Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Baked Beans Bobi's Way!

Why is it that I only think to make homemade baked beans on holidays? Fourth of July, Memorial day, Family reunions are just some of the times this lovely dish makes an appearance. Every time I make them I think, "Why don't I make these more often"? I love this recipe. It never lets me down. I remember a good friend of mine once offered to bring her baked beans to a huge neighborhood BBQ I was throwing. Of course I was thrilled that I could cross that dish off my "dishes to make". The day of the BBQ came and she showed up with the biggest pot of baked beans I had ever seen. They looked delicious and I couldn't wait to give them a try. Crunch, Crunch, Crunch went the first bites in my mouth. Needless to say - at the end of the night - she was taking home a full pot -o- beans! I love this recipe because it does not rely on me to soften the beans (at least on the front end ;-)!

Bobi's Baked Beans
1 (28 oz) can pintos beans, drained
1 (28 oz) can white kidney beans, drained
1 pound bacon, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Red hot sauce (such as Frank's)
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Drain and rinse beans well. Combine the beans in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Pull out the bacon and remove 1/2 the bacon grease. Drop in onions and cook until translucent, then add the peppers and the garlic. Cook just to wilt the vegetables, 5 or so minutes. Add the vegetables to the beans, along with remaining ingredients except the bacon. Mix, taste, and adjust to suit you. Pour into casserole dish, cover, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove the cover and place cooked bacon on top. Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy - and not just during a holiday!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Libby's Chicken Marinade!

This is one of those posts - where the pictures just don't do the food justice! This marinade recipe came from from my friend Cary's mom. I gave it the title Libby's Marinade, but I also call it that "100 ingredient Marinade". It seems like there are 100 ingredients in it - but it is worth all the work! My whole family agrees that this is their favorite chicken. Twangy and slightly hot it makes your taste buds twang!!! Hope you get the gumption to try it - it's worth it!

Libby's Chicken Marinade
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup cooking sherry
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning

Blend all ingredients together and add 1 cup cooking oil. Mix well. Marinate meat 4 to 6 hours. Grill chicken over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes per side.

Here is a picture of most of the "100" ingredients!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bobi's Bites: Banana Bread!

How could it be, we did not eat all the bananas? Time passes too quickly, or maybe bananas just ripen too fast!
Time to use my Mom's recipe before it is too late. I have a new appreciation of bananas after "watching" them grow at my parent's home in Florida. It can take a long time for these gems to mature but once they do they all ripen at the same time and you have a huge stalk of bananas to not only eat but share with the neighbors. Note, the picture is just the very beginning but you will not be disappointed when the bananas are breakfast ready.

Banana Bread - Bobi's way
1/2 cup margarine (I use butter)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
(Mix above ingredients well)
Add 2 to 3 ripe bananas (mix well)
Add following ingredients to above mixture and mix well
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cups nuts
This makes enough for one large loaf pan or 4 to 6 small loaves.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (For a large loaf pan bake 45 minutes or more testing with a skewer for doneness.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gourmet Club: ABBA Style!

The menu arrived from Robin Sue about two weeks ago - and I knew right then we were in for a treat! She told us to come in proper "ABBA Attire" and as you can see by the picture - nobody had to twist our arm!

The men were very excited that chest hair finally was a plus!

Since the menu was a Greek theme - Robin Sue looked no further then Peter Minakis for all the recipes. Swing on over to his website for these delicious menu items. Pictured above was the Baked Feta. I can't think of a better way to start an ABBA inspired Gourmet Club.

After the appetizers we moved into the dining room. It was decked out in blue and white with a wonderful sunflower centerpiece.

Huge helpings of Pastitsio hit our plates as our tongues were wagging with anticiapation. The taste of this dish was to die for. The cinnamon and allspice make this taste like a delicious warm lasagna.

This picture doesn't do it justice. The whole time I was eating it - I was thinking that my kids would LOVE this in their lunch box! I will definitely be making this one again.

The meal ended with a dessert of Kataifi. I had never had this and I was blown away by this rich dessert very much like a baklava.

"When All was Said and Done" and there was no more "Honey, Honey" on our plates - We all felt like "Dancing Queens"!
Robin Sue - "Thank you for the Music" and this amazing Gourmet Club! Don't forget to swing over to Sabrina's blog as well to see how her night went!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

It is that time of year again when calendars are crammed full of sports, yard projects, field trips and homework. You find yourself looking for the light at the end of the school tunnel. You know if we as parents feel that - our kids' teachers must REALLY feel it! Every year during Teacher Appreciation week our PTF throws a luncheon to honor our teachers. My sweet little friends, Jennifer and Amanda, were in charge of the luncheon this year, and the teachers loved it. The theme was "April Showers Bring May Flowers". Look at how adorable the centerpieces turned out. She just went to our local gardening store and bought a box-o-flowers.

Around each box she had crushed Oreos for dirt, placed dehydrated mushrooms in the "dirt" as well as gardening tools, gummi worms, plastic toy frogs and snakes. Macadamia nuts made perfect "stones" for the perfect garden centerpiece.

At each place setting was a flowered fly swatter. Jennifer told me she had found them at the Dollar Store just the day before. You couldn't FIND those if you were trying - they were the icing on the cake!

The drink and dessert table had adorable umbrellas and two beautiful flower arrangements to set the mood.

The meal was a huge salad bar. They got great feedback from the teachers and parents. The teachers loved it because we're all trying to fit in the bathing suits in our drawers and the parents loved it because all the volunteers got such easy assigments. One brought in onions, one brought in cucumbers, One brought in bacon.....Easy!

After every dish was done - we all agreed that this menu might have to be repeated! Thanks Jennifer and Amanda for letting me blog about your beautiful luncheon! You two always do everything first class!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Perfect Beef Stroganoff: College Style!

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day. When I called to give my mom some love she reminded me of this special Mother's Day from years gone by:

When my brother was in Journalism School at the University of Georgia my mother received a notice from the University Food Service that they would be soliciting favorite recipes, which if accepted, would be served on campus in remembrance of Mother's Day. My mother accepted the challenge and sent the school her Beef Stroganoff Recipe.

The letter came - CONGRATULATIONS!! It is with pleasure that University Food Services announces that your recipe for Perfect Beef Stroganoff has been chosen to be featured during our "Tribute to Mother's Day". That was no surprise because the recipe is great, but it did come as a complete shock.

The University sent her a souvenir copy of the recipe that would be served in Oglethorpe, Bolton and Snelling Dining Halls where my brother ate. Her recipe is #103271 - Perfect Beef Stroganoff which they scaled up to serve 4000 students. They used 800 lbs. meat, 200 lbs. butter, 200 lbs chopped onions, 200 lbs. sliced mushrooms, 40 lbs. flour - you get the gist. The outcome: Did my brother eat there that day? Nope, sometimes Moms just can't win. However in her heart she knew she had a WINNER thanks to one of her friends in Kansas City, Missouri who always shared her recipes and served the best dinners.

Perfect Beef Stroganoff

2 lbs. Sirloin
6 T. Butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced 1/4 in.
3 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. catsup
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 can beef bouillion
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Method: Cut beef in strips and saute in 1/2 the butter.
Another pan: Saute mushrooms, onions and remainder of the butter for five minutes.
Remove from heat . Add catsup, salt, pepper, flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add bouillion. Bring to a boil - reduce heat and simmer five minutes. Add: wine, dry dill weed, sour cream - Stir over low heat . Add beef and serve over rice.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Big Brother Curt!

My brother has always been an amazing photographer. My parents tried to foster his passion for life on the "negative" side by putting a dark room in the basement of each home we lived in. He worked his way through college at the University of Georgia as their football/sports photographer during the Vince Dooley "reign". He has some amazing photos from those days.
A few years ago he decided to say goodbye to corporate life and finally pursue his passion. He opened up his business where he works directly with photographers to transfer their beautiful artwork to canvas. The resulting images are breathtaking works of art! Go to:

Last week, this was the blog I found when I went to his site. I loved it so much I wanted to share his "Heartwork" with you!

Curt wrote:
So, I looked at the calendar this morning. Its May 1. I'm not quite of the ancient variety as of yet, but I'm not as young as most of you spring chickens around here. I recalled how when I was young, my mother would take us around and we would pick wild flowers and put them in little baskets and take them to the neighbors houses. I think we called them May Baskets...Does anyone remember those?As we get older, go through school, find out that the traditions of May Day may be more closely related to that of the communist workers celebrations and most certainly not politically or ecologically correct since we are picking wild flowers and killing them... But I have such vivid recollections of little green construction paper baskets (really just paper folded and stapled with a loop to hang on the door) filled with dandylions and anything that wasn't 100% green that seemed to grow in the area. But...lest I ramble too much...back to the point.
Things are difficult right now, there is no denying it. The tv and radio blare nonstop about how bad things are and how we need to share the pain. Well, I have decided that as of today, I will no longer share pain. I will no longer share doubts about the future, and I will no longer bow my head to the fears that knock on my door. I think we can all look around and realize that while we may not be able to purchase our kids the latest wii game or console, we can share with them the gift of our time with a visit to a local park. We may not be able to afford the big family vacation this year, but we can pitch a tent in the back yard and grill hot dogs over a fire, a hibacci grill...or whatever is available to burn. We can watch the sunset while our kids sit on our laps or next to us, or run circles around us while they giggle till they cry (parent always know that the giggles and laughing are all precursors to the just works that way).
I am amazed every day how my kids are soaking up the world like a sponge. I see them learning things, feeling things, and asking questions about concepts that they do not understand. Poverty, Death, War...should six year olds know of these things? I then thought back about my own childhood...Russia had the bomb and we were all gonna die any day. Vietnam was a word heard everyday on the news, not just a place mentioned in a text book or a name on a black granite wall. And yet...somehow...I managed to grow up, more or less healthy, and well adjusted. Heck, my mom didn't even use a car seat... ( i will however mention, that I feel my ability to survive my childhood was likely vastly improved by the fact that my father really liked VOLVO's and did not succumb to the purchase of a Pinto).
So, thinking back, my memories of childhood were not those of impending doom from the evil red devil, the nights when we ate Mac and Cheese or Pasta with Margerine and tomato sauce...They were of running around, playing with my friends, making may baskets on May Day, catching baseballs with my buddies, and putting playing cards on my bike tires with clothes pins to make it sound "cool". I remember my first car, my first job, my first date, my first kiss...But why have I forgotten all those other things?
I know now, as a parent, that while all those other terrible things really did exist... The gas lines and energy shortages, the recessions and out of control interest rates, the war in Vietnam and the schism that created in our country, and the evils of Disco and Early 80's punk rock...Well, for the most part, my parents didn't saddle me with the worry...They answered questions and kept my world spinning just fine. They answered questions while we were on the swings at the park, they gave me no cause for alarm while we sat at the dam with a fishing pole, and they cheered my success when I almost made it to home plate in T-ball. They love me and my sister...the way that they knew how... not perfect...not by a long shot...but I tell you what, they didn't allow me to fear when fear was all around.
So today, with flowers bursting through the ground, and sunshine once again warming the earth, I make a commitment to answer the tough questions, but focus on the joys of life. I will not shrink from the difficult situations, but I will also protect my kids from my own uncertainty.
They carry no responsibility for paying the bills or figuring out what to do next. And while their lives are now Bakugan and Mario Brothers as opposed to GI Joe and Cowboys and Indians, I am committed to providing them with the memories that I hope they will look back on with the same warmth and appreciation that I do of my own childhood. In closing, I want to say thank you to all of you who bring joy and excitment into our lives each day. We laugh with you, cry with you, and revel in your triumphs and commiserate in your less than perfect days. We want to say thank you to each of you who are friends as well as customers, and we hope that your today is filled with wild flowers and little green baskets.
CB over and out

I hope you were as blessed by that as I was! Lucky me - He's my brother!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Potato Leek Soup

I thought all the cold weather was gone. We had a whole week of 95 degree days a couple of weeks ago and then WHAM - back to 50 and 60's and rain! Rain, Rain and more Rain. Just when I thought it was safe to pack up my soup recipes - Wham - I want to bring them out again.

This past weekend - I knew just what soup I wanted! Potato Leek Soup always hits the spot in our house.

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Leeks, Washed and chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 small, all-purpose potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups milk, I used 1 percent
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Dash of curry powder, optional

In a large nonstick saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Add the leeks and onion. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the milk, pepper and curry powder. Heat to desired temperature.

Put in blender or blend with hand held blender in pot.

Enjoy on your next rainy day--- don't forget to top with cheese or popcorn!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cheese Blini's - Robin Sue Style!

Years ago Robin Sue, from Big Red Kitchen, brought these unbelievably tasty morsels to my home. I ate a respectable amount during our get together, but as soon as we were cleaning up I crammed entire fist fulls into my mouth while I walked the plate to the kitchen sink. I HAD to have this recipe. She graciously gave me the recipe - which I quickly passed to my mother Bobi. She in turn makes these pieces of heaven on a regular basis - and always gets requests for the recipe. I told Robin to blog about them - and she didn't remember what I was talking about. How could she forget these perfect little treats? How could anyone forget these cinnamon sugar coated lumps of love?

Adapted from: Kraft Kitchens - 2005

You can't miss with Cinnamon Twist "Blinis"

These Blinis are a great addition to breakfast or lunch and if you need a dessert you can take the Kraft Kitchen Tip and dip half of the Blinis in chocolate. Whenever you need a treat to go, these fit the bill, and so I am off and running with a platter of these to a meeting tonight. These might even work for book clubs or Bible studies. You can have these with bacon and eggs in the morning, or tea and coffee as a snack, they are winners anytime.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese softened
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
12 slices white bread, crusts removed
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla and egg. In separate bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon and set aside.

Flatten each bread slice with rolling pin. Spread 1 side of each slice
evenly with 1 Tbsp. cream cheese mixture. Starting at short end, tightly roll up. Brush each roll with butter; roll in reserved cinnamon-sugar. Slice each roll into 3 pieces.

Place each piece, seam side down, on baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Kraft Tip: Finished, baked rolls can be dipped halfway into melted Bakers Dipping Chocolate.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Apples and Peanut Butter!

So I have to give my friend Jill credit for this one. I was working on a project after school with her and her son came in eating an apple just like the one above. I asked her what she had done, and she said she had just cored the apple and filled it with Peanut Butter. Why didn't I think of that? The next day I made them for my girl's lunch - What a hit!!!!