Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall is Around the Corner!

We are finally below 80 degrees and we even woke up to a soft rain! Sunday's really looking good with a high of 69! Football weather! Changing colors! It just calls for some Ginger Cookies!
I got this recipe at a restaurant I worked at in Red Wing, MN. They have always been Jim's favorite cookies, the girls like 'em alot, too!
The recipe is in weights, one of the few times I don't mind baking.....baking is a much more exact science than cooking and you can always get consistent results when weighing ingredients instead of measuring. I don't have many recipes using weights, I wish recipes from this country would use them.
This recipe made 4 dozen big cookies (I weighed out 50 grams for each cookie)
1# Crisco
1# 6.5 oz sugar
until light and fluffy
3/4 molasses
3 eggs
mix well. Gradually add these flour and spices which have been stirred together:
2# 9 oz flour
5 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Raw Sugar
Weigh out 50 grams of dough. Roll into a ball. I then roll the balls in raw sugar (you could leave them naked, or use regular granulated sugar). I put 9 to a standard-sized cookie sheet at bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then turn the pan and cook 6 minutes more. Adjust to your oven.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Dinner-Marno's Chicken Noodle Soup

I don't know why this photo came out kinda blotchy looking, I'll have to try another shot tomorrow at lunch. But..........
After being on vacation for a week, I was just beat when we got home. I pretty much slept the first two days we were back, then developed a bit of a sore throat, then just felt crummy for the next two days. I don't get sick so it was tough for me. I tried to keep up a strong front cooking each day, but by today, I knew nothing would help me except for this incredible chicken soup recipe I ran across probably 20 years ago.
I think I found the recipe in a Parade magazine (that insert in your Sunday paper). The note from the person who submitted the recipe reads "When this dear friend from Kalamazoo delivers her soup as a neighborly gift, it reminds us of the good, simple things in life. The light noodles in the rich broth with plenty of chicken. It's superb!"
And oh, is it! In my opinion, the stellar component of this soup in the broth. It has such a lucious, velvetly, incredible broth......well that alone is almost enough when you under the weather. But add in the moist tender chicken, wonderful fresh dill, and just-added green peas that still have a snap to them.....well, it is all I want when I'm not feeling well and often times when I'm feeling just fine.
one 3 pound chicken
4 stalks celery with leaves
4 carrots, peeled
3 parsnips, peeled (I have used a couple of turnips instead a few times and it's just as good)
2 sweet onions, peeled and halved, studded with 4 whole cloves
3 cloves garlic, peeled
6 sprigs fresh dill
6 sprigs fresh parsley
Enough water to cover chicken
Home-made egg noodles (use any recipe)
1 1/2 c frozen green peas
1/4 c chopped fresh dill
2 T chopped parsley
Place chicken in large stock pot. Add celery, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, dill, parsley, S&P. Add water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 2 hours.
Skim any foam that has formed on top of soup. Remove chicken from soup and cool. Remove skin and bones from chicken. Shread meat, cover and reserve.
Strain the soup, discard the vegetables and return liquid to pot. Add bouillion cube for stronger flavor and adjust seasonings. Bring to a boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes to intensify flavors.
Make noodles (I did a search for homemade noodle recipe.....I used one found on the Taste of Home website).
Before serving, bring chicken broth to a gentle boil. Add noodles and cook soup for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender. Gently stir in reserved chicken, 1 1/2 cups green peas, 1/4 c chopped fresh dill, 2 T chopped fresh parsley.
about 8 servings
This is a meal in itself, but you could add a green salad or just about any sandwich.

Tuesday Night Dinner-Spinach Tarragon Quiche

I love fresh herbs. It's hard to say which is my favorite....guess it depends on what I'm cooking. One I don't use very often but I just love and savor every bit is tarragon. And what a difference it makes in this quiche! Oh this is so good. And it's great the next day to. It has everything I love, onions, mushrooms, spinach. Ymmmmmm! (The girls enjoyed it, too!)


1 unbaked 9" pastry shell
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used reduced-fat)
1 c half and half
1/2 c soft bread crums, lightly packed
1/4 c shredded Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten or 1/2 Egg Beaters
3/4 to 1 pound fresh spinach, chopped
3 T butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 T fresh tarragon chopped (1 t dried)
3/4 salt (don't forget this, like I did! the quiche NEEDS it!)

Preheat oven to 400. Mash cream cheese w/a fork and gradually blend in half and half. Add bread cubes, Parmesan, and eggs. Beat with a wire whisk to break up bread pieces.

Melt the butter in large saute pan and cooking onions and mushrooms until soft. Stir in chopped spinach and tarragon until spinach wilts down. Remove from heat. Add warm vegetables to cream cheese mixture and pour into pastry shell. Bake on the lowest rack in 400 oven. Check at about 35-40 minutes (mine took about 45 minutes) when crust is browned and knife comes out clean. Let rest 10-15 minutes.

I served this with a spinach salad (red onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, and bacon vinaigrette dressing) and a whole grain roll.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On to Little Rock and the Best Pizza EVER!!!!

Thirteen years ago during Memorial Day weekend, Jim and I met up in Little Rock before heading to Memphis to see the Titanic exhibit at the Pyramid. We spent the night at the Doubletree downtown and across the street was a little pizza place. My favorite toppings on pizza are tomatoes and LOTS of onions. However, it seems like no one can understand the word LOTS, but not only did Iriana's GET it, Oh My! do they make a good pie.

When we knew we were going to be passing through Little Rock on this trip, I took a chance and looked up pizza restaurants in the downtown area. If only we could find it. Sure enough, we got the right place! And believe me, the pizza is as good as ever. We ordered a large pizza which was twice as much as either of us could eat, so we took the leftovers with us. They lasted us the rest of the trip. I rarely care for cold pizza, but these pies are just as good cold. We even had two pieces left when we got home, and they heat up mighty good, too!

IF YOU ARE EVER ANYWHERE NEAR LITTLE ROCK, you have GOT to stop in! It is well worth the trip!

Monday, September 27, 2010

On our way from Clifton, TX to Midwest City, OK, we drove through Fort Worth (with a wonderful visit to the BEST grocery store EVER....Central Market). We drove past Jim's childhood home and as we were leaving town, he spotted Mercado Juarez, his favorite Mexican restaurant. Oh, this place is good!!! The highlight? The chips and salsa. You see, they serve their salsa warmed! Holy smokes, why hasn't anyone else caught onto this? I will never eat cold salsa again! It makes all the difference. This is one big restaurant and apparently it hasn't changed in the 30+ years Jim has been eating there. A really wonderful restaurant....if you're ever in the vicinity, it is absolutely worth the trip!

Now, when Jim and I were dating, he turned me onto BBQ crabs. There is nothing in the world like them and you can't get them anywhere but Cajun country. It's probably not what you think, but they're covered with a seasoning and then deep-fried. The best crabs I ever had was at a hole-in-the-wall joint called Channel Inn in Sabine Pass, TX, but it closed down years and years ago. A very close second is "Sartin's." Now the Sartin's we always went to was off of I-10 in Beaumont, but it was lost in a hurricane. They did rebuild in Beaumont but, alas, that location is closed on Mondays but luckily they have another location in Nederland, about 15 minutes SE of Beaumont. So guess who were the first folks in at 11 a.m. Monday morning? Oh, be still my heart! This is ABSOLUTELY in my Top Five things to eat and experience. Plan for a couple of hours....these are to be savored!!!

Return to Pappadeaux's!!!

Our first date (February 15, 1997) was at Pappadeaux's Restaurant in Beaumont, TX. When we returned (September 19, 2010) we actually got the exact same table we sat at on our first date! We had calamari, gumbo, and a shrimp po-boy. When management found out about our story, they sent us a complimentary dessert! The place was exactly as we left it, it has such a special place in our was our favorite place in Beaumont. We miss you, Pappa!

Return to Beaumont!

When Jim and I met, he was living in Beaumont, TX. The first time we met in person was on the corner of Major and 105. I knew the minute I laid eyes on him, he would be the only man for me for the rest of my life. I had to get photos of him at "Our Corner!"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Meet the world's two sweetest people!!!! Riley Broussard and Una Broussard. Now, if this is not the sweetest love story ever, I want you to tell me what is. Jim and I stopped at Mulate's for a Sunday lunch. It was no secret we were tourists. First, I was looking all over for our original postings on the wood rails and taking photos when I found it, then taking pictures of the Cajun band and our lunch. After a bit, this lovely couple sitting next to us approached us. Turns out this is Riley Broussard, owner of 3, going on 4, NUNU'S grocery stores in southern Louisiana. He notices that we're tourists and offers us a jar of Nunu's Cajun Seasoning. Now this is GOOD STUFF!!! Just enough heat to spice up your meat/vegetables, but not so much to make your head pop off! So he tells us about where his stores are so, since we're not on a schedule, we take a detour to check out his store. Well worth the trip. I stocked up on Cajun stuff, and bought a bunch of stuff for my friend Donna, another foodie, who flies internationally with American Airlines, and sends packages of food stuffs from all over the world. Boy do I have a good batch of stuff to send to her. I do miss the Cajun Gulf Coast!
But back to Riley and somebody needs to document their stories. They are the most absoluteley, wonderful, sweet, charming couple you will ever meet!!!! And their story is just too sweet. They grew up together and Una used to go to a dance hall Riley's parents had many decades ago. I guess they were kinda sweet on each other, but, you know how life goes. They ended up marrying other folks and both were married for over 50 YEARS. Well, I guess after Riley's wife died, he started thinkin' about Una. Turns out her husband of over 50 years (a career service man) had also died. So Riley gives Una a phone call. Now, I would never try to tell you about the phone call because Una's recollection is just too sweet. She is the quintessential lady (with the softest skin, to boot). But the jest of the story is, these two teen lovebirds reconnected. They are having the best times of their lives! They go out to eat and dance and just enjoy life! They are an inspiration. OK, Riley and Una.....I think you need to take a road trip to Chattanooga, or we need to get back to Breaux Bridge. You are in our hearts!!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We actually made it to Mulate's when there was live music! NOON on Sunday!!!! The other two times we got there we were just in between live music. You haven't lived 'til you listen to live Zydeco music. I can't wait to get back!!!!! Next Riley and Una.........!!!!
OK.....I got carried away thinking about the great food and people at Mulate's I forgot to mention the carving of our names on the rail. When we drove to N'arlin's on Easter weekend and Jim proposed to me, we stopped at Mulate's and at the time you were encouraged to write on the walls/posts so we wrote on the post "just engaged" with our names and dates. The next October on our way from N'arlin's back to Beaumont we stopped again and wrote on a post "Mark and Kay Fulton, married 10-24-97." When Jim and I stopped at Mulate's in September of 2010, we searched and searched for the posting. Turns out Mulate's had done a big re-do and the wooden posts had been refinished and most of the wood had been taken down or re-finished. But I found our "Mark and Kay Fulton, married 10-24-97" marking tucked underneath a table! I was SO excited and wanted to cry! We couldn't find our "engaged" posting, so figured it must have gottten lost with the refinishing of the restaurant. You can't really see it in the photo, but I wrote "Mark and Kay, returned in love September 2010."

I hope we can go back again some day, especially considering the most lovely couple we met that day........ You need to meet Riley and Una! if you are EVER in the vicinicty of southern Louisiana, you MUST find your way to true Cajun country, Breaux Bridge Louisiana, and MOST importantly, to Mulate's. 13 years ago when Jim took me to N'arlin's to propose to me and 6 months later to marry me, we went through Breaux Bridge. He told me of this incredible restaurant, Mulate's. Now granted, I may have been swayed because the world's most wonderful man had asked me to be his wife, but I gotta tell ya, this really is the most charming restaurant EVER. Nothing has ever come close.

The food is true Cajun, the best catfish and iced tea a person could ask for. Now just it couldn't get better??? The local folks make you want to pack up and move to south Louisiana. Have you met Riley and Una? Meet our new best friends!!!!!

This is the courtyard at The Hotel Provencial where Jim and I were married almost 13 years ago. Let's step back in time, shall we?
This is the very spot that Jim proposed to me on Easter weekend 1997. It's the market just behind the shopping strip which includes Cafe Du Monde. There was a Australian band playing at the time "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean." That's our song. Oh, well! But I will never forget the moment Jim got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. BE STILL MY HEART. How did I ever get so lucky? is there anything better in the world than beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans? Don't think so! I am not a donut person or a big thing of anything fried, but Holy Smokes!!!! Beignets at Cafe du Monde CANNOT BE BEAT!!! In fact, I got so carried away, I forgot to take a photo of the beignets delivered to our table and had to go to The Line to get these photos. This is the quintensential N'arlins.

The Beginning of our 2572 mile /8 day journey for the FIRST time in years Jim and I took a vacation!!!!! He commited us to attend a wedding in New Orleans (N'arlins) so we decided to take a circle tour including visits to his Dad and my Mom's. So we left on Friday, September 17th, stopping in Biloxi/Gulfport for a bit of gambling. On the way was Tuscaloosa, Alabama, land of ....gulp...national champions University ofAlabama (being sons/daughters of Texas/Oklahoma a tough pill to swallow). Anywhoooo....Jim remembered a telecast when college football broadcasting legend Keith Jackson went on and on about a BBQ place outside the stadium of Tuscaloosa that was just too good to be true. It's called "Dreamland BBQ" and the only thing on the menu (at the original location) is ribs and chips. Now, after over an hour of touring the Alabama campus (mind you, with our OKLAHOMA SOONERS license plate smack-dab in the middle of the front of the car, and on a Friday afternoon) we finally found a Dreamland BBQ, although not the original. This one actually had other stuff on the menu. Well, I had to have the original, so I ordered the ribs. Gotta tell ya.....I've had better. They were a bit tough and the BBQ sauce, well........give me Bones in Chattanooga any day. Maybe the original joint is better or Keith Jackson might have had a few beers while enjoying his ribs. Whatever. It was a great beginning to a wonderful trip.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Holy Smokes......I can hardly wait to tell you about our vacation, food tour, and the most lovely people we have met!!!! I've been taking tons of photos but am so short on time, I'm going to wait until we get home to post them. Oh the places we've been, food we've eaten, the people we've met! Today was the best!!! Started with cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, then on to Mulate's in Breaux Bridge, LA and our new favorite foodie hangout.....NUNU'S! then to the place of our very first date, Pappadeaux's in Beaumont, with a really special touch from them. And plenty of pictures!

Please stay in touch. We'll be home next weekend and it'll take me a day to share all the fun!!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lazy September Afternoon

Well, here we still sit at 90 degrees in mid-September. The girls don't mind it though. Nothing feels better than scratching your back by rolling around on the grass! Or a short nap in the sun.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Amici's Meatballs

OK, I see from the last posting my choice of fonts is off again. Why can't I figure this out? ANYWHO......tonight's dinner was spaghetti and meatballs with Caesar salad and a whole grain baguette. You should know, we're not big beef eaters here. So if I get a recipe that calls for ground beef, I always substitute ground turkey breast (not ground turkey, but ground turkey breast). It's so low in fat that you would think the outcome would be dry and crumbly.

Not this one. These meatballs are so succulent and tasty! The original recipe came from another restaurant I worked at in Minnesota. I only changed the meat....the original called for ground beef and ground pork. But the biggest surprise is the secret ingredient. Now, I can count on one hand the foods I will not eat. And right at the top of the list is raisins. Can't stand 'em. They're like little dried up bugs in my opinion. But for some reason, raisins bring these meatballs to life. Holy smokes, are these great meatballs. And so lo-cal/lo-fat you just won't believe it! I hope you'll give this recipe a try.


20 oz ground turkey breast
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup Egg Beaters)
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1 T fresh basil, chopped
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
2 large garlic cloves, minces (2-3 teaspoons)
Handful of raisins
1/2 c milk
S&P to taste

I roll the meatballs into balls weighing 50 grams and bake at 350 for 18 minutes. This makes 18 meatballs. And I always keep a jar of store-bought red sauce on hand and just punch it up with a few fresh herbs.

Served with Caesar salad (romaine chopped, tossed with your favorite bottled Caesar salad dressing, homemade croutons, Parmesan cheese, and coursely grated Black Pepper) and a baguette.


NFL Season Launch-MN vs NO

OK, so it's football season!!!!! Yippee!!! That means autumn and cooler weather! I am so HAPPY this long, hot, humid summer is over.
So......the first game of the year was on Thursday night and it was Minnesota vs. New Orleans. When deciding on dinner, I had to go with who Jim needed more points from for Fantasy Football and it just happened to be Minnesota. Now, we spent 6 years in Minnesota, not know as the culinary mecca of the country. We always got such a hoot out of their most famous meal, "Tater Tot Hotdish." For those of you not familiar, I swear I am not making this up. There are numerous renditions of "Hotdish" but we just always thought this was the funniest. SO, when I learned this was the first game of the season.....well, I had just been chompin' at the bit to spring this one on Jim. You must realize that Minnesota is the land of salt, pepper, and ketchup. These are real meat and potatoe kind of folks so it was really hard to come up with a side dish. I opted for a plain green salad (iceberg lettuce, of course) with tomato, onion, cucumbers, and RANCH dressing. The salad was a real stretch for pure Minnesotans, but I had to have something else!
This was a recipe I used to make at a restaurant I worked at in Minnesota. I made a very small version, just enough for the 2 of us and some leftovers for The Girls:
8 oz ground turkey breast (a true Minnesotan would use ground beef)
1 can green beans, drained
1 can cream of your choice soup
Cook the turkey or ground beef and stir in the soup and green beans. Top with tater tots. Cook at 350 for 1 hour, or until tots are nice and crispy. That it's!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday's Dinner

Sorry.....still trying to figure out this typing thing! Hit "Enter" by mistake on the post above. Anywho...... our dinner tonight was Chicken Teriyaki Fried Rice with Sesame Broccoli. Turned out pretty good. If my notes are correct, here's the recipe:

First, I made the dressing for the broccoli. I used half of it to marinade the chicken for the Fried Rice:

In a mini food processor, I chopped up a small chunk (about 1"?) of ginger and one clove of garlic. Then I added 2 T of water, 2 T sesame oil, 1 T rice vinegar. Blend in processor.

I steamed the broccoli crowns and used half of the dressing on it and then topped them with toasted sesame seeds.

Now, for the Stir Fry:


1 chopped carrot for a few minutes. Then add:
1/2 small red pepper, chopped
sugar snap peas
at the last minute, throw in about 1/4 c frozen peas

In saute pan, heat canola oil. When hot, add 8 oz chopped raw chicken which has been marinaded in the broccoli dressing. When cooked, add about 1/4 c chopped green onions and 1/4 c Egg Beaters (or 1 scrambled egg). Then add the above vegetables, 3 c cooked brown rice, and 1/4 c Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce.

This makes 2 very substantial servings or 3 nice meals.

Pretty tasty, I gotta say......looking forward to lunch tomorrow!


Papa's Home!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Dill Shrimp Salad

Thursday night's dinner was a really delicious Shrimp Salad with fresh dill and this beautiful Globe artichoke.

Still fine-tuning the recipe. Gotta make this one again! Served the artichoke with mayo. A baguette on the side.

Still can't quite get the focus right on the camera, but I think the font problem may be taken care of.

Mexican Dinner

OK.........I'm still working on trying to figure out why the fonts I chose are coming out right when I post to this blog.
Also, my photos started out pretty good, but all of a sudden, they're blurry.
I should have gotten closer in this photo, but dinner that night consisted of Honey-Lime Enchiladas, the best Spanish Rice recipe EVER, and a new attempt at Charro Beans. I won't list the recipes here as I am still fine-tuning them, but will next time I make it.
Now, let's see if this post comes out red!

Lindie learns a new trick

Lindie discovered that if she hops up on the chair, it will recline, giving her a great view out the front door!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My New Favorite Sandwich

This is my new favorite sandwich! So simple, what a great combination!
Bagel (it's really good on a sesame seed bagel, but I'm trying to stick with whole grains, so I used a Panera WholeGrain bagel)
Hummus (I used Publix-brand Cilantro/Jalapeno)
Feta Cheese (I used reduced-fat)
Cucumbers (I only use small, pickling cucumbers)
Sweet onion
and Sprouts.....gotta have the sprouts!