Monday, September 29, 2014

New Mexico Pinon Coffee Chocolate Cake

We recently returned from a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico and I could go on and on for days about how much I love that place.  I tell my husband it must be because it's stimulating to all of the senses.  From the flavors of spicy green chiles, the sight of the rustic adobe architecture, the sound of the church bells ringing at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi to the scent of pinon wood burning in fireplaces all over town.  The pinon tree is the State Tree of New Mexico, commonly found in the high desert landscape.  Not only does burning wood have an intoxicating smell unique to the area, but the roasted nuts of the tree are used in all kinds of cooking.  My nephew loves the Pinon Coffee, which is a blend of roasted coffee and roasted pine nuts.  It has a rich, nutty flavor.  In rush to get to the airport, he wound up with some ground coffee when what he really wanted was whole bean.  I said I would take the ground coffee home with me, because the flavor would be a delightful addition to my baking.  And that's how New Mexico Pinon Coffee Chocolate Cake was born.
A dark, moist chocolate cake with a hint
of rich, nutty Pinon Coffee flavor.
Let cakes cool before adding glaze.
You won't believe how moist this cake is.
It doesn't even need the glaze, but we
love the extra touch of Pinon Coffee flavor!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Green Chile Mashed Potatoes

In a previous life, I think I was from Hatch, New Mexico.  I LOVE green chiles!  Green Chile Stew is my signature dish.  Well my husband would stake his claim to that dish too, but I'll go ahead and take credit for the development of that recipe.  Green Chiles add a wonderful flavor to any dish.  They can be spicy, but there is a mild variety too.  That's usually what you see canned at the grocery store.  If you get the opportunity to buy them fresh and have them roasted, that is a special treat.  Not only are they wonderful in soups and stews, you can add them to almost anything, including potatoes or scrambled eggs.  Pretty much anywhere you would use a bell pepper, especially in casseroles.  Think of it as a bell pepper that went on vacation in the Southwest.  These mashed potatoes make a rich, delicious side dish, perfect alongside the Mexican Roast.  They are creamy, cheesy and green chile-y.  And oh so good!
Look at that fluffy pile of mashed potato goodness!
The Green Chile Mashed Potato Line-Up
Boil the peeled and cubed potatoes until tender.
Mash with milk and butter.  (If you don't have a
hand masher, you REALLY need to get one.  It is
not that much effort to mash the potatoes by hand.
I find if I use an electric mixer, the potatoes get
too sticky and starchy.)
Add the cheese...
And the green chiles.
Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
Now you can die happy. 
You've had Green Chile Mashed Potatoes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Oatmeal

I love my slow cooker.  And I love breakfast.  Well I love to eat breakfast.  Waking up to cook it, not so much.  My nephew came to visit from out of town recently and he was leaving early for a long drive home.  I wanted to send him off full of breakfast without staying up all night to make it.  This oatmeal was the perfect solution.  It just takes a few ingredients, cooks all night while you get your beauty sleep, and is warm and hearty enough to fill you the next morning.
The Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Oatmeal Line-Up
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl combine oatmeal and water.
Add salt.
Toss apples in brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. 
(I used granny smith apples because
I think they hold up well to cooking.)
Place apple mixture in bottom of slow cooker.
Pour oatmeal mixture over apples. 
Do not stir.  Cover and
cook on LOW overnight.
You're all ready for breakfast
when you wake up!  Serve with
milk and additional brown sugar. 
My husband said he would have preferred
the apples to be diced up so he got some with
every bite.  I might try that next time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Congratulations On Your New Home Gift

My BFF just bought a new home!  It's so exciting to watch the transformation, and see all of the fun paint colors she picked out for the walls.  As we all know, moving is very stressful and a lot of hard work.  We've been best friends since the sixth grade, so once she's all settled in and content with her decor of course I'll be getting her a real "house warming" gift.  But in the meantime, she's been working day and night moving out of the old house and into the new house.  And I figured she deserved a little break and a little fun.  So I took this treat over as a reminder that she deserved to take a break from all of the moving work.  She may have to sit in a lawn chair to enjoy the beer, while she waits on the moving truck to bring the couch.  That's okay as long as she remembers to take a little break from all of her hard work and enjoy her new digs!  I've included the tag as a free printable at the bottom of the page, so all you'll need to do is grab some beer or a bottle of wine.  And some ribbon and a hammer!  Now you've got a fun gift for a new neighbor or a friend with a new home!

Celebrate your new home...
Click on the tag to enlarge, then right-click save the
image to your computer.  Print the tag using the program
of your choice.  Remember my images are copyrighted, but
I'm sharing this one with your for your personal use only.

Friday, September 5, 2014

EZ Meatball Subs

This is one of those meals I make on nights I don't feel like cooking.  We rarely eat out, so meals like this are our "fast food."  I also like to make these up ahead, and wrap in foil and freeze.  That way the Little Devils have an easy snack or lunch to re-heat in the oven.  Frozen meatballs, pre-made rolls and marinara sauce make this one EZ meal!  It's so easy I'm a little embarrassed to share it.  But I will anyway.  Happy Weekend!
Cheesy.  Crusty.  Meatbally.
The EZ Meatball Sub Party
Combine meatballs and
marinara sauce in a saucepan.
Cover and heat over medium heat
until thawed and hot.
Hollow out the rolls to create
"boats" for the meatballs.
Place on a baking sheet and get ready to fill.
Add meatballs.
Spoon in remaining sauce.
Cover with sliced Provolone cheese.
Broil until cheese melts
and bread is toasty.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Mess Hall Rules

The first fight my husband and I ever had was over a baked potato.  Can you believe that?  A baked potato.   Looking back all these years later, it seems kind of ridiculous but at the time that baked potato was the end of the world!  My husband went to school at a military college and spent some time in the United States Air Force.  He's a pretty regimented guy.  He's also really good at ironing!  Right after we were first married I made a dinner with a baked potato as the side.  So, like anyone else on the planet, I picked up my knife, cut the potato open and proceeded to dress it with butter and sour cream.  That's when Mr. Emily Post spoke up, "You're not supposed to use a knife.  You are supposed to use your fork to open a baked potato."  WHY?  Because that's how they did it in military school.  This led to quite a debate, and I'm sure by the end of it I didn't even want that darned potato.  Now, of course we laugh about it and these days, I would never dream of using my knife to open a baked potato. 
On the same note as my husband's military dining hall rules, did you know that George Washington authored and copied by hand, George Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation?  Some of the rules might be considered outdated, but some are just plain good manners.  Many though, are becoming more and more difficult to find in our modern society.  It might do us all some good to review them, for the good of all and the sake of living together.

Here are a few of these rules as related to food and drink:
(note I typed these EXACTLY as written)
#90     Being Sat at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there's a Necessity for it...

#91     Make no Show of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediniess; cut your Bread with Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.

#92     Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.

#93     Entertaining any one at the table, it is decent to present him with meat; Undertake not to help others undesired by the Master.

#94     If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.

#95     Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.

#96     It's unbecoming to Stoop to one's Meat.  Keep your Fingers clean & when foul wipe them in a Corner of your Table Napkin.

#97     Put not another bite into your Mouth till the former be swallowed let not your Morsels be too big for the jowls.

#98     Drink to nor talk with your maouth full neither Gaze about you while you are Drinking.

#99     Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily.  Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips, breathe not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for it is uncivil.

#100    Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if others do let it be done wt. a Pick Tooth.

#101  Rinse not your Mouth in the Presence of others.

#102  It is out of use to call upon the Company often to Eat, nor need you Drink to others every Time you Drink.

#103  In Company of your Betters be not longer in eating that they are lay not your Arm but arise with only a touch on the edge of the table. 

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