Friday, September 30, 2016


The Monday Giraffe Kitchen at SDP is closed for a while, until I get this Achilles tendon issue sorted out.  Can't drive down (of course, it's the right foot!!)  Can't climb the hill to the house. Can't stand for long periods of time.  Definitely cannot walk back DOWN the hill to the car and then drive home!!  Just thinking about that makes my ankle hurt...

update: 8/31/16:  Slowly weaning off the cast.  Heading back to physical therapy.  Missing my puppies!!!  I'm hoping to have this all sorted out in eight weeks.  I HAVE learned patience this year:  achilles + cellulitis, followed by some issues stemming from intolerance of the antibiotics, followed by cellulitis, a rebound on the achilles and yet ANOTHER case of cellulitis. At least my vocabulary is improving from all the reading I've been doing!!  This year has been one for the books - in more ways than one.....

update: 10/1/16.  I've now been dealing with this for nine months.  ^$#$^&%$!!!  Making progress with the help of PT Heidi.  Out of the cast (mostly) except when the muscles begin to tire - no pain while in the cast as the tendon is not sliding over that sharp spur on the bone.  Heidi is convinced that I've been shifting my weight to the right foot to compensate for the pain I deal with in the left due to my lymphedema.  So we're working on walking, gait, foot placement as well as stretching, balance, and flexibility.  Still walking ONLY on level ground - which is why the farm is still out of reach at the moment.  Beginning to use the cycle to build up strength in the quads and hamstrings.  Increased pool workouts.  This month's goal is to build "standing endurance" in that tendon with attention to  not re-injuring it with the spur.   And so it goes.

update:  10/17/16.  Away from my PT for 2 weeks with a log list of homework to do on my own!! Every day I increase my heel raises and toe raises by 1.  Am also doing stairs "like a big girl" (albeit hanging onto the railing for dear life!). More pool walking. Increased tread water time this week to 20 minutes or 500 reps, whichever comes first (more next week).  Adding in treadmill walking every other day and recumbent bike - add 1/8 mile each time to walking and 30 seconds each time to bike. Add vertical time. Doc is still talking surgery and I am still telling him what to do with that idea. (Yes, I can be a real bee-yatch about this - but with lymphedema, ain't NO ONE cutting into my legs. I have enough problems already...) I WILL DO THIS!!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Chicken Lombardy

Mom used to make a dish similar to this.  I'm still trying to figure out what else she put in there - funny how the taste you "remember" is always different, isn't it?

Chicken Lombardy

8 oz package(s) sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoon(s) butter melted
6 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup(s) butter
3/4 cup(s) marsala
1/2 cup(s) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/8 teaspoon(s) pepper
1/2 cup(s) shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 cup(s) parmesan cheese
2 green onions chopped

Procedure:Cook mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or just until tender. Remove from heat; set aside.

Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/8 inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Cook chicken in batches, in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Place chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish, overlapping edges. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and butter. Reserving pan drippings in skillet. Sprinkle mushrooms evenly over chicken.

Add wine and broth to skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Combine cheeses and green onions; sprinkle over chicken.

Bake uncovered, at 450 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes until cheese melts

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pimento Cheese

Being the daughter of a true Southern girl, I grew up on pimento-cheese sandwiches.  Yeah, all the kids at school thought it was weird - but New Jersey just doesn't understand the impact of a good pimento cheese sandwich!  When I'm home from work sick, this is one of the comfort foods I turn to.  Mom's recipe was pretty simple - run a block of Longhorn colby and a jar of drained pimientos through the food grinder, add S/P, mayo and stir.   And since I've been on my own, I'm always willing to try a new version.   I have to admit - THIS one I found recently is really good.  So, make up a pitcher of sweet tea, grab some crackers or some decent bread, put some blues or Dixieland on in the background, and transport yourself to a simpler time.

Tupelo Honey CafĂ©’s Pimento Cheese

(Makes 2 cups)

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. stone-ground mustard
1 tsp. mustard powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
½ cup finely diced roasted red bell pepper
Tortilla chips for serving

Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, stone-ground mustard, mustard powder, salt, pepper, parsley, and roasted bell peppers in a large bowl. Transfer to a microwavable dish and microwave for about 20 seconds or until warm, or put in a baking dish in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve with tortilla chips.

Cauliflower Pizza Bites

I thought I was so clever substituting steamed and mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes!!  And then I saw these on my news feed and HAD to try them!   (Hey! Pizza!!!!!  No carb pizza!!!!!!!)

Cauliflower Pizza Bites


1 large head cauliflower
2 large eggs
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp. garlic powder
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. marinara
1/4 c. mini pepperoni

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Grate cauliflower on the small side of box grater to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add egg, 1/3 mozzarella, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons basil, and garlic powder and season with salt and pepper. 

Form into small patties (they will be wet) and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake until golden, 20 minutes.
Top each cauli patty with a thin layer of marinara, remaining mozz, and mini pepperoni and bake until cheese melts and pepperoni crisps, 5 to 7 minutes more.
Garnish with remaining basil and serve.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Lazy Slob Swedish Meatballs

Because today I AM a lazy slob!!  But, hey!!  I voted!!  Never saw so many candidates for governor in all the years I've been here!!  And by the way, man on motorbike who hasn't taken a shower in a week - next time you come to a primary to vote, you have to declare D or R.  There's no "Independent" in a primary.  It would have helped the 18 people standing behind you if you actually KNEW who you were going to vote for before you waltzed in the door.  (And believe me, standing behind you while you argued with the poll official was PAINFUL!!)

Came home and got these going so I can attend to other stuff - like reading the new Harry Potter book!!!

Lazy Slob Swedish Meatballs 

(also known as "my mother would not approve of these")

Mix this all together:
1 can beef broth no or low sodium (or 1 pt water with 1 T better than boullon low sodium)
1 packet dry onion soup mix (why you want the low sodium!!)
2 T A1 steak sauce
1 can golden mushroom soup (or cream of mushroom) low sodium

Add in a 2 lb bag frozen meatballs (NOT the Italian kind - look for plain or Swedish on the package)
Stir to coat meatballs.

Cook on high 3-5 hours (or low 6-8)

Cook your noodles.

While noodles are cooking, stir 1 cup of sour cream into the meatballs and TURN THE COOKER OFF.  ("Cooked" sour cream curdles very quickly).

Drain the noodles.  Pile them on a platter and top with the meatball mixture.

If you're feeling virtuous, cook another vegetable.  Or not.

(If you use these for a party appetizer, keep the slow cooker on the lowest possible setting to keep the meatballs warm but not curdle the sour cream.)

If you want - you can also add 1 T of Worcestershire to the sauce.  And some dill, if you like the flavor.

Back to Harry........

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bacon Jam

OK - I'm intrigued - I have to make this!!  Along with some apple butter - I think this is going to be on my Christmas gift-giving list this year!!!!

Bacon Jam

2 hours to prepare, serves 8
Print Save

1 pound thickly sliced bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2/3 cup coffee
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until browned and almost crispy.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, then add onion to skillet and sauté over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until caramelized.
Add garlic and season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Stir in coffee, water, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar, honey and butter, then season with chili powder and cinnamon.
Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently (and scraping browned bits off the bottom of the skillet), for 3-4 minutes.
Return bacon to pan and cook for 1-2 hours over low heat, or until thickened.
Once thickened, place “jam” in food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.
Let cool and store in air-tight jars. Enjoy!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Crack Corn

Since I learned how to husk corn in the microwave, I'm enjoying corn on the cob more.  I remember husking hundreds of ears when on my uncle's farm when I was a kid.  My hands were sore for days!!!  Maybe that's why I dislike husking corn so much!!!!

Crack Corn

(I don't believe this is the "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care" corn of the song!!!  Who cares?? Yummy stuff!)

6 ears corn, husked
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. melted butter
Lime wedges, for squeezing

Heat grill to high. Oil grates and add corn. Grill, turning, 5 minutes.
Baste, while grilling, until totally slathered in crack sauce and grill until charred and tender, 5 minutes more.
Squeeze with lime and serve. 

(Or if you're too "lazy" to husk the corn (like me) - do the microwave-husk method (put the whole ear in and cook for several minutes, slice off the stem end of the corn, grasp the silks and husky and squeeze the ear out the cut end) - and then do a fast grill with the crack sauce.)