It finally feels right! 

I think I finally found the perfect solution for this blog.  (Shameless promotion of my Etsy  Store )

Please don’t get me wrong, I still love food, drink, and all things travel.  It just didn’t feel right to blog about them.  I hated the time it took away from my adventures and husband (the brief time he is home).  I felt guilty if I didn’t post.  Hated that I felt that way.  But, now that I FINALLY listened to those in my close circle and opened the Etsy store and started brushing the dust off my beloved materials; it feels right!  I blog now to share what I really want to, not what I thought I wanted to.  I LOVE to TALK to people about food.  I have a hard time conveying my passion for food in the written word.  My art work can speak for itself.

So, I’m sorry that you followed this “food and travel” blog only now to have it shift gears.  I can’t promise that I will be strictly sharing my creations in this space. After all, travel greatly shapes our creative spirit.  I brought home a lot of it from Cabo on my recent trip there.  Made earrings because of it.  Matter of fact, several projects have been started because of my travels to Cabo. Travel= inspiration !

I hope you guys stay with me on this new journey of mine.  If you don’t I completely understand! You can’t say I didn’t warn you though…. I wasn’t kidding about the “Crazy Life” part 😜 !  Hope everyone has a blessed weekend!  Back to the studio for me.

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We call it “My Seven Layer Salad”

We call it “My Seven Layer Salad”

But oddly enough, I don’t layer it, and I’m not sure there are seven layers in it anymore.  Growing up, I had eaten this salad many times.  However, it WAS layered and beautiful to look at.  Seven layers of lettuce, celery, onion, bell pepper, frozen peas, dressing, and bacon bits all served up in a glass dish.  It was a beauty to behold and so crisp and fresh. With the advent of summer we have had our first few salads of the year. And with each one we remark how delicious and satisfying it is.

Had another one this afternoon and there is something about it.  Not sure what it is.  My daughter says it’s the dressing.  (which very little of is needed). But maybe it’s everything else we have added/subtracted from the original.    My “Seven Layer Salad” looks much different from its inspiration salad. As much as I like the flavor of bell peppers, they don’t like me.  My husband doesn’t like peas so they only party on my plate. and other ingredients have found their way into the mix.  I don’t layer it anymore due to the different taste of each family member… the dressing however, is constant on all plates.  And even the dressing is different from the “original”.  Very similar, but different enough.

For this summer tradition we gather:

  • greens romaine lettuce and spinach are our go-to
  • thick slices of deli meat and cheese that we cut into chunks smoked turkey, smoked ham, baby swiss*
  • boiled egg
  • carrots
  • mushrooms
  • red onions
  • green onions
  • grilled corn (cut off cob and chilled)
  • celery
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • french fried onions (instead of croutons for an extra added crunch and saltiness)

*You can go to your grocer’s deli and request the deli meats sliced thick.  Tell them roughly 3/4″.  At my store I can request they use the #10 setting. You’ll want close to a pound of meats and half a pound of baby swiss.

The dressing:

  • 3/4 cup Mayo
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • juice of a half lemon
  • a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • cracked black pepper

The measurements for the dressing ingredients are WAGs.  I honestly don’t measure out these ingredients.  It isn’t baking, where measurements are exact.  It’s a make-til-ya-like-it kinda of dressing.  I like a nice thick, loaded with tons of cheese, kinda of dressing.  The flavor resembles a Caesar dressing.  It is sooooooooooo very good.  I use very little of it on my salad.  The flavors in the salad alone are enough to carry it, but the salad wouldn’t be the same without it.

Hope you like it as much as we do.

Enjoy y’all

Chocolate Sauce for Whomp Doughnuts

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My darling husband introduced me to this chocolate sauce.  Now, growing up I had eaten “homemade” doughnuts before.  Not the “let them rise for hours” variety, but the whomp kind.  You know, the whomp biscuit kind.  The kind that comes out of the cardboard tube that you have to whomp on the counter-to open and then fry in hot grease. But this isn’t about the biscuits parading around as doughnuts. This is about the sauce, the dark, warm, and dreadfully easy to make chocolate sauce.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • a good healthy dollop of creamy peanut butter

Put everything in a  pot and heat until the sugar is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Now as is, this sauce is homespun goodness and perfect over the whomp biscuits doughnuts.  It’s a good base to take in many directions.  You just need to keep in mind that it gets fudgy and thick as it cools.  You will also want to be sure to have at least a gallon of milk handy.  It screams for milk!

WARNING: This breakfast will be sure to induce what we call a sugar coma. Do not consume on a morning where you have an active day planned. Your desire to do anything will be completely sapped. 

This has become tradition on camp outs and special occasion days, or often served for breakfast after a slumber party. Father’s Day is coming up, I see this in our future! Nothing else like it.

Enjoy y’all.

It’s all about the pot

It’s all about the pot

I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, but it’s true!  It’s all about the pot, when you’re talking about boils.  I have seen photos of people cooking their boils inside on the stove and I cringe.  Now, don’t get me wrong, that method cooks the ingredients.  However, I can cook a steak by throwing into a raging fire.  The meat will be done, but I sure as heck won’t want to eat it.  When comes down to it, let’s be blunt, the right pot is important!

For starters, it is impossible to generate enough heat on a cook-top stove.  Yes, you can get large amounts of water to boil but the mass of what is going to be cooked in that pot requires more heat than a standard stove top can offer.  You must break out a mega burner (54,000 BTU type burner).  With a big ol’ pot, somewhere in the 40 quart plus range.  Be sure that it has a removable basket and a lid.  You’ll want that!   When I use the 40 quart pot I can feed roughly 4-15 people.  If you are feeding more than that, either break it up and cook two batches or get a bigger pot.

Secondly, not only is pot important, but what goes in the pot is just a critical.  My family does boils like most southerners do BBQ.  It’s our “thing” and we do several a year.   While water is the cheapest option, it also offers the least amount of flavor.  Cheap beer is my go-to bath for my shrimp along with a crap load of Old Bay Seasoning (I’ve been known to use the whole can) and a few lemons thrown in for good measure.  Now to introduce the rest of the party.

You will need per person

  • 3-4 small red potatoes (I use leftovers for potato salad or smashed roasted potates)
  • hickory smoked sausage (6-8 inch link)
  • 1 FRESH ear of corn broken in half
  • 1/3 pound shrimp

If you so desire, you can also use/add snow crab legs, or mud-bugs.  Crab legs are usually frozen and just need to be heated up in boil.  I have been known to cook them as a second batch after the basket has been dumped on the table.

Now for the fun stuff!  Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.  This is an outside activity and having everything at the ready just makes it easier.  Including your butter and cocktail sauce (we treat them special too but that is another post).   Now remember from science class this thing called displacement.  That’s a thing that is pretty important.  Only fill your pot about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way up with beer (I usually use a case and top it off with a bit of water to get it to the right level)  if you put too much liquid in the pot, it will overflow, that is bad! You don’t want that!  Go ahead and throw in the lemons and Old Bay, (make sure the the basket is already in the pot before you throw the lemons in)  The longest part of this process is waiting for the initial boil.  Once your pot has reached a ROLLING BOIL it’s time to start adding stuff to the pot.

Rolling Boil reached:

(lift the basket out of the pot when you first add ingredients to avoid getting splashed with boiling liquid)

  • add potatoes and sausage     cover and wait for boil to return 
  • boil for 10 minutes
  • add corn     cover again
  • boil for 5 minutes
  • add shrimp replace the lid again
  • cook for 3-5 minutes  The shrimp are cooked when they turn pink.
  • It is critical that you don’t turn down the heat on the burner.  You want it to return the pot to a boil as fast as possible.  This is why indoor cooking methods aren’t the best.  The total cooking time should take about 25 minutes (allowing for the pot to reheat to a boil between each addition).  The sausage, potatoes and corn are pretty forgiving if the timing isn’t right.  The shrimp on the other hand, once they turn pink STOP and DUMP! 

For the love of all good tasting things, once the shrimp turn pink you’re finished!  Remove the basket from the boiling water and dump it out on a table covered with newspaper.  I honestly don’t know a better way to serve it.  I’ve never eaten one any other way. If you have extra crab now is the time to let them heat up.  It only takes a few minutes.  No need to cook it to death.  Just heat it up.  Overcooked crab and shrimp are tough and the shells are difficult to remove.

Enjoy y’all!