Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chicken Bog


With all of the grandchildren here for fall break, I wanted an easy supper that everyone would eat. Chicken Bog was my plan. Chicken Bog, a South Carolina low-country favorite, is a perfect fall recipe, too. Baby Girl didn't love it but then there are a lot of things she doesn't love yet.

I have posted this recipe before, but this time I increased the amounts by 50%. When I taught home economics to 8th graders, I found myself also teaching a little math. Sometimes you need math in the kitchen. This would be one of those times. My original version served 4. This one is rewritten to serve 6.

Also, because of the little ones have tender palates, I used less black pepper (it's written that way in this recipe) and just left the red pepper out altogether. It was hot enough for them. Make the "heat' suit your family.


3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
13-oz package turkey smoked sausage
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons Lawry's seasoning salt
1-1/2  teaspoons House Seasoning *
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper, optional (I left it out)
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth (more broth or water, as needed)
2-1/4 cups uncooked white rice

Slice the turkey smoked sausage into rounds. In a stockpot, combine chicken broth, chicken breasts, sausage, onion, butter, seasonings and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for about 35 minutes, until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from pot and let cool slightly. Using two forks, shred chicken and set aside.

Add rice to pot and bring to a boil, stirring well. Boil 10 minutes, then reduce heat. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, or until rice is done. (Add more broth or water if needed.)

Remove bay leaves. Stir shredded chicken back into the pot. Add more broth if needed.

Serves 6

*House Seasoning:  Mix 1/4 cup salt, 1 tbsp. black pepper & 1 tbsp. garlic powder. Store in an air-tight container, such as an empty spice bottle.

Let me say that after cooking supper last night, I am amazed that Mommy ever gets ANYTHING cooked to feed her family. I know I did it when my girls were little. I know she does it every night. But goodness, how crazy it is to be cooking with two little ones zooming around the kitchen. Understand that there were four adults here watching the two little ones and it was still hard.

How does Mommy do it when it's two against one???

Monday, September 28, 2015

Batten Down The Hatches!


I'm sitting here in early morning, making a grocery list. This is a special grocery list. All the grandchildren (along with Mommy) will be here this afternoon and will stay for a few days while their schools are on fall break. This is one of the wonderful perks of their move to a neighboring state.

I was having a hard time thinking of easy suppers to make while they are here. I don't want to spend much time in the kitchen when I could be playing and snuggling and reading storybooks and rocking the baby (well, she's 19 months old.) After coming up blank with meal ideas, it hit me. DUH! Check the recipe index right here on my own blog.

The recipes on my blog are the ones I know my family likes. And I know they work because I've made them all. Sometimes a new recipe can be a "surprise." So this morning, I'll head to the grocery store with a list and a plan. Maybe you can find a supper idea in my plan, too.

It will be cool and rainy here for their entire visit, so tonight I'm making Chicken Bog. Who doesn't like chicken and rice? And it didn't hurt that I have a turkey smoked sausage in the 'fridge that I need to use.

Tomorrow is Big Sister's 15th birthday. She has requested that I make Penne with Tomatoes &  Mozzarella. I'm am totally happy she chose one of my easiest recipes!

Wednesday, I have a committee meeting at church, I am responsible for feeding kids in the children's Bible study and our handbell group has it's first fall practice. I'll be home in time for a slightly late supper with the children. But cooking Wednesday's supper calls for a slow cooker meal or a make-ahead dinner, or maybe soup. I can't think that far ahead this morning!

I'll make Chicken Salad for sandwiches because everyone likes that. And maybe Little Sister and I will bake Applesauce Muffins. If I'm smart, I'll measure the dry ingredients this morning before they arrive and then the mixing will be easy.

What else is on my to-do list this morning? Moving everything laying around up about 2 feet higher—so that Baby Girl's busy little hands cannot reach them. At least I hope she can't!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Every Daybreak Is A Gift


 "Whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun."
-  Thomas Jefferson - Mr. Jefferson rose early everyday for 50 years.

Like Mr. Jefferson, I am an early riser. I was just born that way. Yes, there are a few of us. When we moved here to the farm, I discovered that I had a ringside seat to watch the sunrise every day. So for years now, I have photographed the sky. Mostly in the early morning. Sometimes later in the day if I notice something special. 

Making these hundreds of photographs of the same spot day after day has made me much more aware of the seasons changing. More aware of the weather. More aware of nature. More aware of myself.

All of these photos are from this summer. The final photo is today's sky, just before the sun came up—truly daybreak. If you are not an early bird, here is your chance to see what daybreak looks like. And I love these quotes from a few other "morning people."

  "Angels in the early morning may be seen the
dews among.
Stooping, plucking, smiling, flying.
Do the buds to them belong?"
-  Emily Dickinson

 "The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep."
-  Rumi 


"Morning glory is the best name, 
it always refreshes me to see it."
-  Henry David Thoreau  

"When you arise in the morning, 
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - 
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."
-  Marcus Aurelius

"The difference between rising at five and seven o'clock in the morning, for forty years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of ten years to a man's life."
-  Doddridge  


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vacation's Over

Jessica and I are back at our respective homes and back to a regular schedule. But we brought back wonderful memories. It was just a lazy, relaxing time away. We had time on the beach. Time to read. Time for movies. We watched five of them. Thank you, Redbox.

Time to knit. Notice mine matched the furnishings? It's a new pattern called Summertide, most appropriate for my beach knitting.

Two visits to Brookgreen Gardens—the sculpture garden, the zoo and the butterfly house—provided many paths to walk after delicious meals. Jessica even found the labyrinth to walk.

And we made plenty of time to visit our favorite coastal restaurants. Some were worthy of a second (and one got a third) visit. I have never eaten crab in so many versions--crab cakes, crab nachos, crab quiche and crab hush puppies (or maybe they were shrimp hush puppies?) Every bite was perfect. Of course, there was shrimp, flounder, grouper, and mussels, too. Can we get those seafoods here at home? Of course we can. But it's just not the same as eating it at the beach.

On Tuesday of last week, it felt like we had been there forever with more days stretching out ahead of us. On Wednesday, I could see vacation's end rushing toward us. And on Friday, it felt like "we just got here" and it was time to start packing up.

I'm already looking forward to the next beach visit.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Off To The Beach

I'm taking off to spend some time with Jessica. 
Be back here in a week or so.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Almost Not Cooking #3

We were having BBQ sliders for supper and I wanted slaw to go with them.This slaw only requires a little measuring and dicing one apple and then stirring it all together. If you don't take forever to dice the apple, this is quick to make. I was done in six minutes. It would have only taken five, but I had to refill the sugar bowl.

If your knife skills aren't great, consider taking the free Complete Knife Skills class from Craftsy. Yes, it's free! Even if you only watch the first two of the four lessons, you'll learn a lot. It's like having a front row seat at a cooking class.

This cole slaw is such a light, fresh dish. Different from the mayonnaise based slaw I often make. I like them both. If you aren't a mayo fan, try this one.


14-oz bag cole slaw mix
handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 apple, chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
salt & pepper to taste

Toss cole slaw mix, parsley and apple in a large bowl. 
Measure oil in a glass measuring cup.*
Add sugar and vinegar and stir until sugar is dissolve. 
Pour over slaw mix and stir to combine. 
Refrigerate for a while to let flavors blend.

* This time I mixed the dressing in the large bowl and then added other ingredients and tossed. One less thing to wash. 

I cringe when I watch my daughters cut almost anything. It's one of my failures as a mother. I obviously didn't teach them how to use a knife. Okay, daughters! Watch the free class!!! Before you bleed on the vegetables.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pork Tenderloin And Apples

If I were cooking supper for us tonight, it might be this recipe. Instead I'm cooking for the kids at church. But I'll share this recipe I made last week.

I didn't feel like cooking. Sinus headache. It's that time of year. But we did need to eat. I had printed this recipe out a few days earlier. I had already bought the pork tenderloin. I had everything else here. The recipe came from the Mayo Clinic website. I found it when looking for a low-sodium recipe. I am thinking this might a good meal to share, but I wanted to try it out before I took it to anyone. This was simple enough, even for a night when I didn't want to cook.

If your chopping skills are good, this is really quick to put together. I chopped one large onion and one large apple and minced a little fresh rosemary. That was the hard part. The tenderloin is just browned and popped in the oven.

Let me give you a tip—if you buy a package with two tenderloins in it (that's how ours usually comes) cook the smaller one.  I cooked the larger one and it wasn't done in 15 minutes. Ten minutes more in the oven and it still had not quite reached the proper temp. So I sliced it diagonally and put it back in the oven for another minute or two. Slicing it let the internal temperature reach 160 degrees in a hurry.  (In case you were wondering, I made pulled pork from the other tenderloin from that pack.)

Next time we might just cook it on the grill. Our grill is one step out of the kitchen door, so for us that's as easy as the oven. Either way is fine. The flavor all comes from the sauce.

The sauce was delicious--apples, onions, rosemary, balsamic vinegar. All things I like. Smelled so yummy as it cooked. Daddy-O isn't a huge fan of rosemary. I love it. Another time I might split the difference and use it, but not put quite as much as the recipe calls for. We will do this again for sure. I think the next time I need to take a meal, I will make this—now that I know this is good enough to share.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin*
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped apple
1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a heavy baking pan with PAM.

Heat olive oil over high heat in skillet. Sprinkle pork with black pepper. Brown in oil on all sides, about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and place in baking pan. Roast the pork for about 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees. (That's for medium.)

While pork is in the oven, add onion, apple and rosemary to the skillet. Saute over medium heat until the onions and apples are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and vinegar. Increase heat and cook about 5 mintues, until sauce is reduced.

To serve, slice pork on the diagonal and place on a platter. Spoon sauce over top.

*If your tenderloin is larger, allow extra time for cooking. There is plenty of sauce.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Fun

Perfect weather. One last weekend. 
Water fun. Lazy days. Good food. Family together.

It was the last hurrah of summer.
It was fun to have Mommy and J-Daddy and all the girls at the lake. 

And this gorgeous sunset was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Just Know What You're Starting

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Needles:  size 3

When you make your first baby gift, keep in mind that you could be starting something that could go beyond this one baby. After you've knitted something for that baby, you find yourself making something for the next baby. And the next baby. A few hats down the road, people will begin to say, "I hope you're going to make something for our new baby!"

I think this is baby gift hat #17. I've knitted in the last few years. I've already started #18. I'm not even counting hats for my own little ones. There have been multiple baby blankets, too. And a couple of tiny sweaters. 

Don't get me wrong. I've loved making each and every item. Wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it. Each one is a celebration of a new life. Just know what you could be starting with that first gift!

These little "welcome to the world" gifts have been sent everywhere. I've sent hats and blankets to places I'll probably never get to see in person. Might never get to see these babies either, but it's a way to let the new moms to know we are happy about their new little one.

Pattern: Anne Norling's Kid's Fruit Hat
Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, Off-White
Needles:  size 5

Well, before I finished writing this blog post, I finished hat #18. Both of these are headed to daughter Jessica for a baby shower next week at her office. The babies are now coming two at a time! Yes, sometimes I don't know the recipients at all. But these are people that mean something to my daughters.

When I give a hand knit, I add tags that give the fiber content and care instructions. I've learned to add to the tag, in red, "Avoid Contact w/Velcro." So many baby bibs use Velcro fasteners now and Velcro will attach itself to knitted things before you can blink. It doesn't come off willingly.

As much fun as these tiny hats have been to knit, I hope I'm caught up for a while. There are other, bigger things to be knitted. There are books to be read. There are songs to be played. There are recipes to be tried. There are even dishes to be washed and towels to be folded. And I try not to forget to leave a little time for doing nothing. I'm not particularly good at that, but I keep trying.

HINT:  When I send a blanket to a first time mom, I now include a mesh laundry bag in the package. The kind of bag you put your lingerie in to wash in the washing machine. All the Velcro bibs can go in the bag and into the washing machine and that keeps the Velcro safely away from everything else.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pork Chops And Brown Rice

 Pork Chops & Brown Rice

I made this last week and we put half in the freezer. Pulled it out last night for supper and thawed in the microwave. I am all about keeping cooked foods in my freezer for easy dinners.

I love recipes that I have made so many times that I'm not digging through my drawer of recipes to see how to make it. This one is in that category. It's simple, with only a few ingredients. And it's always good. It doesn't take much time to put it together, then it goes into the oven for an hour. You can use that hour to make the rest of dinner. Or, go sit down with a good book!

After 20 years of making this recipe, I made one tiny change this time. Instead of putting slices of onion and green pepper on top of each chop, I diced the vegetables and added them to the rice and consomme mixture. The slices on top make a prettier dish. Mixed in with the rice might have tasted better.

We are still enjoying the last of the garden vegetables—okra and tomatoes—on the side. And one last recipe note...please understand that here in the South, brown rice might have nothing to do with whole grains—it's usually white rice cooked in consomme. Hence, it looks "brown."


4 boneless pork chops
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 (10-oz) can condensed beef consomme
1 onion, sliced (or diced if you're mixing with rice)
1 green pepper, sliced (or diced if you're mixing with rice)
1 tablespoon oil

Brown pork chops quickly in hot oil in skillet just until they get a nice brown color. In a casserole dish, spread rice over bottom. (I spray the dish with PAM) Pour half the can of consomme over rice. Top with pork chops. Place a slice of onion and green pepper on each chop. Pour remaining consomme over all.

Cover, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

The dish I use is a 2-1/2 quart oval Corningware dish with a lid. This also fits into a 9x9-inch square baking dish and you can cover with foil. I hate trying a new recipe and trying to figure out what size dish I should use. Hope this helps.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I Only Ordered Yarn

New yarn arrived in the mail today. The yummy kind of yarn. It was on sale. A good sale. Like many knitters, it wasn't so much that I needed yarn but the wonderful (discontinued) colors were hard to resist. I didn't order very much. Only enough for two scarves.

I do try to be sensible about buying more yarn. But today I am thinking that my hobby isn't so expensive after all. For the last few days, small airplanes have flown back and forth over our yard and the pasture. Just over the river behind our house, people with a BIG hobby gather together. There is a private airstrip that hosts fly-ins several times a year. Hundreds of planes fly in for a few days. Spouses arrive in their RVs and set up in the camping area. They must have a wonderful time because this event has been going on for years.

So when I think that maybe I should have skipped ordering the four skeins of yarn, I remind myself that I COULD have just ordered an airplane! My hobby is pretty reasonable after after all. That's my logic and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Almost Not Cooking #2

Here is another "almost not cooking" post. Maybe on the holiday weekend coming up, you'd like to do fun things and not stay in the kitchen. I made this last week on a night that I didn't feel like cooking.

I saw this "recipe"—it's really more like assembly directions—recently on an Instagram post from Euna Mae's. That's a kitchen/gift shop in Arkansas. A recipe that is in an Instagram post is going to be pretty simple because those posts are never very long.

I bought a fresh salad from the grocery store. This store makes fresh salads daily in-store. Of course, you could use a bag of salad or...hold on...you could cut your own greens! The genius of this salad is that you use purchased chicken tenders. I got mine from the grocery store deli.

I'll give you the basics of the "recipe" but of course, you can leave out or add anything, based on your likes or what is on hand. I am not a fan of olives listed in the Instagram post, but we still have green peppers in our garden. So I made that swap. Very sadly, I was out of bacon. That would have been wonderful. We love blue cheese but I used cheddar cheese because that's what was here. All of those changes, and it was still good. If you want a healthier version, of course you can use grilled tenders.


Put cut up romaine lettuce on your plates.
Layer vegetables, such as, halved grape tomatoes, sliced green onions, diced cucumber, avocado, etc.
Top with crumbled blue cheese, crumbled crisp bacon and croutons.
Pile chopped chicken tenders on top and drizzle with dressing.

Blue Cheese Ranch Dressing: Mix half & half, bottled Ranch dressing and bottled blue cheese dressing. (If you have one of the milder blue cheese dressings, you might want to go with 1/3 ranch and 2/3 blue cheese.)

I went crazy with the whole "not cooking" thing and bought a box of 5-cheese Texas toast from the freezer section. This was a great supper on a hot summer night.

If you are interested in following Euna Mae's on Instagram (she has had other recipes that sound good, too) search for "eunamaes" and should you ever find yourself in Springdale, Arkansas, stop by there. It's a cute store. You can also check out her blog. I just added it to the blog list on the side bar.