Thursday, December 20, 2018

Enchiladas with a Cowboy Spice Company Zing!

Enchiladas are not as intimidating as they may seem. I use Cowboy Spice Company's Sweet Heat and it makes them off the chart tasty and just the perfect heat. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Eggnog Cocktails

You know you want a reason to drink eggnog, but you know it's just so naughty. What if it were a cocktail and it was double naughty? Now, it tis the season!

First, let's see how you make homemade eggnog - 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Candied Walnuts: A Holiday Treat

Candied walnuts. These are great snacks, but also amazing to put on salads. It's that time of year when adding dried cranberries, apples, bleu cheese, and nuts to salads are ideal! Here's a simple way to make have fun candied walnuts -

Place about a cup of walnuts, 1/4 c. sugar or brown sugar or maple syrup and a tablespoon of butter into a pan and stir and heat for five minutes over medium heat.

Use these in salads, atop a pie or cookies, in a yogurt parfait, mixed with candied popcorn for movie snacking, in chicken salad... anywhere you'd put walnuts.

Themed Christmas Cookie Gifts

It's easy to make an assortment of cookies, put them on a plate and give them to your friends and neighbors, but it says something special and unique when you pick a theme and do the plate based on it. 

Here's just some years' worth of cookie themes I've done in the past - 

Bag of coffee, homemade donut holes

Hot cocoa mix, plastic spoons I filled with melted chocolate or white chocolate or peanut butter and mini marshmallows for stirring, hot cocoa cookies. 

Fudge squares, a few different flavors, stacked up in a Chinese food takeout container.

Chai Tea Eggnog cookies and chai tea bags.

Ginger cookies, ginger tea and candied ginger.

Homemade biscotti and coffee.

Rum balls and a couple tiny bottles of rum. 

Some potential themes; coffee, tea, hot cocoa, marshmallows, lemon, cranberry, chocolate, candy, peppermint, eggnog.

I'd highly suggest you consider a jerky utilizing any of the amazing spice mixes from Cowboy Spice Company. 

Whisk Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, honey, and any of the Cowboy Spice Company mixes together in a bowl. Put beef slices in it and turn to coat. Marinate 3-4 hours in fridge or overnight.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with tin foil and put a rack atop it.
Transfer beef to paper towels to dry. Toss out marinade. 
Sprinkle with more seasoning.
Bake beef in the preheated oven until dry and leathery, 3 to 4 hours.

Another thoughtful way to give them is to buy the multipacks of refrigerator plastic containers that are cheap. They can reuse these if they like. If you want something special, go to a place like Oriental Trading Company online where they sell things like Chinese to-go containers and tins, tiny boxes, etc, at very great prices!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Christmas Fudges

I am going to share some Christmas fudges I like to make. 

My favorite candy in all the world is Mrs. See's butterscotch squares. They are like brown sugar squares dipped into chocolate and they have that granular feel like brown sugar. I found a recipe that imitates it well and that's my favorite, but like most fudges, you might want to use a thermometer to get it cooked precisely the right temperature to set.

This candy cane one is surprisingly addictive.

This chocolate peanut butter one involves no thermometer, turns out perfect every time. It could not be any easier.

Friday, November 16, 2018


My father was born Sten Thorvaldsen. When his dad moved them to America, they changed their name to Day and over time, people assumed Sten was short for Stanley and so he sort of adopted the name by accident. He insisted we have a Smorgasbord/Julbord each Christmas Eve and to this day the memories of it sing to my 75% Scandinavian DNA and the other 15% UK/Scots-Irish. Here's some things you might find on a Christmas Eve Julbord -

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Winter Ice-Themed Party

An ice-themed party can be a total blast. You just have to think more creatively. Here's some tips that might make your party THE event each winter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Cowboy Spice Company at Traders Village Event!

Cowboy Spice Company will be in Space 241 at the Traders Village at the Houston General Go Texan Committee Championship Chili Cookoff on Saturday November 17, 2018. 

Come to the booth and learn more about the best quality spice mixes in the world. Even Four Seasons is using them as their secret weapon

Say hi to Gary Abel, spice connoisseur, who makes spices that take everyone from home cook to hardcore chef with a simple shake of a spice jar.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Healing Chicken Noodle Soup

When my roommate got a head cold, my first thought was healing teas (a post about this coming up) and chicken noodle soup. Here's how I make mine for healing.

Two large cartons of chicken broth, 2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom and herbs or garlic. 4 cloves of garlic minced, 1/2 c. minced fresh parsley, 3 carrots cut in tiny bits, 3 stalks celery cut in tiny bits. Tear apart the meat off a roasted chicken and add. Add 2 tsps of herbs de fines seasoning, salt, pepper. I put this on low for 6-8 hours and then when I'm ready to serve, I add cooked wide egg noodles to it so they don't get mushy from cooking all day in the pot. 

I usually put some of this into single serving containers in the freezer for later. This helps a lot when you make it on the day someone in the family gets sick and freeze the rest for when the others begin to fall ill or you yourself get sick and don't feel like cooking. 

If you want to amp up the sinus clearing qualities, consider adding several dashes of hot sesame oil or some dashes of cayenne and adding even more garlic. I sometimes add some grated ginger root, hot sesame oil and a few dashes of soy sauce - adds an Asian feel to it and really clears the passages.

Parsley: Reduces mucus
Garlic: Antibacterial, antifungal, great for colds
Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, virus killing, great for sore throats.
Cowboy Spice Company Sweet Heat: This seasoning helps open your sinuses and adds a flavor with the chicken that is amazing!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

30 Horror Movies With an Autumn Feel

You know you want it. You've had enough heat and humidity and are glad to be releasing the kids back to school. Now, you're getting that nesting instinct to make soups and chili, sip hot cocoa, watch the leaves turn, and get creeped out by the Halloween season. So, go for it! Get your spook on! 

This bark candy is perfect for movie watching. Take a cookie sheet and lay wax paper down on it. Now, spread out some pretzels, marshmallows, nuts, candy corn, dried fruit, whatever you want! Melt white or semi-sweet chocolate and add some vanilla or peanut butter, and spread atop of the items. Put cookie sheet in fridge until firm. Then break into bark pieces and put in a container.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Arby's Sauce

1 c. ketchup 
2 tsp water
¼ tsp garlic powder 
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp pepper 
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp Tabasco 
**I add 1/2 to 1 tsp of Cowboy Spice Company's Sweet Heat**

Combine and cook over medium to until boils (5-10 mins). Cover and allow to cool. Pour into container. Keeps in fridge 1-2 months.

I use Steak-Ums in the freezer aisle for the meat and you can melt Velveeta and pour on if you like the Arby's roast beef and cheddar.  

This is also great in a crockpot with chicken or pork for pulled sandwiches.

Baking With Leftover Halloween Candy

Assuming you happen to have leftover Halloween candy - take the raw form and turn it into something dessert-happy. Here's the recipes -

Brownie Kisses
1 package fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)
48 striped chocolate kisses
Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for fudge-like brownies. Fill paper-lined miniature muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Immediately top each with a chocolate kiss. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen.

Mounds Candy Bar Brownies
2 Mounds candy bars
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup plain flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Melt candy bars and shortening. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Spread in greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. While warm, cut into bars.

Candy Corn Bark
16 Halloween-colored chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped
1 1/2 cups broken small pretzels
1/3 cup raisins
1 1/2 pounds white chocolate, broken into squares
2 cups candy corn
orange and brown sprinkles
Spread the cookies, pretzels and raisins evenly onto a lightly greased small baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few chunks, and stir until smooth. White chocolate burns easily. Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly. Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Reese's Brownies
Make package brownies per instructions and when you pull them out of the oven, press Reese's into them so one is in each square. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter 7-Layer Bars

1 box Devil’s food cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup coarsely crushed pretzels
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup Reese’s Pieces
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and butter. Stir in the crushed pretzels. Spread the mixture evenly along the bottom of the greased pan and bake for about 8 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the par-baked bars with the peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, Reese’s Pieces and peanuts. Drizzle the top of the bars with the milk. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly, and center is set.
4. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best served within 1-2 days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tornado Brothers Trading Company: My Favorite Home Store!

As I get closer to doing up my own home down the road here, I am considering my surroundings as an expression of not just my taste, but my retreat from the intrusive and overstimulating world.

I came across a great home decor company that I want to promote on here because when I find anything in the realm of the arts that impresses me, I'm a happy camper. 

This time, I came across Tornado Brothers Trading Co.  I'm keeping my eye on their furniture and decor and will be hitting them up big time when I secure the title on the home. 

Here's just some of the reasons why they caught my eye - 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Ghost Cocktail and Ghost Craft

It's that time of the year! I'm going to share some holiday ghostie fun!

Ghost cocktail: 2 parts vodka, 1 part heavy cream, 1 part vanilla simple syrup - shake with ice and strain. Add 2 parts club soda. Take marshmallows and mix green, red and blue food coloring and dip a toothpick into it and make faces on the marshmallows and float. (I used mini marshmallows and flattened them with my thumb)

Cheesecloth ghosts: cheesecloth, drinking glasses, balloons, black paint, elmer's glue, plastic spoons. 

Put just a puff of breath into a round balloon so it's no bigger than the size of your fist. Tie it off. Set it on top of an empty drinking glass or wine glass. Cover with saran wrap. Dip cheesecloth into a mix of Elmer's glue and water and lightly wring out. Drape it over the balloon/glass. Remember that the ghost when it hardens in a few hours will stand on the hem, so spread the hem around it to make a nice base. If you want to make arms, like the one ghost above, stick a plastic spoon handle into the glass under the balloon and drape fabric over it.

In a few hours when it's firmly dry, paint on the eyes and mouth. 

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Edible Desert

There are edible things in the desert southwest. I thought I'd share a few.

Prickly Pear: On our trek along Historic Route 66, my best friend and I found some great examples of the mix of flavors and ingredients of the Southwest. Prickly pear is one that not a lot of people are aware of. You can actually buy the syrup online and I highly recommend it to give a new twist to drinks and desserts.

Prickly pear is grown on a paddle cactus and often called a nopal or pad. The taste is somewhere between bubble gum and watermelon. It makes an amazing soda or margarita!

Its health benefits are vast and it's actually under investigation for its treatement of diabetes. It is high in fiber, low in calories, with tons of phytonutrients. I have found that a prickly pear margarita is the perfect balance to any southwestern meal.

Mesquite: Mesquite beans found inside the pods off the mesquite tree have been used by Native People for centuries. They are low on the glycemic scale and ideal for grinding into flour. They have been used as an alternative to sweeteners, as well. They are high in magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc and iron. The taste is sweet and piney which teams up well with meats. The pods are roasted and ground and can have a nutty flavor.

More plants to consider - 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Autumn Recipes

It's my time of the year, autumn! I'm going to share a few recipes I love for this time of year. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 c. choc chips
(I like to add a dash of cinnamon/nutmeg to syrup too)

Caramel apple finger pies

You can do this with a regular-sized pie or these muffin tin ones. Simply press a caramel into the apple pie mix.

Grilled cheese sandwiches made with mac and cheese inside, served in shot glasses with tomato soup. Love this one - 

Be sure to take advantage of more fall-like foods such as nuts, grapes, persimmons, pomegranates, squash, root vegetables, apples and pears. 

Herbed Chicken on Mashed Yams

Pretty easy but fancy meal with very complex exciting tastes. The lemon acid and the sweet yams mix well together. Cut up and peel one ...