Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Go-To Summer Salad

OK, I now have an official go-to summer side salad.  Holy Smokes!  This is good.  And as if it couldn't get any better, you could add a grilled chicken breast to make this an entree.  Absolutely delicious.  This will definitely be on our table a couple of times a week.  Try it.  You will not be disappointed.


1 head lettuce (I used Romaine)
thinly sliced red onion (to taste)
11 oz can mandarin oranges (I didn't have enough juice from my orange to make the dressing, so I used the mandarin orange juice to make up the difference)  and I only used half of the oranges for two salads
6 oz slivered almonds
4-5 Tbsp sugar


1 tsp grated orange peel
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp Good Seasoning Dry Italian Dressing mix
1 cup canola oil (I'll use 3/4 cup next time, this was a bit oily for me)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Heat a large non-stick saute pan on medium heat (I used #6 on my smooth-top stove) until hot.  Add almond and sugar and stir continuously until sugar melts.  I poured mine out on some Reynolds Non-Stick Aluminum Paper (you can use regular aluminum foil, sprayed with cooking spray).  Let cool.  You will not use all the almonds in this salad for two.  Put remaining almonds in a humidity-free container and store in frig or freezer.

Combine salad dressing ingredients.

Toss diced lettuce, onions, oranges, and almonds.  Dress with dressing.  If using as an entree salad, slice chicken and fan out.  Serve as a side salad or entree salad.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lindie and The Bunny

OK, another Girl posting.  And after all, this blog is "The FultonGirls."  But I couldn't believe I actually got these pictures.  Lindie is our yard vigilante.  And she keeps an eye on things, especially now that it's rabbit season.  You always know when a bunny/squirrel/chipmunk is in the yard.  She has finally figured out that if she charges out barking, she doesn't stand a chance.  She has learned that she must quietly, stealthily (is that a word?), stalk her victim.  I  hope you can see the bunny in this photo.  (S)he is right next to the tree.  The photos are out of order.  The first photo shows Lindie after chasing off the bunny and sniffing everything.  The second one shows her casing the bunny.  Lindie took care of things.

The Fulton Girls on Memorial Day

These are my girls.  I just love them so much and they fill our lives with such joy.  I don't know what they spotted out the window, but it sure had their attention, didn't it (notice Spot's tail in action)?

I wonder if anyone under the age of 50 really understands Memorial Day.  But I primarily think of my father's generation and those who died during WWII (all wars, but this one touched me personally because of Dad).  Dad never talked about serving to me, but I know he talked with Paul alot about it.  I never knew much about his service, except for what his sister, my Aunt Nane, told me.  He served in the South Pacific, was a bombadier, and his plane went down.  He was in a hospital for about 6 months and was in pain for the rest of his life.  What he saw haunted him.  I know that Paul turned to him when he was facing the prospect of battle.

I am grateful to film director Steven Spielberg for bringing the horrors of war and death in his film "Saving Private Ryan."  He really gave a true and gripping account of the landing on Normandy to a generation who have become so de-sensitized to war.  He showed the emotions of those men as they drifted towards to the shore.  For the most part, these were just boys. 

And when Jim and I drive around Chattanooga and the different areas where battles in the Civil War were fought, we are so humbled.  I can see these young men climbing these hills and mountains with all these trees, so far away from home.  And when we drove the Gettysburg Battlefield, you could imagine these boys involved in something they maybe really didn't understand.  Away from their families, scared, just trying to survive.  On this day, I have to stop and thank all of those men and women who lost their lives in order to make this the incredible country that it is.  Isn't it a shame that now we have an embarrassing Commander-in-Chief?  What an affront to those who have lost their lives.

Coconut Oatmeal Chewies

OK, I did a great big experiment with these cookies.  Now, I really don't have a sweet tooth, but to me a cookie has to have nuts!  And experience says they need chocolate.  Well, these treats have neither.  But being a person really into texture in food, coconut and oatmeal are natural go-tos.  I did two separate batches.  In the first, I added about an extra 1/4-1/2 cup of flour since these cookies tend to spread alot.  In the second batch, I adhered to the recipe, but added 5 oz of cinnamon chips.  I don't know where you live, but here in TN you cannot find Hershey's Cinnamon Chips.  I think the last bag I bought was, actually, in Hershey, PA.  And I think I found them in MN.  I don't know if it's a regional thing or what.

I cannot tell you which batch I liked better.  But I have to admit the cinnamon chips were a neat addition.  In fact, I might try these again and add ground cinnamon to the batter (and the chips if I can find them).  You could really get creative with this recipe.

COCONUT OATMEAL CHEWIES (makes about 4 dozen)

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup quick oats

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream sugars, butter, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Add dry ingredients until combined.  Drop by tablespoon (about 20 grams) onto lightly greased or lined (parchment paper or Silpat) baking sheet.  Bake for 9-11 minutes until set but not overly browned (bake a few minutes more for a crispier version).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lindt Truffle Chocolate Cupcakes

Jim is on outage for the next month, so I won't be doing much in the line of dinners.  But lots of treats for him to take and share with the office.  And these guys love sweets!  I ran across this recipe some time ago and have been waiting to try it out on my favorite guinea pigs!  As I've said in the past, I don't have a sweet tooth, but these babies are gooood!!!!!!  How could they not be?  There's a Lindt Milk Chocolate Truffle stuffed smack down in the middle of these cupcakes!  If you are a chocolate-holic, you will be hooked.  Some good comments from his co-workers like these were the BEST cupcakes they had ever eaten.  Oh, so good!  (P.S.  I doubled the cupcake recipe, but one recipe of the frosting worked for the 48 cupcakes, but I tend to go pretty light on icing since I can't handle all that sugar.)

LINDT TRUFFLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES (makes 24 cupcakes, if not overly-stuffed)

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding (small box)
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup sour cream
Milk Chocolate Lindor truffles by Lindt (the 5.1 oz bag contains 12 truffles....this recipe makes about 24 cupcakes)

Unwrap milk chocolate Lindt truffles and place in a bowl for later use.  In a separate bowl, add all ingredients and mix well.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full (do not overfill or cupcakes will sink when you add the truffles).  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from oven and lightly press the truffle into each partially baked cupcake, pressing the truffle to the bottom of the cupcake tin.  Let the cupcakes bake an additional 13 minutes (total baking time of 18 minutes).  Cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting.  Garnish with sprinkles or jimmies if desired.


1/2 cup butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese together, then add vanilla.  Slowly add powdered sugar.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Girls

Are these not the sweetest three girls you have ever seen?!!!  I just love these girls so much.  It's funny how they've all "blended."  We believe Spot and Muffin were litter-mates and are 12 years old tomorrow (or somewhere around tomorrow).    We got Lindie about a year and a half ago from the shelter.  Jim always thought Muffin would have made a better mom, but I always thought it would be Spot (I figured Muffin would go and play with her pups and then, well, just forget about them).  But the other day when we were at the dog park, there was a bit of an aggressive dog who kept trying to mount Lindie.  Whenever he would get close to her, Muffin would charge the dog and bark at him.  She is Lindie's protector and Lindie knows it.  She always snuggles up to Muffin at bedtime.  It's just the sweetest thing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fish Tacos

The other day, my neighbor and I went to lunch at J. Alexander's.  I ordered fish tacos which have become a favorite of mine, no matter the restaurant, but theirs are particularly good.  They do fry their fish, so in order to lighten it up a bit, I broiled mine.  Grilling would also be good.  I found a copy-cat recipe on-line for their chili mayonnaise, so I used reduced-fat mayo to further lighten it.  There are so many different ingredients you could put in these and not go wrong (like arugula!).  J. A's puts a big slice of ripe avocado on top, but Jim won't eat plain avocados, so I spread the warmed tortilla with guacamole.  This is what I used this time (this made four tacos):


4 corn tortillas, warmed
2 (4-5 oz) tilapia filets (J.A's uses grouper, cod, halibut, or haddock) broiled, grilled, or fried
cabbage and shredded carrots (I used cole slaw mix)
1-2 green onions, thinly sliced
chili mayonnaise (1/4 cup mayo, 1 tsp (or to taste) chili-garlic sauce, scant 1 tsp lemon (J.A's drizzles this on top of the tacos, I simply dressed the cole slaw mix with this)
Avocado slices or guacamole

Assemble the tacos however you like.  As I said, I spread guacamole on the torts, then added the fish, dressed cole slaw/green onions.  I served this with seasoned black beans and rice.

(NOTE:  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I have fixed my spacing problems.....it will look so much better and easier to copy and paste over to a word processing system to be able to print the recipes.  If anyone out there can tell me how to insert a link to automatically print recipes from this blog, I'd love your help!  But please do keep in mind, I have turned into my mother when it comes to technology!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gelati Cassata

This is such a wonderfully diverse dessert! The many times I have made it, I have always used sherbet because of the wonderful colors you can pick. And it makes a bright, beautiful, cool dessert during the hot summer months. But the beauty of this recipe is that you can use just about any frozen concoction: sherbet, frozen yogurt, ice cream. It uses 3 pints and you could, of course, use all of the same flavor. But I think it's much more fun (and tasty) to mix things up. When using sherbet, I usually use lime, orange or lemon, and raspberry for a lovely blast of color. Also, when using sherbet, I generally sprinkle mini chocolate chips on each flavor for an extra bit of crunch. For the first time, I used ice cream this time: vanilla, birthday cake (it had some colored sprinkles in it), and moose tracks (chocolate, caramel, nuts). It, like all the others, tasted great!

Have fun and use your imagination!


In food processor, process the following together:

1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup pecans

3/4 cup coconut

Spread on a baking sheet (I line mine with aluminum foil for easy clean-up). Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, stirring at about 10 minutes. Let cool.

3 pints sherbet, frozen yogurt, ice cream

Mini chocolate chips (optional)

In an 8" springform pan, spread 1/3 of the coconut mixture and half of each pint of frozen dessert (I put big clumps all around so the ice cream is mixed up when cut. Kind of smush down the ice cream until you have a smooth surface. Sprinkle with chocolate chips if desired. Layer another 1/3 of the coconut mixture, then the remainder of the frozen dessert, again smushing down to make a smooth surface. Again, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips if desired. Top with remaining coconut mixture.

Let freeze until dessert is frozen hard.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fiesta Ravioli

This is such a fun, fast, easy dinner! We both loved it, I imagine if children were involved, this would be a go-to meal (ok, so our girls loved it, too!) I'm glad I cut it in half, so I have the makings of another easy meal in my freezer.

FIESTA RAVIOLI (serves about 6)

1 package (25 oz) frozen beef ravioli

1 can (10 oz) red enchilada sauce (I used mild)

1 jar (8 oz) salsa

2 cups shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese

1 can (2 oz) sliced black olives, drained (optional)

sour cream and lettuce for garnish (optional)

Cook ravioli according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet combine enchilada sauce and salsa. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated throughout. Drain ravioli, add to sauce and gently stir to coat. Top with cheese (and olives, if desired). Cover and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Bring to the table and enjoy with lettuce and sour cream.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Greek Chicken Pasta

I posted this recipe back in November, but just had to post it again. The recipe came from my neighbor, Claudia (thanks again, Claudia!) This stuff is so good. And it makes a really good leftover cold pasta salad! I served it with a taboulleh salad and whole-grain bread.


Saute in EVOO or olive oil cooking spray:

1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup red onion


6-8 oz bite-sized chicken, cook about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked


7 oz marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

1/4 cup feta

1 small chopped tomato (or about 12 grape tomatoes, halved, or sun dried tomatoes)

1 1/2 Tbsp freshly-chopped parsley

1 T lemon juice

1 tsp oregano

chopped Kalamata or oil-cured olives, to taste

cook for 2-3 minutes, add

6-8 oz cooked pasta, I use penne or bow-tie

Season with S&P. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Zucchini Cakes

These are so good and such a great side dish! This is the second time I made them (the first photos didn't turn out). Last time I just made half of the recipe, but they were so good this time I made the full batch and froze six of the cakes. I'll let you know how those come out next time I cooked them. The recipe came from RELISH MAGAZINE, a monthly insert which comes in our newspaper.

ZUCCHINI CAKES (makes 6-8 cakes, depending on how large you like them)

3 cups coarsely grated zucchini

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from a baguette.....I used Panko)

1 egg

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup diced red pepper

1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp mayo or plain yogurt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 Tbsp vegetable oil, for frying

1 tsp butter

Place grated zucchini in a colander; sprinkle lightly with salt and let stand 30 minutes. Press with paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible. Zucchini should be fairly dry, and you should have about 2 cups. Place zucchini and remaining ingredients (except oil and butter) in a bowl. Mix well. Form into 6-8 patties the size of crab cakes. Chill.

Heat oil and butter in a skillet.

Add patties to skillet and cook on both sides until browned. Drain on paper towels.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

OK, let me first say that the traditional German Chocolate Cake is never frosted all the way around, but in between layers. But, I'm not a good baker and I have a 50/50 chance of my layers coming out nicely from the pans. So the frosting is my camouflage to cover up the clumps of cake left in the pan. And generally, in an attempt to lower fat/calories (is this even possible with a German Chocolate Cake?) I usually just use half of the icing. Not in this one. I use it all. Every little bit and just keep my fingers crossed that there's even enough to cover the flaws.

One thing I learned from working at the restaurant in Minnesota (this woman was, really, a master baker) was that you never used a cake mix (there is only one Bundt cake I make using a mix). Everything she made came from scratch. I have been making this cake for as long as I can remember....it comes from the "Joy of Cooking" and I can tell you, even though I do not have a sweet tooth, making from scratch makes all the difference and even I will indulge in this one. This is the lightest, airiest cake I have ever eaten.


This recipe is repeated as shown in the "Joy of Cooking" 2006, p. 719

Have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70 degrees. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour three 8x2" or 9x2" round cake pans or line the bottoms with waxed paper (I use the cooking spray that has both canola oil and flour).

Whisk together until thoroughly blended:

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Combine in a small bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth:

4 oz sweet baking chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup boiling water (I use strong coffee or espresso)

Stir in:

1 tsp vanilla

Have ready:

1 cup buttermilk or sour cream

Beat in a large bowl until creamy, about 30 seconds:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

Gradually add and beat on high speed until light and fluffly, 4-6 minutes:

1 3/4 cups sugar

Beat in one at a time:

4 egg yolks

On low speed, add the melted chocolate and beat just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk or sour cream in 2 parts, beating until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necesssary.

Using clean beaters, beat in a large bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form (I put a stainless steel bowl and the beaters in the freezer for a few minutes):

4 egg whites

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Gradually add, beating on high speed:

1/4 cup sugar

Beat until the peaks are stiff but not dry. Use a rubber spatula to fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Divide the batter amont the pans and spread evenly.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes in 9" pans, 30-35 minutes in 8" pans. Cool pans on wire racks for about 15 minutes, run a butter knife or plastic spatula around the rims to loosen and then invert onto racks to remove. Let cool completely.


Combine in a medium saucepan:

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk, heavy cream, and half-and-half

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Cook over medium heat, stirring occassionally, until the mixture is thickened and bubbling gently around the edges. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in:
1 1/3 cup flaked sweetened dried coconut

1 1/3 cup pecan pieces

Let cool until spreadable. This keeps, refrigerated, for about 1 week. Soften at room temperature before spreading.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Heartache in Apison

The roads off of East Brainerd Road were opened the other day. These photos are off of Cherokee Valley Road, just two miles from us. We saw this same devastation in several other areas, from Ringgold through Apison. And there is so much more. Everyone always thought the mountains and ridges would protect us. I lived a mile from an F5 path in Oklahoma 15 years ago and never saw anything like this.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Penne Gorgonzola Chicken

This is definitely a "splurge" meal. Don't even think about it if you're dieting! I'm going to list the recipe as I found it, although I did try to lighten it up just a bit by using half-and-half, less butter, and reduced-fat gorgonzola. I did half the recipe and used only one 6 oz chicken breast which was plenty.


3 chicken breasts
1 lb penne pasta

1/2 cup butter
1 pt heavy cream
4 oz gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 c shredded parmesan
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Season chicken with S&P and grill. Slice into thin strips. Bring water to a boil and add pasta. While pasta is cooking, make the sauce.

Melt butter in saucepan, heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute being careful not to let the butter burn. Slowly add cream and heat to a low boil to reduce, stirring constantly. Boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat, add gorgonzola, parmesan, and nutmeg. Stir until melted. Serve sauce over noodles and top with chicken.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Years ago I ran across a recipe like this for Halloween. Seems like you attached a string of black licorce for a tail and miniature chocolate chips for eyes to make this look "mouse-like." Can't remember the specifics, but the recipe (sans confectioner's sugar) was pretty much the same. UPDATE: I just found the old recipe and it called for choc chips, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, butter, and flour. You just didn't dip it in the powdered sugar.

But back to today. I recently ran across a recipe for pretty much the same thing. I had some leftover holiday Hershey Kiss flavors and thought this would be a good way to use them up (I used Irish Creme and Mint Truffle). This original recipe calls for using the Milk Chocolate Kisses. I think whatever flavor you use, you will make those who get these treats quite happy. This recipe made about 4 dozen treats for me.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup finely chopped pecans
About 48 Hershey's Kisses (your choice of flavors)
powdered sugar

Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Sitr together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Add pecans; beat until well blended. Refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Heat oven to 375. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Mold a scant tablespoon of dough around each chocolate, covering completely. Roll in your hands to make a ball. Place on ungreased (I use parchment paper, you can use a Silpat). Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool about 1 minute. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Potatoes with Ham and Cheese

I had bought a ham around Easter when they were on sale, but just got around to using it the other day. I'm working on using it all (which isn't easy to do with just two of us) so I can get to that bone and make that awesome ham and brown sugar soup again! Doing an on-line search, I ran across this recipe at http://www.southernfood.about.com/. It sounded like the basic ham, potato, cheese casserole but I needed something.

WOW! This stuff is good! When I first made the white sauce, I thought I would need to adjust the worcestershire and seasonings.....it tasted a bit off just by itself. But then I baked it in the casserole and YUMMMM!!!! The recipe I'm listing below says it serves 6-8. I cut it in half and Jim and I ate the entire thing and wanted for more! I'll make the entire recipe next go around! These would be some good leftovers!!!


4 cups diced potatoes (I did a small dice, maybe 1/4" or less)
2 cups chopped green onions
5 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp chopped pimiento
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cups diced ham (I did a small dice here, too, 1/4" or less)
1/2 cup plain soft bread crumbs
3-4 Tbsp butter, cut in small pieces

In a saucepan, cook potatoes and onions together in lightly salted water until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain. To make white sauce melt 5 Tbsp butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour, stirring until blended. Cook, stirring, and gradually stir in milk. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and pimiento. Cook, stirring, until thick. Place half of the cooked potatoes and onions in a larged buttered 3 quart baking dish. Cover potatoes with half of the cheese. Spread all of the ham on the cheese. Cover with remaining potatoes.

Pour the cooked seasoned white sauce over all. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. (This next step I omitted.) Sprinkle with bread crumbs and then dot with butter. Bake in preheated 350 oven until cheese is melted, about 10-15 minutes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Apison Tornado

Last Friday night at 8:30 p.m. our neighbors across the street called to say they just saw a tornado go over the elementary school which is directly behind them. We had no idea. We have no sirens out here. The next morning, the paper said that three had died in the area, but by the morning, the local news programs were quickly upping that number. The hardest hit was just a mile or two from our home in Apison, but also Cleveland, TN and Ringgold, GA (just 10 minutes from us), and of course, Alabama. Growing up in Oklahoma, I know how tornadoes act so erratically. Our subdivision was completely untouched, not one broken tree branch. But just a mile away, total devastation. 8 people died just 2 miles from our home. The scene is still barracaded to keep looters and lookers out while clean-up is still going on, but I've seen the outer limits of ground zero and it is unbelievable.

The photos above are taken behind my across-the-street neighbor's house. Our local elementary school is right behind there house and this is the command center for the hundreds of volunteers and workers who were trying to clear the fallen trees off of the roads. The governor landed at the school to take a land-tour of the damage to the area.

I found this link on facebook that shows just a bit of the damage.

And there are several videos on YouTube if you put in a search for "Apison TN tornado." Here's just one of many:

Again, incredibly we had no damage in our subdivision, we didn't even lose electricity. Oddly enough, we lost our telephone, television, and internet on Friday and it just came back today. Looking just a mile from us as we drive down the road, we simply cannot believe our luck. But our hearts are broken for those whose lives were so tragically changed. It will be years before the area returns to its former pristine beauty. But, just as in Oklahoma City 16 years ago, the outpouring of American generosity will simply melt your heart. The people of this country can always be counted on.