Put Away Those White Pants

Happy Labor Day! There is an open house at my house this Sunday, so I started some work which didn’t require last minute. I also went and picked some beautiful pears for today’s recipe. The trees were loaded, but I mostly picked up pears which were on the ground. I knew they were ripe and since I was going to make a Crisp, I cut any bad spot off.
I have found a new podcast I am enjoying, Disney Story Origins by Paul Hale. He compares the original book (the origin) and the Disney movie made from the book. I have listened to The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Part One of Alice in Wonderland and have been fascinated by what I have learned. As I worked the origin of Labor Day crossed my mind, so I did some “googling” after my shower. According to the Constitution Daily in September 1882, the unions of New York City decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions, and to show support for all unions. Other regions started having their own parades, and by 1887, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Colorado made Labor Day a state holiday. President Grover Cleveland signed an act in 1894 establishing the federal holiday. Over the years the celebration has evolved and is now more known for three distinctive events other than its original purpose.
One, it is considered the end of summer; the last long weekend to enjoy summer fun. This seems ridiculous, because in SC it will be 80 – 90 until November; there is still plenty of time to sweat.
Two, it is the end of wearing white. This old tradition goes back to the late Victorian era, where it was a fashion faus pax to wear any white clothing after the summer officially ended on Labor Day. The tradition isn’t really followed anymore. EmilyPost.com explains the logic behind the fashion trend – white indicated you were still in vacation mode at your summer cottage.
Third, but not last, it is considered the unofficial end of hot dog season. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council say that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs.
Pears
Pear or Apple Crisp
I used the pears in a great crisp. I was reading a book on Eating Clean and one part that resonated with me was that we have to change our way of thinking. I have heard this for years, but for some reason it hit me. The author posed a question of why do we think we can only eat toast, eggs, grits (she was not from the south so she did not say grits, I added that), bacon, etc. for breakfast? Why not eat veggies or a healthy fruit crisp? I guess my answer is, “Because it’s what I thought I was supposed to eat and/or have always ate.” So I made a pear crisp for breakfast in the morning. Bonus, I had topping left over, so I added some natural coconut, put it in a 9” cake pan, baked it with the crisp, and out came an awesome granola. So many times, I surprise myself. The original recipe came from Clean Food by Terry Walters, but of course I couldn’t stop myself from tinkering with it.

6 pears (or apples) cored, peeled and sliced
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tab whole wheat flour

Topping (If you don’t care to make granola, make half of the topping.)

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup maple syrup
1 Tab flax seed
½ cup canola oil

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
• Place pears in a large bowl; add syrup, cinnamon, and flour. Mix well and spread in a 2 quart baking dish which has been sprayed.
• Mix all topping ingredients together. Spread topping evenly over pears, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 additional minutes or until pears are cooked through.
• To make the granola, add ½ cup no-sugar added coconut, stir and spread remaining topping in even layer in 9” cake pan. Put in oven with crisp, set timer for 10 minutes, stir, put back in oven for 5 minutes. Remember this is 15 minutes off the initial 30 minutes to bake the crisp.

55 days and 17.22 lbs till Disney Food & Wine.

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Eight Yards

Finally, it’s here! What you may ask, FOOTBALL. I have been going to college football games since I was very young. My husband, both my children, and myself all graduated from Clemson and are diehard fans. Even though their Dad died when the kids were young, I made sure they understood football. There is nothing more aggravating than sitting at a football game and someone constantly asking questions, stupid questions. Asking questions during the game is not cute or enduring for any true football fan. Since Clemson is opening with Wofford, I will tell a true story about two Wofford “fans”. These two young gentlemen with Wofford shirts were sitting behind us possibly the last time we played Wofford at Clemson. Wofford was losing but was driving, one of the guys says to the other, “If we can keep making two yard on each down, we got this.” If you don’t understand what is wrong with this statement go ask someone. I was with Daughter and her friend Amanda and we just looked at each other and busted out laughing. The two guys were totally oblivious to the fact we were laughing at them or why.
I used to cook for 10 – 15 college kids for every home Clemson football game for many years. I set my menu on Monday, shopped on Tuesday, and started cooking on Wednesday. For Noon games I would pack everything in coolers, load coolers, and head out by 5:30 – 6:00 AM. Then unpack everything when I got home. I love tailgating and tailgating foods.
Tonight it will be just daughter and I, so it will be a vegetarian tailgate. We will be having Baked Blossoming Onion and Baked Tofu Sliders.
Baked Blossoming Onion
I love the blooming onions at known restaurant chain, but this is much healthier and delicious. Thisrecipe came from Fresh Start by Julee Rosso.

2 very large red onions, about 1 ½ pound
½ cup bread crumbs or Panko crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
2 egg whites

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet or spray with olive oil.
• Peel the skin from the onions and trim the bottoms so that the onions will sit flat. Starting at the center of the top, cut 20-30 slits ¾ of the way down the onion. This will make a “flower” effect.
• In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, and paprika. In another bowl whisk the egg whites with a fork. Pour the egg whites into the center of the onions and sprinkle with seasoned crumbs.
• Spray onions lightly with olive oil spray and bake 40 – 50 minutes until the onions are browned.

Spicy Dipping Sauce

¾ cup nonfat cottage cheese
¼ cup mayo
1 ½ tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp cayenne
Salt/pepper

• Use emersion blender to blend all ingredients. Serve at room temperature.

610days and 17.22 lbs till Disney Food & Wine.

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What …Tomato Cobbler!

I can hardly believe its September. How many times have you asked, “Where does the time go?” Well after much research I found it. In the article “Where Does the Time Go?” by Tom Evans, December 18, 2013 he lets us know where the time goes. He gives four tips to help us have more time in the day to get things done.
1. Many people are only 33% efficient. When we mull over the past or fret about the future, this has the result of disrupting our efficiency in the Now.
2. Slowing down is the new speeding up. Make sure you take at least 10 minutes of ‘me time’ each day.
3. Being in two minds. Get your right and left mind working together. Before embarking on any creative task, hold your left nostril closed with your index finger and breathe through the right nostril five times. Then close the right nostril and breathe through the left five times. Repeat as necessary. (We did this in pool yoga last month.)
4. Create a love to list. The To Do List can become a weight around our necks, dragging us down and backwards.
Please go to the link above and read the article, it is very interesting.
Another mystery solved.
Tomato Cobbler
I can’t tell you how good this is; you will just have to make it. I am staying with Daughter in McCormick several nights this week and we have had some awesome food. I saw this recipe on a wonderful blog A Veggie Venture, and knew I had to make it. End of season tomatoes are so sweet and juicy. It looks complicated, but it is quite simple. Make the biscuits ahead of time and put them in the freezer. I made a few changes, just have to, and it as delicious.

CORNMEAL BISCUITS

1 cup all-purpose flour, (I used whole wheat.)
4 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1-1/2 Tab sugar
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme leaves

8 Tab (1 stick) cold salted butter
1/4 cup buttermilk plus 1 – 2 more tablespoons as needed
Flour, for rolling the biscuits

TOMATOES
1 Tbs olive oil
8 ounces tomatillos, cut in bite-size pieces (I used green tomatoes instead since they were in the garden.)
2 pounds very ripe, very good summer tomatoes, cut in bite-size pizza
1 Tab sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp thyme leaves
Healthy grind of freshly ground pepper

TO FINISH
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)
3 ounces goat cheese

CORNMEAL BISCUITS
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and herbs. Grate the butter on the large holes of a cheese grater onto a sheet of waxed paper, dump the butter into the dry ingredients.

Working quickly from this point forward, use your fingers to gently toss the flour and butter until butter is fully distributed and all the small bits are coated with flour. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk, toss with your fingers or a meat fork until dough forms, adding extra buttermilk if the mixture remains a little floury. With your hands, gently press the dough to form a big clump.

On the floured work surface, gently press the biscuit dough to flatten slightly in a circle shape. Using a knife cut into 8 tringles. Put the biscuits on a plate, to avoid sticking, they shouldn’t touch one another. Freeze for at least one hour.

TOMATOES
In a ten- or twelve-inch cast iron skillet, heat olive oil until shimmery. Stir in tomatillos, let soften just a bit, a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sprinkle the top with sugar, salt and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until juices release. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, let simmer until juices are mostly absorbed but you do want to leave some liquid for the biscuits to soak up! This can be made ahead of time and left on the stove off heat for a couple of hours; if longer than that, transfer out of the cast iron to store in the fridge until ready to bake the cobbler.

TO FINISH
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange frozen biscuits on top of the Tomatoes, brush biscuit tops with the egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Place bits of goat cheese between the biscuits, pushing into the tomato mixture if needed. Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until biscuits are dark-gold in color.

60 days and 17.22 lbs till Disney Food & Wine.

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Don’t Go Near the Water

As a child I was always told I had to wait one hour before swimming after eating? Even then I thought this was bogus, and I still smile when I think about it, but for different reasons. My Mama believed that food in the stomach would weigh you down and could cause drowning. What really made me laugh was, my Mama always took my cousins and me swimming in the pond. While we swam she set on the bank shelling whatever she had picked from the garden. Why I smile, my Mama was petrified of water and could not swim a lick. (On her behalf, when I had kids she actually bought a bathing suit, first one, and would wade in the pool on a float up to her thighs.) I asked her many times exactly what she would do if one of us drowned. She always answered the same, “I can tell them where you went down.” As we know today waiting an hour was an old wise tale. There are two popular beliefs where this myth started.
First, it seems to have been believed that upon eating, the available blood in the body would flood to the stomach to help with digestion. This would deprived of proper blood flow and the limbs wouldn’t have enough blood available to be able to execute even a simple backstroke, leaving the swimmers to seize up with cramps and sink like frozen Anna when Elsa finished with her. (Two days in a row with a Frozen reference.)
Second, and the one I believe to be more likely, is this gave parents at least 60 minutes of peace after eating for them to rest.
There is no evidence today that one should wait before entering the waters after eating. Actually many professional swimmers eat mere minutes before competing to get a energy boost.
I was also told that if you swallowed your chewing gum would sit in your stomach for seven years because that is how long it would take to digest.
The only thing I was ever told I didn’t want to know if was true or not was “If you miss your curfew by one minute you will not be allowed out of the house until you are on your own!” I believed that until the night before my wedding day.
Crustless Zucchini Enchilada Quiche
Let’s finish up the rest of those summer zucchini with a great healthy dish. I received this recipe from a blog I follow iFoodreal.

1 cup enchilada sauce, I used the entire 10 ounce can because what would I do with 2 ounces
2 large eggs
½ cup egg whites
3 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed of liquid, about 2-3 large
5 corn tortillas, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup Tex Mex cheese
½ cup cilantro
• Preheat oven to 375o.
• Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Add zucchini, enchilada sauce, tortillas, 1 ¼ cup cheese, and cilantro and mix well. Spray a 9 inch baking dish and pour mixture into it. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cheese on top and bake for 40 minutes.
• Let cool a bit before slicing and serving.

61 days and 17.22 lbs till Disney Food & Wine.

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Hatfields and the McCoys

Do you think it’s bad to give blood because you get a $50 gift card? I do but I did it; there confessional. I am blessed with type O negative blood, so I am pretty sure I am on speed dial at Red Cross, even though they have calmed down recently on the phone calls after I completed a survey they sent asking if they called too much. Really, do you need to ask? Well, I had given a few weeks ago when my church had a blood drive, but I received an email stating that if I gave again before Sep 1, I would receive a $50 gift card. Would I have given again without that incentive? I would like to say yes, but I usually only give when they come to our church, and I had to go to a church in Chapin to get in under the wire, so the true answer is, probably not. Ashamed but not disgraced. I am going back to many years ago when my husband had to have heart surgery in Houston and needed a lot of blood during the surgery. The “finance person” told me the blood alone cost an enormous amount, but if the blood was donated back in his name, insurance would not be billed for any blood donated back. Yes it was insurance, but I called where my husband worked and they quickly organized a blood drive and collected many more units than he was given. My heart was warmed, until my heart froze quicker than Elsa’s all in a matter of less than a minute. I was told in Houston, they didn’t accept blood from Red Cross in South Carolina. After I regained my senses, and asked why without losing it, I was told there was some “bad blood” between the two organizations and it had been going on for years. What were we still living the Hatfield and McCoys? This made no sense, so what does any good girl do; I called my Mama in tears, it had been a trying week anyway. Well bless her soul; she had the entire problem solved by 10 AM the next day. She and Representative Floyd Spence graduated high school together and I went to school with two of his four sons, so she called him at his home that night and told him the situation, then she called Strom Thurmond the next day and explained what was going on to him. The next day, I was thanked for how quick the blood was donated and that portion was completely covered. So yea, I want the $50 gift card.
I enjoyed the cooler weather this past weekend. The rain on Sunday was welcomed and needed. Roomie and I hung around the house and I basically worked, what’s new. We did however make a delicious salad Saturday night for dinner so I am sharing the dressing. I love Caesar Salad, but am a little uneasy about making anything with raw egg at home. I order it at restaurants knowing it has raw egg, but I have someone to pay my medical bills if I get sick from it
Caesar’s Dressing – No Raw Eggs
The only thing we would do different is use less mayonnaise. We both thought it was just a bit to mayoey (made that up and spell check is not happy.) I had anchovy paste at the house so we substituted 1 tsp of paste for each anchovy fillet. Don’t leave the anchovys out, it will have no flavor except mayo.

½ cup mayo (We amended the recipe to use a very full 1/3 cup next time.)
2 ½ Tab fresh lemon juice
2 Tab olive oil
4 to 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets minced (or just use the paste I we did)
2 minced cloves garlic
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt

• Put all ingredients in jar with screw lid, and shake vigorously.

For the true Caesar’s Salad
Romaine lettuce chopped
Croutons
Parmigiano-Reggiano (not out of a green can, the real stuff) grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Roasted chicken (optional)

62 days and 17.22 lbs till Disney Food & Wine.

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Me and God

You may or may not believe in God, but I do and every day I see so many things that remind me he is in control; and then there are all the many things that I miss because I am not paying attention. I like to think I have a “laid-back” relationship with God. I pretty much tell him everything, why not he already knows, but just in case he was busy when I did something really good. I have a feeling I am going to need every check mark beside my name one day I can get. I have been known to question if he is listening when my request aren’t filled quickly or, heaven forbid, at all. I have even quoted Matthew 7: 7-8,”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” to him. Hey he is a busy man an in my defense, it really doesn’t say anything about waiting or how long. I also cry and yell at him and I feel sure he understands and never says something like, “must be that time of month” or “hormones raging.” I have accepted the fact that when I get to the pearly gates I will have some explaining to do; and yes I feel sure I am going to the pearly gates. I have heard people say they have heard God speak to them. That would be awesome and I have even thought about what it would sound like; a deep voice clear voice calling my name. I also realize that it could have happened and I was talking and missed it. So if you don’t believe in God, I am sorry, give it a try, it doesn’t have to be the proper, perfect, or uptight relationship you may think; if so, I am in a lot of trouble. I like to think I give him plenty of laughs daily, probably some of those come in my request, and I know he gives me more than I deserve.
Sometimes when I sit to write my blog, I know exactly where I am going and it is magic, other times I think I know where I am going and it goes into an entirely different direction. I think that would sum up tonight’s blog. I don’t know if there was some “divine” intervention or what, but it is what it is.
Ginger Soy Pork Chops
As my long-time readers know, I don’t grill, outside anyway. I use my indoor grill on my Jenn Air and these work well.

4 – 6 bone in pork chops

Marinade:
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried mustard

• Mix all marinade ingredient’s well. Place pork chops in Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chops. Marinate a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
• Grill on medium to hot heat until done.

66 days and 17.22 lbs till Disney Food & Wine.

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“Shady Pines, Ma”

Let me begin with Es tut mir leid, Je suis désolé, Mi dispiage, Matokeo ya Utafutaji kwa, and sorry. I have been nothing but pure slack and I thank my readers who texted, commented, or Facebooked me to ask of my being MIA. If you can guess the four different languages above, raise your hand; if you guessed one I am impressed. (Answer at the bottom.) No weight loss or gain this week so I guess that is good since I spent a great deal of it on the road. Yesterday I spent all day working in the house then the yard, yeah! When I do something, out of the ordinary for my great mind, or stupid, my kids just look at me and say “Shady Pines, Ma.” Well after working all day yesterday Shady Pines looks pretty darn good to me. I bet not one of them have to do yard work. For anyone born of another planet this is a reference from The Golden Girls. This is one of my daughter’s favorite shows. She has the entire collection and can recite most of them verbatim. The series debuted Sept. 1985 and its show finale was May 1992. Four ladies, Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia lived together in Miami. Here are some interesting facts about the show:
1. Estelle Getty, who played Sophia, in real life, was one year younger than her TV daughter Dorothy.
2. Eagle-eyed fans have noticed over the years that although there were four women living in the house, there were always only three chairs around that famous kitchen table. That was strictly due to the limits of filming—to avoid either squeezing all four shoulder-to-shoulder or having one actress with her back to the camera. Bea was always given the center chair, both because of her height and also in order to catch her priceless facial expressions in reaction to either Blanche’s remembrance of sexual encounters past, Rose’s St. Olaf story, or Sophia’s “Picture it!” monologue.
3. Dorothy’s last name was lifted from Kent Zbornak, who worked as the stage manager for the show for the entire run of the series.
4. Rue McClanahan had a clause written into her contract that she be allowed to keep all of Blanche’s custom-made clothing. She had 13 closets filled with the designer duds in her Sutton Place co-op in Manhattan.
5. Blanche had a different hair style every year of the series.
6. After 10,000 people signed the on-line campaign by the Lego Company the living room and kitchen of the Golden Girls is in the design process of becoming a Lego set.
7. The only member of the show alive today is Betty White.
Now that you are educated on The Golden Girls, it’s good to be back.
Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps
For some reason this recipe ran across my mind last week. I made these often when both children were home because they were healthy and quick. I am so glad I thought of them. I adaptedthis recipe in 15-Minute Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender. I bought the recipe book when the Atkins Diet was all the rage in 2003. I can honestly say I never did the diet and this is the only recipe from this book I think I ever cooked.

Lettuce Wraps
8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ small onion
½ tsp black molasses
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 ½ tsp rice vinegar
Salt/pepper
1 pound ground chicken or turkey, white meat only
½ Tab corn starch
2 Tab water
Romaine lettuce leaves, separated and washed

Asian Dipping Sauce
¼ cup water
2 Tab soy sauce (I used Braggs Liquid Aminos)
2 Tab rice vinegar
2 Tab ketchup
1 Tab lemon juice
¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp chili garlic paste
(1 tsp Thai Garlic Chili Paste)

• Assemble all ingredients for the Asian Dipping Sauce, except the Thai Garlic Chili Paste, and mix well with whisk.
o Here is where I divide the sauce in half and put the very hot and spicy Thai Garlic Chili Paste in one half for roomie. If you remember the extra hot slaw debacle of 3.11.15, I am a bit more careful.
• Set aside.
• Place water chestnuts, mushrooms, and onions in a food processor and pulse just enough to chop everything to a medium consistency, not mush.
• Combine the soy sauce, molasses, garlic, and rice vinegar. Set aside.
• Heat a large skillet over high heat and add chicken, breaking it up as you stir. When meat is about half pink add the chopped vegetables. Stir-fry a few more minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add the seasoning mixture and salt and pepper. Let cook together for a few minutes. Mix the corn starch into the water and stir into the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat.
• To eat, wrap spoonsful of meat mixture in lettuce leaves, and dip into the dipping sauce.
• Warning these are delicious but messy. Forget a napkin; grab the roll of paper towels.

69 days and 17.22 lbs till Disney Food & Wine.
Answers: German . French, Italian . Swahili

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