commercial dressing. Try using this dressing drizzled over fresh vegetables. I like to drizzle it over sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. It also works very well as a marinade for chicken and pork.


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Refrigerator Pickles from the Kitchen of Aunt Bessie

Refrigerator Pickles

Mark brought home the most delicious pickles I have ever had. A fellow volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House had given him a jar of pickles that she had made using her Aunt Bessie’s recipe. I am talking out of this world great. I planned to take pictures of them in the jar but we really have been enjoying them and now, sadly, there are only a few left. Even Mark’s 8-year-old great-niece couldn’t help but eat one after another. Here is the recipe for these fabulous sweet Refrigerator Pickles.

Thank you Patty for generously sharing this recipe with Mark and I. Your Aunt Bessie’s Refrigerator Pickles now will travel the globe.


  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 6 pickling cucumbers, (small cucumbers)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar (not white)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 tsp alum
  • 1 Tb mustard seeds
  • 1 Tb celery seeds
  • 1 Tb turmeric powder

Place the onions, bell peppers and cucumbers in a large bowl. In a medium pot combine the sugar, apple vinegar, salt, alum, mustard seeds, celery seeds and turmeric powder and bring to a boil. Once at a boil remove from heat and let cool at room temperature. Pour the cooled boiled mixture over the vegetables, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5 days. Stir and toss once each of the five days. At the end of this period put in Mason or canning jars and keep refrigerated.


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