Makin Grammie Proud!

Food, Garden and family

Travel To Cuba minus the passport and embargo stuff.

So when I was 9 may Dad married a woman from Cuba. She  made many things I turned my nose up to. (I was a very picky eater now I am just a semi picky eater) One of my fav things she made was  Black beans and rice. Until then all beans I had eaten were in chili or in a can of refried and all my rice was topped with butter.  Hey i was 9.  So I have asked her and some cuban friends of hers  and I never really got a for sure recipe. So here is what I have come up with .

1 bag of black beans soaked drained and cooked or 2 big ol cans of black beans if you can afford that type of thing.

One whole onion diced

as well as one green bell pepper diced too.

3 garlic cloves minced or pressed thru a garlic press.

2 TBS of vinegar white is ok but cider is better.

1tbs of sugar

3 tbs of Ketchup… don’t question just do it.

a big palmful of ground cumin and another of dried oregano.

2 cups of chicken or veggie stock. .

*Start 2 cups of rice cooking is a steamer or pan according to your rice package directions.

so  get a pot probably a large one and add some oil to the bottom saute up the onion and bell pepper for a few min then add the garlic. Dont burn it.  keep it going till onions are soft  add the herbs and stir it up. add the beans back in with the chicken stock sugar, vinegar and ketchup. Let this simmer for a while. I think mine went for like 30 min in all. I also did a couple smashes with my tater masher  to thicken up the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Viola yummy-ness.

In our home we lie to have pork with this meal. If  you want that too i would suggest cutting up a few pork chops into bite size pieces and pan cooking them up while the beans are simmering. To make it even better marinate them in some kind of store bought marinade about an hour before you cook them.  orrrrrrrr Mojo…. google it mah freeeen. Add the pork to the cooked beans.

serve it with rice in the bottom of the bowl then top with beans and maybe some fried plantains on the side. Soooo good I cannot wait to eat my leftovers.


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sourdough quickie.

So I bought a sourdough starter from etsy last week and i am just starting to rehydrate it and get it working cant wait to show you all. I also cant wait to make all kinds of yummies with it. YAY!!!!

I hope you all had a beautiful Easter.


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Simply simple Whole wheat bread.

I am a big fan of the whole grain bread that has all the nuts and stuff in it.  husband and kids however would be happy with plain old wonder bread. So i try to compromise and try to make really soft whole wheat breads. I am learning as I go. My loaves started off short and dense. very crumby and kind of tasteless.

Now days I have learned a few tricks to making whole wheat breads. My biggest trick is this little thing called “Vital wheat Gluten”  it is a natural product sold in a bag or box about the size of a powderd sugar box.  A small amount of this stuff packs a huge punch! For my standard loaf I use just two TBS.  i have also found that buying the cheapest whole wheat flour doesnt work for my family. I like the King aurthur brand whole wheat cause it is very very ground. My guys are fussy about stuff sometimes. I am too its just I am the one cooking so i make things i like. LOL anyways below is my standard whole wheat recipe.


1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup

2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup bread or AP flour

1 packet (2 and a half TSP.) active dry yeast.

1/4 cup nonfat dried milk

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 TBS of vital wheat gluten. Yes you are adding gluten… I aint no hippie dippie gluten free freak. LOL JK. ADD IT or you will end up with  WHOLE WHEAT BRICK.

First get your warm water in your bowl  with your sweetener. I prefer the Molasses. mix it up a little bit.  then add your yeast and let those guys get going for about 5-10 min.  After that  put every thing else in your bowl.  mix it up till it pulls away from you bowl. then turn it out and knead it by hand for 6-8 minutes then let it rise in a warm place for 50 min… OOOOOOOR put all this mess in your bread machine bowl and set it to the dough method like i do.  1.5 hours later boom dough.  I punch mine down and let it  rise again in a greased bread pan for 30 min.

Pop that baby in the oven for 20 min at 350. When the timer dings tent your bread with foil and let it bake another 15 min. The tent prevents the crust for turning to brown and hard. When that timer rings take your bread out of the pan and on to a wire rack. While it is still smokin hot you want to coat the crust in soething to keep it tender as well. I like to use butter, just rub the stick all over it but…. my expanding waistline says i need to cut back soooo lowfat milk will do the same. Just brush the whole loaf while it is still hot with  the milk and let it cool.  AT LEAST 30 MIN!!! this is key. Your bread will colapse if you dont give it time.  I promise.

Let me know if you guys use this recipe or any ideas you think would make it better. This is  a simple starter recipe you can  add nuts… go all whole wheat flour, use honey.   Whatever you think.


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My pot of posole

Ok so you make it in a slow cooker so it isnt really a pot but…YUM I could eat bowls of this stuff for weeks. I got a new slow cooker for my birthday since I murdered my old one  ( on accident). I ❤ My friend Kim.


1-2 lbs boneless pork shoulder ( I used already cut up pork stew meat)
1Tbs cooking oil
1 medium red or green sweet pepper cut into1/2 in pieces
1 medium tomato chopped ( I am lazy i used 1 can of diced tomatos)
1/2 cup of chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 14.5 oz cans of golden Hominy drained
1 4oz can of diced green chilies
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano crushed
2 14 oz cans of chicken broth ( I used one whole box which is 32oz but eh it wasnt to much more)
Tortilla chips, mexican cheese (the big round white thing not the kraft cheese blend), Lime wedges and chopped cilantro are optional but I highly recommend them. YUM.

1. trim the fat from the meat and cut the meat in to 1 in ch cubes. In a e skillet brown the pork half at a time drain off the fat.
2. transfer the pork to your  slow cooker. Add sweet pepper, onion, tomato, garlic, hominy, chile peppers, chili powder and oregano and then pour the broth over all of that.
3. cover; cook on low setting for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

when it is done put some in a bowl squeeze some lime juice on add some cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro and mmmmmmmm you will be in heaven.


PS sorry it has been so long. Things have been crazy here and we have been living off of processed yuck. back to the grind though and back in the kitchen i go.


cluck cluck yum

So in my kitchen there are usually 2 main meats, boneless skin less chicken breasts and beef of one form or another. usually ground. We also like pork but it is maybe once a week.  so being that we are between paychecks again i am working on making meals again with what we have here at home. scrounging thru the freezer i found some ground chicken… ” hmm what can i do with this? not enough for burgers for the family it is only a pound… hmmm.” then it clicked I saw rachel ray do a recipe with ground chicken on a rerun the other day. chicken parm meatballs mmmmm. So here it is.


1 lb of ground chicken

1 box of frozen spinach thawed and well drained. ( really well drained. Wring it out in a towel)

1/2 cup of bread crumbs ( I used panko because that is what I had.)

1/4 cup of milk

1/2cup shredded parm cheese

1 egg

1 clove of garlic minced

1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 onion ( for grating)

3Tbs tomato paste divided

Salt and pepper to taste

preheat your oven to 400 and like a cookie sheet/ baking sheet with parchment paper.

“Place chicken and spinach in bowl. Grate 1 clove of garlic into bowl or finely chop and add garlic. Grate 3-4 tablespoons of onion directly into bowl. Combine 1/2 cup of cheese and breadcrumbs with nutmeg and barely moisten with milk, no more than 1/4 cup. Sprinkle the bread-cheese mixture into chicken then add egg, parsley, salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons tomato paste.

Combine 1 tablespoon of tomato paste with 1 tablespoon EVOO in small bowl. Mix and combine the chicken with breadcrumbs and section the meatball mix into quarters. Then roll 3 large balls from each section. Arrange balls on baking sheet as you work. Using a pastry brush, brush meatballs with tomato paste and oil mixture and roast for 18-20 minutes”


We ate ours with jarred sauce and whole wheat noodles. This is the full recipe if you want it. ( It was delicious. I am serious. My son had fun mixing the meat and he ate like 4 meatballs.  YOWZA!!!


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Best dang bread EVER!

Ok so in the 2 years i have had this bread machine i have tried many ( and by many i mean hundreds.) of bread recipes.  None of which have fit me perfectly. I  mean they were ok and edible and all but nothing like this one. yes I know it doesn’t use whole grains.. and yes I know  it has milk and butter and salt and… yeah i know… but that is why it doesn’t taste like a brick of cardboard. I don’t know about you but i hate cardboard with my grilled cheese or turkey club BLAH! so here it is.

It is actually very very simple. I used this recipe from king Arthur’s flour company ( I made a few changes to mine. Just a couple don’t freak out.

For large (1 1/2lb.- 2lb.) machine
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup lukewarm milk

ok 1st big switch up.

I used buttermilk powder here.( Because I was out of milk yesterday. It is easy to use but you can sub real buttermilk too just use and equal amount of buttermilk. I highly suggest using buttermilk if you can. YUM.

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour

2nd switch up

Here I used all bread flour. But hey  whatever you have I guess.
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast ( I used bread machine yeast whatever)

So the recipe on the web site says to do the whole thing in your bread machine.. I didn’t I put my machine on the dough cycle and plopped the finished dough in my standard bread pan ( greased a little) and let it rise for 45 more min in a warm spot.  then i tossed it in to  350 DEGREE oven and baked for 35 min.  when it is done  take it out of the pan and let it cool for AT LEAST 30 min but if you are like me  30 min will be all you can wait.


The king Arthur’s web site is chock-a-block full recipes. Plus I like their product.  No need to thank me for this one by the way. Your smiles say so much.



This hams for you

So i made my first easter ham this past sunday. Husband and sons said it was the best ham they had ever had. MMMM. Here is my glaze recipe

1 cup Dr pepper

1 cup dark brown sugar

4 tbs orange juice ( dont use concentrate it makes it taste funny. we like floridas natural)

4 tps of mustard ( i used yellow cause that is what i had but you can use dijon too)

get all your stuff in a pan and heat it in med hi heat till it bubbles. stay near this cause it will burn and that is yucky. when bubble-ige occurs turn you heat down to med low and let it simmer till it get syrupy. let it cool.

when you ham is about 1/2 done cooking brush this some on and recover. I mean like paint it on. but only like 1/3 of it. It will be good.  when the ham is all done right when you take this baby out of your oven pain it again with another third of the glaze and let the ham rest for 30-40 min.  serve the rest of the glaze in a bowl and the table for  drizzling over the ham if you want this was divine.

i have a pic but i have to upload them I will update this as soon as i do I just really wanted to get this all out to you before i forgot. 🙂  next stop lasagna Town…. who’s with meh?



rice rice baby…

So after i failed with my fried rice the other night i reached out for help. Luckily i went to school with a  lot of  Asians. My Good friend Kim came to my rescue.


Kim : so what question did u have for me

Me: i was trying to remember… did you say you make fried rice for your husband and he likes it?

Kim: yeah

Kim : he likes white jasmine rice too but he has to eat it with a side dish like chicken and brocolli

Me: so do you have a fried rice recipe? i tried to make it tonight and failed baaaaaad

Kim : yeah i have a fried rice recipe

Kim: what did u put in it?

Me: rice lol

Me: egg, carrots and peas and soy sauce

Me : that was it

Kim: sounds like all the ingredients are good

Me: yeah i think my technique is nad

Me: bad

Kim: it’s the order that you cook it in

Me: see

Kim: i’m not a big fan of soggy fried rice or even dried fried rice so i make it my way

Kim: first you gotta make the eggs like you’re making scrambled eggs

Kim: i put green onions and seasonings in my scrambled eggs

Kim: then i cook the eggs just enough so it’s not watery. i put in next the chinese sausage if you have any then i throw in the peas and carrots frozen or thawed

Me: can i sub sausage for shrimp? I have some frozen ones already cooked

Kim: yeah if you have raw shrimp, cook it first with garlic then push the ingredients to the side or take it out if you don’t have a big wok then put enough oil to brown some minced garlic

Me: i dont have a wok i have to use a frying pan

Kim : ok then take the eggs, peas and carrots, and shrimp out and set aside

Me: ok

Kim : so once you sautee the garlic where’s it just turns brown

Kim : throw in the cooked rice you use fresh cooked rice, make sure you didn’t cook the rice too soft and don’t stir the rice too much or you’ll get soggy rice

Kim : just kind of fold it to slightly coat it with the garlic and oil

Kim: if you use cold rice or day old rice, you’ll have to break the rice up some more fried rice is best made with cold rice or day old rice cause you don’t have to be so gentle with it

Me: ok

Me: I am not gentle

Kim : lol

Kim : once you stir the rice enough where you see it separated and not in chunks anymore you can throw in your other ingredients

Kim : and mix it again. Season it with some pepper and then start putting in the soy sauce

Kim : oh you can use the soy sauce to help break up the rice too if you have day old rice or if the fresh cooked rice is having a hard time separating

Kim : there’s no set amount on soy sauce, just put in a little at a time till it suits your taste

Me: I am gettign hungry again

Me: lol

Kim : the key with fried rice is being gentle and not pushing the ingredients together

Kim : mix gently

Me: i did that today i was rushing

Kim : if you follow my recipe it shouldn’t take you longer than 20 minutes to make it

Kim : i don’t put a lot of seasoning in my fried rice because i don’t like it overseasoned since my Monte always ends up putting more soy sauce or sriracha on his fried rice anyways

Kim : i’m gonna make fried rice tomorrow for the kids cause i have left over rice


Me: i am so hunrgy now

Kim : if you have hard time separating the rice, you can always just put in a cup or two of rice at a time like i did until i got myself a big wok

Kim : talking about food making me hungry too


After all that we talked about snuggies and i wont embarrass Kim by letting the world know what she said… LOL She did after all help me out with the rice.

I love you Kim Thanks for the help.


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more on bread machines

My mom asked for a vid of me using my bread machine but for some reason i am not very photogenic lately so i haven’t made one yet.  I will though. maybe… one day. soon.

Until then here is and awesome lady i found on youtube makin some yummy blueberry cinnamon bread in her machine.  She is so smart.

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two quick things for today.

1. I Dont care how much you have a hankering for stuffing, DO NOT MAKE THE MICROWAVE KIND. Much less eat it.  It will not  cure that craving and ugh… it is nasty.

2. Woot! I just read some awesome stuff in coffee ground and my garden. YAY!  Its good cause i have a ton. we drink a lot of coffee.

That’s all for today. Husband and i have a fundraiser to attend tonight.  Oooh fancy I know.