Make a soup from that poor day-old salad. You'll love a warm-up with an un-cold salad! :)

Sad Salad Soup

I was telling a bunch of friends about this soup I made three nights ago. I wanted a health-giving snack just at bedtime. Not fruitcake! (Well, I really did want fruitcake—sighs!) There was a day-old salad in the fridge, but you know how arctic it’s been around here, lately. I did not want something cold to eat to comfort me to bed; I was already cold.

Then I thought of it.

Long ago, when one of my sons married, we had grilled chicken breast and a salad bar for the rehearsal dinner. Not as many family members made it to the dinner as had been planned and we had bags and bags of mixed greens left over, along with all the sliced and chopped veggies that usually occur on a salad bar. Plus the chicken. Lots of it.

So I decided to try something I’d read about somewhere, long ago:

Sad Salad Soup.

Turn your cold old salad into a lovely hot lunch!It is a British thing, I think I remember, and not really so very complicated. You just cook your salad and it becomes a lovely, warm meal.

So I mixed all those bags of salad and dishes of chopped veggies and then added the grilled chicken, which I had cubed, and a lot of water and a bit of seasoning, and ended up with 15 quarts of really amazing soup.

Which I then canned.

We loved it! The kids loved it! I could not believe it! Fifteen times, in the dead of winter, we had this lovely homemade soup for lunch. It was such a joy!

So, the other night, I mixed that sad salad with a bit of chicken broth I had, and added onion, a dab of mushrooms, and some herbs and spices and simmered it until all was soft and I was shocked at how good it smelled and tasted. How warm it was! How comforting and filling! How health-giving!

So let me tell you what it’s like, so you will believe me.

You know how carrots, beans, corn, etc., are when they are in soup or cooked alone. You may not know cooked lettuce will pass for cooked cabbage in a soup—milder, but the same idea. Cooked radishes turn out a lot like very mild cooked turnips. My salad that night also had celery in it. That was a great addition.

You probably can guess that this is not going to be a really real recipe. It’s a chance for you to be creative! Just toss the salad into a pot, add liquid, and simmer.

But I can tell you what I added to make it marvelous: I browned some onions and mushrooms in butter, a while, before I began, which I am sure added to the flavor. I am really fond of cumin, so I dosed it with that, plus a goodly amount of powdered cayenne and black pepper. Did I toss in a dried basil leaf? I think so… I almost forgot to add salt. Do use a bit of salt.

You can see, I am sure, how the options are endless. If I’d had some cauliflower and broccoli, I’d have added that, too. If I’d had left over cooked green beans, they’d have gone in, along with their broth. I actually had saved the broth from some creamed corn, for such a time as this, and it was a perfect addition.

In the end, I created two servings of very lovely soup, which I ate all gone!

I am so sorry I did not get a photo of it for you! I was thinking with my tummy that night! And I was cold!

Warm up a cold day by turning your salad into a soup!However, as I said, I shared this experience with some friends and one of them had some lettuce that had gotten way too cold in the car after shopping. (It’s cold out there, folks!) So we discussed it and she made her soup (which her children loved—it cannot be coincidence!) and sent me a photo of HER soup. Not only that, but she graciously gave me total free permission to give you a peek at her soup! I am so thankful, but she is thankful, too, at being able to save that poor frost-bitten bag of salad. So, the soup you see on this post is hers, not mine. (Thank you, Heather!) And she ingeniously added a side of udon. Mmm!

If I could throw a soup together after only reading about it, and if she could do the same thing after only hearing about it, I KNOW you can do this, too!

It is so fun!

Have some fun!

And share with us how yours turns out!

Rosemary Pound Cake Recipe photo

My Big, Beautiful, Rosemary Pound Cake!

It’s finally happened. I’ve let myself get talked into sharing this amazing recipe I only had in my head.

I had the rudiments of it on paper, but it was inadequate. You know. Lots of things I did differently than the person who shared her own version of it. Lots of changes I made, if I remembered. Lots of special things I made sure of, that no one could have known by reading the recipe.

Rosemary and me…

Cozy up with something warm to drink and let me tell you all about it!

Is rosemary the world’s most favored herb? I don’t know; maybe not. However, it is one of my faves, and in my cooking adventures it shines like a star. I love it so much, I grow my own so never to be without.

If you were to visit my herb gardens, you’d notice two robust rosmarinus bushes (alba and sativa) both in easy reach. I like to think they are hefty branches to guard the doors to my kitchen, but really they mostly supervise the frolics of the latest kittens.

They say the size of a rosemary bush carries great significance. Supposedly it indicates the strength of the woman in her home.

I’m not sure about that, either.

I have landscaped around my house with the useful, herbal plants, for over 20 years. My gardens have varied from move to move. There was the glorious stand of dill in a raised bed. For my birthday, once, a son helped me set in a semi-circular hedge of 70 lavender plants. And when we spent a short time in Mississippi, I created an entire enclosed convent garden featuring a beautiful nighttime white-garden section. (That one did let a few non-herbals in for the sake of the flutter-byes.)

But the four-inch diameter twisted trunk of the rosemary right by my back door remains my favorite expression of my love for herbs: Always at hand. Shelter to cats. Exuberant. Generous. What more could an herb lover desire in a true friend?

Rosemary in the kitchen…

We eat lots of Italian food; that is an understatement, really. However, even when we cook something as simple as a pot roast, or baked chicken, a lot of rosemary goes in. It’s the natural additive, here, to the point that when my son’s friends thought the lavender cookies I had sent him smelled like pizza, he just chuckled, knowingly.

How few guess the redolent education that is inherent to owning rosemary!

Now. It’s not as though a cookie with rosemary could not be astonishing in its goodness, but today, we are going to make a cake, a simple pound cake, and we’re going to make it astonishing. So read on . . .

Rosemary in a cake?

I’ve mumbled and fumbled my way through many a delicious pound-cake recipe, including this one, and the variations I offer here I have acquired on the journey. I lost the original recipe, even, and have had to concoct this current iteration from memory and by refashioning a few I had lying around.

Funny, it turns out to be the best. I think you’ll like the results.

In my opinion, there is nothing in the kitchen that compares to creating this cake. The satisfaction is complete.

Noticing recipes for cakes with a sugar crust built in to the pan coating, I dared myself to try it. Using butter instead of shortening or oil would surely add perfection to the immaculate flavor of a fresh pound cake. Doting on its plainness, I realized it would play well with a hint of rosemary and the playwright in me took flight.

This cake is not hard, at all and it will leave you speechless.

My first attempt was not impressive. The recipe I used to build this project had faults. I do not appreciate that when it happens.

  • First, there was nothing in the recipe about the absolute importance of having all ingredients at room temperature. I’m telling you now; it’s absolutely important if you want the ingredients to mix well, and if you want a high cake with delicate crumb.
  • Next, the oven time was simply wrong. I kept checking and checking until I thought surely it was burned up, but no. I’ve corrected the time, now, realizing any cake this full of goodness would need at least 75 minutes to reach perfection. Also, I devised a method for you to know if your cake is done (toothpicks and such just do not work) and I’ll explain that soon.
  • Finally, the directions were not explicit enough and I actually made it wrong on the first try. It did make a cake, but I had a time keeping it all on the counter, at one point. (Sort of a Julia Child moment, that.) I’ve fixed it so you cannot make the mistake I made and you can thank me later.

So the first one fell just a smidgen—it came out of the oven too soon, I am sure, and there was that episode all over the counter…. It was scrumptious and everyone loved it—especially the slightly-fallen-cake-lovers—but I was not proud.

I might be a bit too proud, now.

However, this cake is a hit everywhere it goes, its lovers stealing extra pieces to take home for seconds the next day, then later confessing and offering huge compliments to get back into my good graces. So I’ll make one again, soon?

I just laugh—it’s a life!

And now is the time to make this darling, since rosemary is blooming right now and that’s the best time to harvest, so here goes!

(Oh, and you’ll need a stand mixer and a Bundt pan or other tube pan.)

That Scrumptious Pound Cake.

For the Crust. (Have ALL at room temperature):

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) (Should be almost soft enough to shed oils.)
1 cup sugar (approximately)
the leaves from two 5” sprigs of fresh rosemary, rinsed well, and DRIED


For the cake. Have ALL at room temperature. I’m not kidding:

A mixture of 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, poured into 1-cup liquid measure with milk added to fill the cup. This mixture will be divided, later.
1 ½ cup butter, not margarine (3 sticks)
5 large eggs
3 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon soda
3 ¼ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon vanilla


For the glaze (optional). Have ALL at room temperature:

1 small can frozen orange juice concentrate
½ cup powered sugar


First: Prepare pan.
Slather butter thickly over all interior pan surfaces. The goal is to create a surface to which the rosemary leaves and sugar can stick. Do not ignore the hollow core part of the pan.
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves randomly over the butter. They will stick pretty well if the butter is very slicky-soft.
Over that pour about 2 Tablespoons at a time of sugar into the pan and twirl it around gently, to spread sugar all over, trying to keep leaves in place. If one or two rosemary leaves dislodge, it is okay.
Continue adding small amounts of sugar and spreading until absolutely no more sugar will stick. May take even more than a cup; that is fine. Set aside in a cool place such as an unheated room, or near a window, but not the fridge.


Second: Prepare the batter. (Pre-heat oven, now, to 350 degrees.)
Milk and vinegar should be well-combined, and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add sugar, gradually, until all is incorporated, beating until fluffy after each addition.

Add eggs to butter, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Stir and divide milk/vinegar mixture, putting half into a 2-cup bowl. (The 2-cup bowl is mandatory.)

In a small dish, combine baking soda with one tablespoon of water, stirring well, then add to the ½ cup milk in bowl. Stir well. This will gradually foam up to about one-cup size or more, so watch it, being ready to place a plate under the bowl, if needed.
Add vanilla and mix well.

Beginning with the flour (!) add flour to egg/sugar mixture, ½ cup at a time, alternating with the soda/milk mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition until soda/milk is gone, continuing with the rest of the milk/vinegar mixture until all is mixed in (beginning and ending with flour!) Beat very well, until completely incorporated, after each addition.

Ease batter into prepared Bundt pan or tube pan, using a large spoon to place batter directly into bottom of pan, and not disturb sugar/rosemary coating. Place pan in middle of oven in all directions. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes.)

The test for doneness is to notice that the top of the batter will crack part-way through the baking. When the raw dough that is revealed in these cracks, begins to brown, the cake is done, especially if the cake is pulling from the sides of the pan. See photo:

Rosemary cake, showing baking step: checking for doneness.

This cake is beginning to brown inside the cracked places and to separate from the pan, indicating doneness.

Cool cake for ten minutes, in pan. Turn onto plate to finish cooling.


Mix orange juice concentrate with powdered sugar to desired consistency and serve as topping for cake, if desired.

Rosemary cake with glaze ready to eat!

You can thank me now! 🙂

Delicious catfish dinner

On Top of NOT Spaghetti!

Where I guest post about another of my silly home-made recipes that I love…

If you’re interested in catfish, at all, but resent firing up the huge fryer thing.

Or if you are looking for yet another low-carb recipe.

Or if you are totally bored with the usual and just want something different.

And delicious!

Head on over to the Arkansas Women Bloggers page and check out my latest guest post there, where they are so generous to allow me to contribute sometimes.

You will find precise instructions for a dish I mentioned once on this site, and love to use to surprise people’s taste buds. In that one, I used swai, but in the new one, I’m going with catfish because I like it better, by far.

You’re welcome! ❤

 

Apple Pie Recipe

Polly’s Apple Pie

Not for the novice cook. 😦 Sorry.

Polly was the mother of one of our dearest friends. She lived a life punctuated with fabulous sugary creations. We have found we need to eliminate lots of purely sugary downloads, but I make exceptions for Thanksgiving or very special company.

This pie is one of the exceptions. The secrets to it are: real butter, too much sugar, and the baking time and temp. The bottom crust will be a bit difficult to manage, but you will NOT care.

I promise.

Every “Pie Day” I wish I’d written this apple pie recipe to share. So here we are, at 3/14/16 (pi, rounded) and it’s no use; I never have.

The trouble is, I don’t have a recipe.

But if you are experienced enough at cooking pies, you can make sense of this recipe, I am sure.

Polly’s Apple Pie!

Set oven for 325 degrees.

2 pie crusts made with egg, butter, and vinegar
One deep-dish pie plate made of glass.
1, 3-pound bag of good cooking apples
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional—I don’t)
1 stick real butter
small amount of additional sugar (optional—I do)

  1. Roll bottom crust and place into large, glass, deep-dish pie plate.
  2. Do NOT peel apples. Wash, core, and slice as thinly as possible (about 20-24 slices per apple, at least.)
  3. Mix apples with sugar and pack as many as possible into bottom crust. You may have to rearrange them to make them all fit. It’s worth it.
  4. Cut butter into fat slices and arrange over apple slices.
  5. Roll top crust and vent many times. Apply to pie and seal carefully.
  6. Spritz top with water and sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. (Yes, one and a half hours.) Do not place anything under the pie for catching spills. It will spill over, probably, but it’s worth it. It caramelizes. You will not believe this pie and will gain a new respect for an oven with a spill in it. I promise.

Okay, friends, this is the secret to the most amazing apple pie you ever, ever ate:

  1. Real butter.
  2. Too much sugar
  3. Bake in glass plate at 325 for one and a half hours

Even apple-pie-disdainers love this one.

Come back this fall, and I’ll add a better photo. 🙂

Hot chili with egg

Second Place Chili Recipe!

Almost winning a chili contest. Yikes!

My son wanted to enter a guys-only, chili-making contest, and asked me to teach him how to make a pot of chili.

So I did. This is my favorite recipe, and I promise I only told him what to do—I did not touch it, the entire process.

Smoky, hot, and red throughout I love it, even for breakfast with an egg on top. Oh MY!

And among a city-wide field of about 15 entrants, he won second place. Yay! (First place tasted like spaghetti, so…)

I thought you’d like the recipe. It’s involved, but we do love it. Here goes:

Second Place Chili

3 strips bacon, cut up
1 whole onion, chopped
2 pounds lean ground beef (93/7)
1/4 cup chili powder
2 quarts canned whole tomatoes
4 cups cooked cannellini beans and broth
3 cups cooked hominy, drained
1 small can tomato paste
1/4 cup catsup (optional)
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)

Fry bacon in large soup pot on medium, until crisp. remove from grease and save. Add onion and ground beef to bacon drippings and fry, stirring, on medium until both are somewhat browned. Add chili powder. Stir well and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Add all vegetables, including tomato paste. Stir well and simmer for one half hour. Add catsup and Worcestershire, if desired. (I used to add this, but we’ve grown to prefer it without, these days.) Stir in pepper at the last minute. Top with the fried bacon and serve with dill pickles spears, cornbread, sliced cheese, and sour cream.

Serves six.

What about it—do you like black pepper in your chili?

What to Do When Your Child Won't Eat, How to Make a Child Eat

Kid Hacks: 6 Helps When a Child Won’t Eat

Eating hindered by milk?You know one.

Or you’ve seen one.

Maybe you have one, or even were one.

It’s such a challenge to the mom, to get good, health-giving food down into picky tummies.

You wonder if this child will be damaged by such a bland diet as potatoes and milk, the only two foods he really likes.

You wonder, also; over and over—what to do, what to do.

So, here we go, The Answers You Need:

1. Is this child around four years old?

The child walking through his fourth year is typically not growing much. You know: growth spurts. We think he’s not growing because he refuses to eat, but it’s the other way around. The fourth year is tough on kids. They don’t grow, they suffer emotional fears and imagined rejections. And someone is always chasing them with more food!

The solution I’ve found very helpful is to put only one bite of everything offered at the meal on the child’s plate, and require cleaning his plate. After that allow whatever seconds he prefers. Also, keep the drink cup out of reach to be handed to him for sips, to prevent what my mom used to call “drinking your meal”.
In this way,
—the tiny bit he does eat will have some balance to it
—drinks will be used to fill gaps in the tummy after a bit of yummy solids are in place, first.

2. Is this child lacking vitamins?

Well, of course, probably, right? The thing you might not know, though, Mom, is that as a child’s digestion slows, so does the amount of nutrients in his body. But then, oh bummers, there are certain nutrients which actually boost a person’s appetite. So we find it a vicious cycle that not eating diminishes nutrition, which diminishes appetite.

The obvious solution, once you think of it, is some fun, mild vitamin made especially for kids. I’d hop on that at once, if I had a low volume/picky eater.

3. Next, have you spoiled his appetite?

What to Do When Your Child Won't Eat. How to Overcome a Picky Eater.Ooh, I do not like this question, either! However, when hunger strikes, a child can be so dramatic and we let the drama push us around. We hand off a graham cracker or something to pacify this emotional child, which makes him not hungry at mealtime, which makes him hungry before the next meal, which . . .

Solution? Okay, so just don’t allow snacking. My mom used to tell me that her mom used to tell her to take a big drink of water and put out the fire. This dilutes stomach acid, truly quenching that burning feeling we so glibly call “starving!”. So the child is hydrated but still able to summon hunger when the meal is served.

4. No offense, but really, is the food good?

If it’s not home cookin’, that could be half the problem. All that stuff we buy in a box and nuke, like Jane Jetson, isn’t really food. Oh, it says on the label that it’s food, but if we read closely, we see that probably all the non-pronounceables in the package also add some sort of flavor. The microwave definitely does something to texture, believe me. We’ve been lied to, but children are experts at sniffing out fakes . . .

For a lovely solution, try cooking, once, to see if that fixes the problem. Add a pinch of salt, and maybe a slight slick of real butter. You might be surprised!

5. Even better yet, teach your child to cook.

Cooking the food transfers pride of ownership and true appreciation to the child’s heart. I remember when our daughter prepared her first, ever, entire meal. We sat down to eat and she told me, “Now I know, Mom, why at every meal you always say, ‘It feels so good to sit down.'” Ah, the sweet sound of appreciation! And attention to the duty of complimenting the cook by eating!

Letting the child cook or even help cook is its own solution.

6. Meal planning!

The child who is taught, not only to cook, but also to meal-plan with good nutrition education in mind, will become more adventurous in food choices and acceptance, by nature. An amazing government document entitled Nutritive Value of Food is available as a pdf and allows easy research for a balanced diet, including recommended daily minimums.

I have found it a constant. It is such a joy that when a child discovers, for himself, that a food has nutritive value. He becomes more dedicated to liking it. Yes, that slight attitude change can make that much difference, enough to be a solution to it all.

Okay, there you have it!

I’ve tried all six of these tacks with my little (and not-so-little) picky ones and they all have learned to cook real food and to love when someone else does. They like almost all foods and even know how to take the “one bite” (from when they were four, haha) to show politeness. Hope you find something in this to help you down the road to raising better eaters, too!

Oh, and please add to these ideas for all of us, in the comments below, if you want! Thanks!

Tomatoes. Wow. Not.

No tomatoes

Peppers, yes.

This year, it seems either you HAVE enough tomatoes, thank you…

…or else you don’t.

This year, we don’t. We planted 40 Bradleys and Brandywines and got about ten quarts of tomato juice, total.

She sighs.

However, she DOES have tomato recipes and for those of you who have been blessed, she is willing to share and bless you even more!

Have fun! And use the contact page to let her know if you need more recipes, because, unlike the tomatoes, she does have more recipes. Ha.

So here goes!

FIVE CUP VEGETABLE SALAD

1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup Italian dressing

Stir and serve cold. Some like it better the second day.

ro-nO-TELl

Into each pint jar, place:

1 whole jalapeno
1 pinch rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. salt

Fill each jar, then, with blanched and peeled tomatoes.
Apply hot flat and screw band.
Pressure can at 5 lbs. of pressure for 10 minutes.

MY SPAGHETTI SAUCE

2 T. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 c. raw sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, pressed (or 4) (or 6 or 10)
1 t. powdered cayenne

Cook, stirring, on medium-high until meat is done and crumbly, mushrooms are dark brown, and onion is soft.

Add and stir:

3 T. dried Italian herb mix

Add and stir thoroughly, mashing tomatoes. Simmer for ½ hour:

1 quart canned tomatoes (or about fifteen medium peeled tomatoes)
1 small can tomato paste

Add and stir:

¼ c. Worcestershire sauce
½ c. catsup
several drops of liquid smoke

Add while stirring thoroughly:

2 T. cornstarch mixed with ½ c. water or tomato juice

Continue simmering until sauce thickens. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

TOMATO BREAD

Warm:

2 ¼ c. tomato juice (OR whiz enough whole tomatoes, skin and all, to make that amount)
¼ c. tomato sauce
2 T. butter

Stir into and mix well:

3 c. white flour
1 pkg. yeast
3 T. sugar
1 t. salt

Add and knead:
3 ½ c. – 4 c. more flour

Let rise twice and bake in 2 regular size, greased loaf pans at 375 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Divine for grilled cheese sandwiches!

Okay, that’s all. Love y’all. You can thank me now. 😉