Simple advice for a better life.

taxas-caviar-22This is a very simple, light, refreshing, and colorful party salad.
I received many compliments from my guests, especially the ladies, at our Super Bowl Party last year.   This vinaigrette also makes a great dish for office parties, barbecues, baby showers, and it is admired by my vegetarian friends.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black eyed peas – drained
  • 1 can shoepeg corn – drained
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. diced cilantro
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 red pepper- diced
  • 1/2 green pepper – diced
  • 1 stalk celery – diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives or scallions

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium size bowl , and mix together.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, so the flavors blend well.

This recipe makes 5 cups of  refreshing vinaigrette salad, to complement other party foods on the menu.

Tip.  I prefer to rinse the beans and corn, in a colander under running cold water (for a fresher look), instead of just draining them.

Pork goulash on Spätzle

Creative Commons License photo credit: WordRidden

One of my husband’s favorite meals is Beef/Veal Goulash, served with garlic butter mashed potatoes.  I love cooking, but I really do not like to spend a lot of my time in the kitchen, so my pressure cooker comes in handy for this recipe, since it takes only 17 minutes to cook this meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef for stew
  • 1 lb. veal for stew
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 8 allspice corns
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 cups water (or enough to extend 2 inches above the top of the meat)

Directions:

  1. Heat cooker and add oil.
  2. Brown the meat.
  3. Season the meat with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Add onions and saute until golden.
  5. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  6. Add allspice corns, bay leaf, and water.
  7. Secure lid per manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Bring to pressure.
  9. Set your alarm for 15 minutes, from the time the steam begins to escape from the cooker.
  10. Remove from heat and let the pressure drop at its own accord.
  11. Once the pressure valve has dropped, release any remaining steam by turning the dial on the cooker’s lid.
  12. Remove the cover.
  13. Remove and discard the bay leaf, and allspice corns.
  14. Thicken the goulash with a home made brown gravy, or your favorite flavor of McCormick’s gravy mix.
  15. Bring it to boil, and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Beef/Veal Goulash may also be served over pasta, or rice.  Add a bowl of tossed salad, warm garlic bread, and a glass of water, to this dish, and your family will enjoy a nutritious meal, even on a busy week day.

Sometimes I add sauteed mushrooms and ½ cup of sour cream, to this recipe, and turn it into Beef Stroganoff.

A Woman’s Week at the Gym

smile

Creative Commons License photo credit: chelsea(:

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to exercise regularly, but it is only a little over three weeks into the New Year, yet you already are saying: “what was I thinking…..”.

You need to take a break from your regular routine, read this post, and have a good laugh, because laughter is the best medicine, burns up calories, and firms up muscles.

A WOMAN’S WEEK AT THE GYM

Dear Diary,

For my birthday this year, my daughter (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.

Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My daughter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
_______________________________
MONDAY:
Started my day at 6:00 a.m.  Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She is something of a Greek goddess – with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!

Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
________________________________
TUESDAY:
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda’s rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! It’s a whole new life for me.
_______________________________
WEDNESDAY:
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn’t try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other stuff too.
_______________________________
THURSDAY:
Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn’t help being a half an hour late – it took me that long to tie my shoes.

Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. She sent another skinny “friend” to find me.

Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing machine — which I sank.
_______________________________
FRIDAY:
I hate that “skinny” Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world.  Skinny, anemic, anorexic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it.

Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don’t have any triceps! And if you don’t want dents in the floor, don’t hand me the darn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn’t it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
________________________________
SATURDAY:
Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.
________________________________
SUNDAY:
I’m having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my daughter (the little instigator) will choose a gift for me that is fun — like a root canal or a hysterectomy.
I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Even though I was an avid soccer mom for many years, my family enjoys watching football, and I prepare lots of tasty snacks during football season. Pizza and chicken wings are always on the menu, but Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip is a must. It is a delicious, quick, and very easy to make dish, and you never have to worry about storing left overs, since there won’t be any.

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
  • 1 cup Ranch Dressing
  • ½ cup Hot Sauce
  • 1 ½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 350˚ F.
  2. Combine the shredded chicken breast and hot sauce.
  3. Add the softened cream cheese, Ranch Dressing, and Cheddar Cheese.
  4. Mix all ingredients until blended.
  5. Pour into a casserole dish.
  6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until boiling.

Serve warm with carrots, celery, or crackers.

This is also a great dish for office parties. My favorite hot sauce for this recipe, is Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, and my chosen cracker to use, is Nabisco’s Triscuit Whole Wheat Original Cracker.

This dip freezes well!  I make a double batch, and freeze half of it for a rainy day, for unexpected company. Just reheat it in a microwave, and serve.

For ladies night out, I use Light Ranch Dressing, Fat Free Cream Cheese, and Low Fat Cheddar Cheese.

photo by: jasonlam

Mrs. Z’s Deviled Eggs

deviled-eggs2If you like deviled eggs, you will agree that every cook has his/her own special touch in making them.  The main recipe is basically always the same, but everyone adds something extra to make it their own. This particular recipe was created by me personally, and the men in our family enjoy these Deviled Eggs very much.

Ingredients:

  • 8 extra large eggs
  • 2 ½ Tbs. Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Deli Style Mustard
  • 1 ½ Tbs. Claussen Pickles, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp. Claussen Pickle juice
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Put the eggs in a pot of cold water.
  2. Bring to boil, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the water.
  4. Crack each egg shells with a spoon, and cover with cold water until eggs cool off (this helps the peel to come off with ease).
  5. Peel the eggs, and rinse off (in case there are any remaining shell pieces).
  6. Cut eggs in half lengthwise.
  7. Scoop out the yolks into a bowl, and lay the hauled out egg white halves on a serving platter.
  8. Press the yolks through a sieve, by using a spoon and a sweeping motion.
  9. Add the remaining ingredients
  10. Mix well
  11. Fill a cake decorating bag fitted with your favorite tip, with the yolk mixture.
  12. Fill the hauled out egg whites halves.
  13. Sprinkle with Paprika (optional)
  14. Decorate with Parsley, Celery, or Dill leaves (optional).

Any leftover Deviled Eggs are a wonderful snack the next day, or served for breakfast.

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