Tag Archives: food


THIS potato dish is a revelation. 

It takes the humble potato, totally remaining humble, then by its reverent humility manages to unseat almost any other potato in. the. world.


Found it on Pinterest, people.  And here is how they said it:

  1. Boil whole, red potatoes.  About 20 minutes.  Remove from boiling water.
  2. Place in a baking sheet with sides which has been lightly coated with olive-oil.
  3. Smash those semi-soft potatoes with the bottom of a glass.
  4. Now drizzle with a little more olive oil (or melted butter) and sprinkle with salt, pepper and maybe onion powder.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes more.
  6. EAT – scrumptious!!!

You could, I suppose, sprinkle with cheese or a dollop of sour cream, but they are fine just like they are!  The potato “meat” is fluffy and moist and so delish, while, the longer you leave them in the oven (at 425-degrees), the skins and any spreading potato get a little crispy and a sort of astonishingly impossible to resist, yet a humble potato.

It revelates this: the simplest things from the pantry are actually often the most satisfying.

I do believe, and I have believed this for quite sometime now, if a person were on a deserted island with but one choice of food {only ONE} to sustain them until the end of time, while you know my unbridled zeal for the tomato, I would have to go with a potato.  It can be fixed so many ways and over the long haul, given one choice, a potato would probably be the way to go.  I must admit it.

BONUS Tips for these boil-smash-season-bake Potatoes:

I add garlic powder, onion powder (or fresh onions and/or garlic cloves and Kosher salt to the boiling water because the skins will absorb it beautifully just giving another layer of taste.  I also tried sprinkling dill and paprika on this last batch, with of course, Kosher salt and black pepper. You could add Mrs. Dash or parsley – whatever!   Soooooo good.  Yum!

There you have it.  Now run, do not walk, to your nearest grocer and get those potatoes boiling, then smash them, then bake them, then EAT!  :)

Jamie Oliver’s Romantic Notion

When I was a little girl, I hated cooked carrots.  They were the orange, bane-filled mush of my nightmares.  I loved the roast beef and potatoes they usually came with (I have never met a potato I didn’t love), but when my plate got down to the globs of orange, the gagging began.  My parents wouldcoax…or yell at me to eat them.  I’d gag them down, eyes tearing up, gulping big swallows of milk afterwards to try to erase the memory.  I’d lose my breath, I’d hem, I’d haw.  I’d gag some more.

One night, when I was about 8,  the humongous pile of carrots on plate was just sitting there getting cold and I asked to be excused, unable to bear the thought of eating them.  But my dad decreed that I would eat. every. bite.  :)   We all have one of these stories, don’t we?

carrots cooked

I sat and looked at them.  They looked back at me.  I begged them to taste good and somehow just go down.  I’d take a bite and they’d suddenly swell to this huge mouthful of putridness and the yuk would begin and I’d cry, calling out to God to deliver me, help me, pleeeeeeease.  Dinner had started at 5 pm on the dot, like always.  At 9:55 pm, alone in the cold, dark kitchen, with my cold dark plate of carrots – my mom finally released me to go to bed for school.  I hung my head in shame.  I wasn’t being rebellious not eating them, I just really thought they were that horrible.

The Redemption of the Carrot

Fast forward to a snow day when I was 11.  There was nothing to do and so I pulled out the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for Kids, late 1950s edition.  I was determined to cook something for fun.  But we didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the recipes – nothing, except one…carrots.  Cooked carrots.  Because we had the carrots, we had the honey and we had the butter.

Intrigued, I stared at the picture in the cookbook for a long time.  The carrots had been cut into very long, skinny strips, “shoestrings,” and the butter was melting over them all shiny and bright.  I stared and my mouth started to water.  I pondered…I figured I’d give it a go.

My mom came in and asked what I was doing.

“Cooking carrots.”

“You don’t like carrots,” she reminded me.

“I’ll like these, ” I told her, by faith.

So I cut them into shoestrings.  And I simmered them with a teaspoon of raw honey.  Then I plated them in a pretty pile, all the strips going the same direction and put a big pat of butter on them just like the picture, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and ~ GLORIOUS! I loved them.  I understood them, finally.  I got what they were there to give me: nourishment and deliciousness.  They weren’t overcooked and later I learned they were so sweet they didn’t need the honey.  But I fell head-over-heels for my carrots on the spot and my mom was thoroughly nonplussed.

What does this have to do with Jamie Oliver?

jamie oliver with veggies

Well-it’s his zeal.  He believes it needs to start in the home, that the home is where we should begin to pass on cooking again – for the health and welfare of generations to come.  Because the last several generations have increasingly gone to processed, convenience foods and eating out – a lot!  And it is literally killing us,  killing our children.  And he says when you learn to cook it yourself, you love it.

It was true for me.  With carrots, people!

Exponential power to change the future for the next generation is in our hands~ By good-old-fashioned home-cooking!

“Passing it on is a philosophy for me it’s quite romantic, but it’s about: If one person teaches three people how to cook something and they teach three of their mates, that only has to repeat itself 25 times and that’s the whole population of America.

Romantic? Yes, but most importantly it’s about trying to get you to realize that every one of your individual efforts makes a difference.” -Jamie Oliver

So, this is a call-out to the grandmas and grandpas out there and to the mommies and daddies for that matter: drag out the family recipe books, take the kids to the store to buy fresh ingredients, and show them how to cook.

I’m guilty.  I didn’t teach my kids to cook like I should have, but was lucky they are smart enough to have pursued it and are good at it. But it’s not too late and it’s a chance to pass on heritage and family stories, too.

And hey – I like this organization {The Family Dinner Project}, “A start-up grassroots movement of food, fun and conversation about things that matter.”

But we all have to take back our food.  I’m on a kick because of gardening-and eating what you grow…Eat fresh, eat local (when possible – I mean, I have to get my oranges from Florida, people),  and grow your own, as much as possible-try it!

suburban stone age - opt out

My husband was raised on casseroles.  Any meat you could scramble and  stir in some cans of Campbell’s Soup and top with Tater Tots, that was supper.  My family was meat and potatoes.  We had a meat (breaded and fried pork chops or breaded and fried chicken or fried hamburgers) with potatoes (you guessed it-usually fried) and a veggie…out of a can.

Our parents had been sold post-war convenience and were doing the best they could to put healthy meals on the table-quickly .  And by sheer convenience they were less healthy, but the one thing they got right was cooking at home day in and day out, feeding their families meals seasoned with love, and eating around the table nightly, and if you were really blessed: good talk.

Dave and I provided our kids with frozen veggies and thought we were doing pretty well, better.  But we failed with TOO MUCH eating out!  No bueno!

“We’ve got to put back what’s been lost.”  -Jamie Oliver, Ted Talks, Chew on This!

It’s romantic and do-able.  Cooking more at home for life.

Tonight:  Some one is bringing the salad, some one else the soup and yet another, the dessert.  My part:  Italian-bread BLTs (whole grain for those who feel less guilty eating it that way, thought if you’re eating a bunch of bacon, I say: go all in), heavy on the B and the T.  And Bruschetta a la Pomodoro and Chiabatta w/Walnut~Basil Pesto.  All easy.  All garden-fresh.


Pesto to Die For!

I have shared this wonderful tomato story before.  This is love.   :)

An old Italian man lived alone in upstate New York. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vinnie,

I’m pretty upset. It looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. The ground is just too hard. I know if you were here you would dig it for me. Oh well. Maybe in the future.

Love,  Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.

Love,  Vinnie

At 4 am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

You should be able to plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love,  Vinnie


 I LOVE Italian food!

lidia's italy pesto recipe

Scooped from the bottom, the thickest of it.  *Mmmmmmm…..

I made Walnut-Basil Pesto from Lidia’s Italy {{click here}} with fresh, bright green basil from my garden and it is sooooooooooooo good, I could practically eat it with a spoon all by itself.

But instead, I put it on some chicken tenders last night with provolone and it is still making me salivate to think about it.  I also tried spreading some on corn on the cob, and guess what?  YES!  It was so good!

Thanks to Lidia, I now know I can freeze it for later, but then again – I am not sure I will be able to because it is so scrumptious.  It is the taste of pure garlic-infused, sun-powered, tangy chlorophyll.  I threw away the store-bought jar of gray-green pesto from the fridge.  Because it should look as amazing as it tastes and greener than green because it is that fresh.

Coconut Cake {to die for} from a mix

to-die-for coconut cake

The Coconut Cake (actual, shredded coconut is optional, strangely enough).  It is about the cake, people!

#1 Cake:

  • 1 white cake mix (Duncan Hines is the better choice, always), mixed according to boxed instructions with 1 teaspoon coconut extract added

#2 Creamy coconut mixture for slathering:

  • 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1 can Senor Lopez’s Coconut Creme (15 oz.), or any coconut cream found near the drink-mixing (pina colada) supplies

#3 Optional topping (but treat yourself and add it):

  • Toasted shredded coconut sprinkled on top for people who really love their coconut (which leaves out most of my family, tsk).

#4 Rich, delicious icing

  • See below! You’ll be so glad!

Here’s how

Bake the cake in a 9 x 13″ pan according to directions (don’t forget to add that teaspoon of coconut extract to the mix).  While it is baking, stir together the Eagle Brand Milk and the Coconut Creme.

While the cake is still warm from the oven, poke {lots of} holes in it with a butter knife or potato peeler and pour/slather the mixture over the cake to saturate.  Keep back a couple of tablespoons of the mixture to use in the icing (I just don’t scrape the bowl and it gives me enough for my needs).

Let the cake cool completely.  Then use 1 batch of any cream cheese icing recipe with that little milk-creme mixture you reserved and spread over the cake (use the same bowl for the icing, for heaven’s sake).

cocnut cake from a mix

Gavin liked it!  :)

But wait – there’s MORE!  Don’t you want the MOST AMAZING Cream Cheese Icing Recipe EVER, too???

Ok, then I will share it, as well.  I got it off Pinterest.  It is so ridiculously simple and easy you won’t believe it.  It’s called Marshmallow-Cream Cheese Icing.

  • 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese (give it a chance to come close to room temp, as the cake bakes)
  • 1 (7 oz.)  jar of marshmallow cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla.  Or, as I did in this case, 1 teaspoon of, you guessed it – coconut extract!!!

That’s it!  Three ingredients.  It is luscious, delightful, creamy, airy, light and delish!  It is not too sweet and whips up in 2 minutes flat.  SO fast, so perfect!


Now, I also “toasted” about a cup of coconut and sliced almonds in a pat of {real} butter on the stovetop and anyone who wished could sprinkle it atop at serving time.  If you want, though, you may just generously sprinkle the cake top with soft coconut from the bag.  But my son Rocky liked the crunchiness over the uber-creamy, soft cake.  True – it was wonderful.

Pop the iced cake in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  Mmmmmmm.  I don’t even really like cake.  But I love this…it was breakfast!

Quick re-cap

Thank-you, Heather, for sharing your wonderful recipe.  And Stef – I plan to make one for you to celebrate Wryder’s arrival!  xxoo


Wedding pictures!

No, sorry.  I can’t show them.  Tredessa and Ryan are honey-mooning and we have to wait.

But I took a few.

But it was barely any at all.  I cannot believe it.  I am a picture nut.  I must have been busy!  But here is a sneak peek into the final few hours before the I-do’s.”  This is a little of my day…just a few days ago.  Exciting times!

The runner gives good marriage advice.  It was on artists’ canvas and will be stretched for wall art for the newlyweds.

Yes.  I actually grew succulents for the bridal bouquets.  And corsages and boutonnieres.  In my kitchen.  For 2 months.  I am so silly sometimes, huh?

Mia and Mairin are lifelong family-friends.  Their mom, Lisa is my most cherished friend in life.  And out whole family is deeply attached to the whole Bierer family.  They came from Minneapolis and jumped in and relieved me of all stress.  I love them!

At this time I am taking a deep breath of joy.  Looking around, remembering what I forgot and realizing: it doesn’t matter.  My little girl is about to get married.  There is nothing I forgot that even matters at all.  It will be beautiful.

Family China was mixed in with the caterer’s China.  Embroidered dresser scarves from Grandma were mixed with embroidered linens.  Vintage enaml-ware and small antiques adorned tables with dusty-greens in vases (Tredessa is not a big flower girl).  It came together.

Mairin and Mia set the desserts.  I walked up and breathed a sigh of relief.  Had a cake disaster (more on that later).  Smiled.  Put on lip gloss.  And walked in to the church at 4:15, right on time.  Lovely, lovely, lovely day.  Seriously.  Really.  Lovely.

Cooking for Two

Trying to get the hang of it.

Very proud of myself for preparing all sorts of stuff ahead for this week: healthy and delish!  AHEAD!!  We eat out or pick-up TOO much!  Busy life.  Just as I was about to post this healthful factoid, Dave messaged me that he wondered if I would make some fudge…no doubt to go with the giant 3-layer coconut cake on the counter.  Tsk.  I don’t think so.

I figure, according to King Sooper’s deli dept, I just made 7+ side dishes and salads for $25-30 that would have cost me $60-75 through them.  Nice.  That is not even counting keeping my own boiled eggs on hand.  Did you know they sell those?!  Geesh.

Anyhow, I feel accomplished.  Cook once, eat 7: a good thing!

NOTE TO SELF:  Remember to tell Dave not buy so much fruit at once, espcially if he wants fudge. 

In unrelated news: I feel the need, the need for speed

TOP GUN tonight at The Orchard AMC!

Dave wants me to cook or something?!

You know the deli section in a nice supermarket or even a Super Target?

You know where you walk up and there are all sorts of gourmet cheeses and specialty meats and a big glass cooler heaped-full of freshly-made salads? Um, yeah. Dave wants our refrigerator to look like that…all the time.

We are going to try, I guess.  Sort of .  This week.  Today, though, so it will all last all week.  Because we have things going, you know.

He started pulling salads from his 30-year memory bank, “Hey – what was that one salad you made…”  “Remember that one with broccoli…”  I mean, he went back to Kokomo 1981 and right up through the years.  Good grief.

The whole thing poses a two-fold problem:

  1. Dave wants a great big selection he can just try little amounts of here and there.
  2. I cook for crowds.  That is when and how I cook.  I mean, if I am going to make something uber-fab and delicious, then there should be enough to feed the multitudes.  Jesus would not have had to worry about hungry people if I had been around!

So, the theme of the day is tempering.  I must temper my desrie to make the world’s biggest ever, most-fabulous gourmet bacon-gorgonzola red-potato salad (forcing Dave to eat just that every day all day long for the week), with his desire for a thousand choices, many of which we’d end up tossing in a few days.

Here is where I think we are landing: Carole Loftis’ Broccoli Salad (Kokomo, 1981), Three-bean salad (pre-me, ick), Marinated Calamato and Gorgonzola (yum!), Chandra’s Corn and Black Bean Salad with Avocado and Cilantro (2009 was when this entered my repertoire, love it), and chicken salad with grapes and walnus and all that (mid-80s).  To accompany and change up at a moments’ notice: Barilla Corkscrew pasta and Ranch dressing, some provolone and Amablue bleu cheese, an assortment of crackers (Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Pita Chips), olives and pickles, and bacon because-I-am-a-bacon-nut and salami and ham, maybe some thin-sliced turkey.

Fire up the grill nightly for some steak or chops or chicken breast and, hey…hmmmm….this may actually be ok.  I am already thinking of next week: Thai Cucumber Salad, Garlic Sweet Pea Salad, BLT Pasta Salad, Asian Sesame Slaw, Popcorn Salad…

Well, maybe I should just wait to see how this week goes??

images: google


My best stuff

These are the things I cook or bake or make that I get the most positive response from, sort of the foods I have a reputation for.  A list. 


  • Chicken and dumplings  {hands-down favorite}
  • Olive balls
  • Crab Spread with Bookbinder’s Cocktail Sauce
  • Pizza Rolls
  • Mac & Cheese (NOT Kraft!)
  • Garlic-Butter White Sauce Vegetable Lasagna (with meatballs and marinara on the side, of course)
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes  {soooo creamy wonderful!}


  • Spinach-Artichoke Dip with Pita Chips or warm, crunchy tortilla chips
  • Italian Nachos with crispy-fried won-ton chips
  • Green Chile
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Garlic-Cheese Biscuits
  • Cilantro Salsa
  • Chicken Filling for Tacos and Quesadillas


  • Iced tea.  Amber lusciousness.
  • Lemon-Lime Sherbert Punch. The green-glow refreshment.
  • Cucumber Sandwiches (crunchy AND juicy)


  • Chimichangas, Rocky-style
  • Sesame Cabbage Salad
  • Popcorn Salad
  • Lime-Cilantro Slaw


  • Lemon-poppyseed cake
  • Lazy Peach Dessert
  • Old-fashioned Fruit Pizza
  • Strawberry Shortcake 
  • Pumpkin Spice Cake (inventing my own cake flavors is my favorite)
  • Peanut Butter Balls
  • Butter Cookies
  • Sugar Cookies on sticks {they really are as delicious as they look!}
  • Cream Cheese Icing


  • Bacon-Corn Chowder
  • Broccoli-Cheese Soup
  • Potato Soup
  • Runzas (Ok, yes, in Nebraska I referred to these as mystery-meat-sandwiches, but mine are pretty tasty and sometimes called Harvest Burgers or Kraut Burgers here in Colorado, but I still call them Runzas).

Tried once ~ no one ever wanted again:

  • Deep-fried pickles (I liked them)
  • Corned Beef and Cabbage (it was St. Patrick’s Day, we were going to watch “The Quiet Man.”  Who knew?)

Plan to try soon ~ will these make the cut?

  • Crispy Zucchini Chips
  • Zucchini Cakes (like potato cakes, only…)
  • Deep-fried Candy Bars  {OH YES I am going to try these!}

Things I never make anymore, but love and should do again

  • Apple Crisp
  • Cheesecakes {with a “surprise” crust}
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Cream Puffs
  • Filled Savory Puffs
  • Salmon Chowder
  • Shrimp Gumbo
  • Red Beans and Rice

Tredessa has been after me for years now to recipe-ize these things, and many others, for very few of them have a written “recipe.”  So I am trying to do that, including the story of where and from whom I got the recipe and variations she could try.  And it stretches me.  I cook by “sense,” what seems or feels like it will work?  The door is always open for disaster.  Tredessa is meticulous and follows known, tried-and-true procedure with a guarantee of a perfect product.  So in this  particular arena, I guess I am pretty brave.  Haha.  But it all goes with my philosophy about food in general:

If you use ingredients you adore, in almost any combination, they will be scrumptious!

Tell me your best recipe that should become a favorite of mine!!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Get three recipes to Dessa this week!

google images shown

Black Coffee and Pumpkin Butter

Breakfast.  The most important meal of the day.

Joe brought me a present from his beautiful wife and my sweet sister-in-law (aka: Robin – sister of my heart) when we met in Springfield a few weeks ago.  She made me some perfectly earthy cinnamon and all the spices of autumn-seasoned pumpkin butter, beautifully presented in a prismed  jar.  She also sent some of her delicately tangy and ambrosial apple-pear jam.

Breakfast.  The most scrumptious meal of the day.

I brought them home and showed them off under the pretense of sharing, but I hide them in the refrigerator, moving them frequently, so that on early, dark  mornings I can toast some thick slices of multi-grain bread and have one of each: apple-pear jam and pumpkin butter (with real butter, of course…does that go without saying?).  And my black coffee.  My very dark, very strong black coffee.

Black coffee.

In my soul, I am Julie London and this is how I sing about black coffee (and anything I am really into).  Yeah.  That’s right, I am this passionate about black coffee.

A good start to my morning…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Call Robin because I am almost out of my delicate, almost-floral bread spreads.

Cheater Chile Rellenos

When you gotta have them.

I have grown the most gorgeous Poblano (Ancho) Chiles this year.  I neeeeeded Chile Rellenos for dinner, but it was late and I hadn’t roasted the peppers and removed the blistered skin or prepared homemade green chile with which to smother them.  I hadn’t found the perfect batter recipe, delicate and crispy, but strong enough to hold the gooey, hot, cheesy filling.  Ill-prepared, yes.  But more determined than ever, yes! yes! yes!

So here is what I did.

  1. I cut the stems off and removed the seed head.
  2. I threw them in the microwave to “blister” them, soften the peppers (5-6 minutes).
  3. Then I stuffed them with Monterey Jack cheese and wrapped them in an egg roll wrapper (8 oz. will fill about 6 chiles).
  4. Placed them in the skillet in hot oil just until they just golden-browned (less than 5 minutes total, turning once).
  5. Had Dave pick up a quart of green chile at Santiago’s on his way home.


Zero to dinner in 15 minutes flat, and Oh, baby – yummmmmmmmm

It is a cheat, but egg roll wrappers are egg-based much like relleno batter and even Italian pasta.  And it works.  And it is good.  And I have lots more Poblanos, thank-You, Jesus!

No picture: It was so good I ate them without remembering to take a picture.  Too bad.