Monday, April 27, 2020

Cooking from "Scratch"

Cooking from scratch is sometimes simple, sometimes complicated or requires a mixture of experience and knowing what flavors work best with the dish. The southern, down-home recipes on this blog are designed for the new cook as well as the very experienced. All it takes is a little time in understanding the ingredients and steps.

I offer you recipes that I prepare often or recipes that are family traditions. I will tell you in advance if it is one that requires a bit of thought as I sometimes do not measure exact ingredients. These you can experiment with easily and none of them are complicated. That's the best part of scratch cooking, you can claim the dish as your own.

Note to new cooks: from scratch means you start with basic ingredients where nothing is pre-mixed and you have to measure the quantities.

Of course, there are recipes from others that have proven just too good to not share. Like the Best Breadmachine White Bread. It would be wrong to keep that to myself. Then there are those that are simply links to articles I've written elsewhere but they take you directly to the recipe.

We discuss using fresh vegetables, making your own seasonings, growing your own herbs and how to use them. I hope you stay for a while and enjoy using the recipes and suggestions. Leave a comment or share something. I will post the recipe with full credit to you if you do.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Banana Almond Protein Smoothie for Muscle Support

banana almond smoothie from
Banana Almond Smoothie
This is so yummy I can't believe I am supposed to drink it!

Further research shows consuming protein supports muscle development and recovery time from workouts (  drink shake just after an exercise. This will help to provide your body with the protein that it needs to build and strengthen muscles. This extra protein will also help to repair any of the microscopic tears inside muscles. By helping to repair the muscles much quicker than normally, you will be able to reduce the recovery time and build muscles much faster. 
  • For optimal results consume 10-20 grams of protein after workouts
  • Do not use almond milk that contains carrageenan 
  • Use unsweetened almond milk
  • Use all organic ingredients
Although the site is promoting a brand of protein supplement you can make your own. Especially if you are lactose intolerant. Whey, the main ingredient in most commercial protein supplements, is derived from dairy.

I choose almond milk because it is the highest in protein. You can use whatever milk alternative suits you but I suggest staying away from soy. There are unbelievable problems consuming soy let alone 93% of it is genetically engineered to contain it's own pesticide. There is no need to use it.

And be aware that it is not be used as a meal replacement. On a 2000 calorie daily meal plan, there is still room for nearly 1600 calories which can easily include a snack or two... I am on 1 1700 daily total and struggle to find enough food to meet that so I've started eating larger breakfasts.

Organic Protein Smoothie (447 Calories)
  • 1/2 C Zico Coconut water (0 protein)
  • 1 C Fresh and Easy Almond Milk (1g protein)
  • 2 Bananas (2.6 g protein)
  • 1 large Egg (6 g protein)
  • 1/4 C Organic Oats (7 g protein)
For added interest you can add ground flax seed, dried and unsweetened coconut or other fruits. Just be aware that the calorie count goes up so at least choose something that adds more protein.

Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A New Outlook On Nutrition and My Inspirations For It

Mrs. Ernestine Shepard- World's Oldest Body Builder at 77.
My life took on a new direction in 2012. While staying with friends, two of us decided to go for a walk. Going downhill was no problem but half way on the return, my legs would not move. I wasn't out of breath either. I actually could not get my legs to go forward.

It was something I had to think about once I was back home. If I walked as much as I could and did the Leslie Sansone Walk At Home workouts, why did that happen to me? Not only that, I found I could no longer squat, get into the child's pose and had absolutely no hops!

One day I poking through some sweatshirts at Costco and I saw my favorite trainer so I asked him. It was simple, I had lost muscle tone in my legs. So, without hesitation I signed up for a three month stint at his gym and that is where the miracles began.

Briefly, I started weight training and at the end of each session we had to run around the block three times before we could leave. In the beginning, I could not take 10 steps without breathing heavily. I set goals for myself by choosing markers that got farther and farther away until I was able to go completely around without stopping.

By the end of the three months, I was able to run a mile without stopping. That is when I fell in love with jogging. But to be honest, I fell in love with working out period. It was now clear to me what my friends were gaining by including gym sessions and running in their daily lives. It is at this point I will say thank you to:

  • Ernestine Pratt (One of my fab besties who works out at a gym regularly)
  • Evelyn Vandiegriff (Ev does boot camp, rowing, vibration, treadmill. Between her and Estina, the value of their activities help me tremendously)
  • Verniel Monk (I saw Vee run one day and 10-year-olds couldn't catch her!)
  • Jacqui Venters (Mind, body and spirit are in fabulous condition)
  • Bernice Strickland (Walking at the beach in the early mornings and then going back to her house to raid her fridge jump started my walking career)
  • Johnnie Strickland (Bernice and I hated on Johnnie a lot during our walks because Johnnie weighed about two pounds total)
  • Chuckie Miller (My fave trainer who probably regrets taking down the "No Whining" sign at the gym, lol.)
  • David Byrd (My cousin who never quit doing his morning track and stair runs)
  • Netra Michelle Brown (Has always has been a dynamo of energy)
  • Ernestine Shepard, the grand diva of workouts pictured in the photo above. Mrs. Shepard didn't start working out until she was 56. This is how much I love her way of life... James Brown and Miles Davis are absolutely my two favorite performers. You can play Prisoner of Love and So What all day every day and I will want to hear them again at night. That is how much I admire Mrs. Shepard.

My body does not look like hers but my spirit is telling me to go for it. I am now up to 4 miles and last night I did the run in 53 minutes. Push-ups are no longer scary and neither are planks. Weight loss is 35 pounds. I had to buy new dumbbells because I can lift heavier now.

All of the above was the introduction to the changes to this blog, We, meaning me, no longer promote/use/eat anything made with certain ingredients. We still love down home cooking but it is healthier than ever. We also eat organic the majority of the time but if that option is not available we choose traditionally grown and make sure we wash it thoroughly before consuming. We do not do Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

So from now on, assume that recipes listed here are promoting organic foods. If it contains carrageenan, canola oil, vegetable oil, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and are full of chemicals none of the recipes here use them. We will say exactly which ingredient to use.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Delicious No-Fat Chicken

I love this chicken because it requires very little to make and it is diet friendly without having to think about it. Loads of flavor, no fat, little effort.


  • Any amount of chicken (except breasts)
  • 1/2 onion, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 bell pepper (red or green but the red is prettier), washed and sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, washed and smashed
  • Lawry's Seasoning Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Pan coating
  • Boiling water
  • Oven to stovetop safe pan or skillet

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Put water in tea kettle or pot and let it come to a boil. When it does, turn the fire down so that it simmers while you are preparing the chicken.
  • Wash chicken and pat dry. In a bowl, sprinkle with the seasoning salt and pepper.
  • Coat your pan with non stick. I make my own but Pam is fine.
  • Arrange chicken so that there is only one layer in the pan. Set pan in oven and let chicken brown.
  • When it is browned, set pan on top of stove. Put the vegetables on top and add enough boiling water to cover the chicken. Let it cook until less than 1/4 inch of liquid is left in the pan. You do not have to cover but can if you want.
  • The trick to this dish is the amount of liquid left in the pan. First, don't over salt your chicken. The lower the liquid gets, the more intense the flavor and too much salt will ruin it. Second, don't try to make this a gravy. It is supposed to be like a reduced sauce, kind of thick. And... it looks great on the plate, especially served with rice or mashed potatoes. I use Fresh and Easy Instant Brown Rice which isn't so instant, it just cooks faster.
  • When serving, just spoon a little of the sauce onto the chicken, rice or potatoes.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Simple, Delicious Cuban Black Beans  photo by Gualberto107
Simple Cuban Black Beans is delicious, fast and healthy and goes well with just about any main dish. Add a salad and protein and get a filling meal that covers the basic food groups.

Usually, I add cooked rice and mix it in before serving. That is the standard way of serving them along with some salsa and cojita cheese. Tastes so good they will ask for seconds.

I served it with blackened salmon and avocado/herb salad. Total calories: 684 per serving.

1 (14 oz) can Fresh and Easy Organic black beans
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

Optional: fresh parsley and cojita cheese to sprinkle on top

In a large heavy skillet, spray with non stick oil. Heat and then add oils. Add chopped onions and saute until soft. Add garlic. Immediately add whole can of beans including liquid in can. Cook on low until all liquid is absorbed.

At this point you can add cooked rice (I use Fresh and Easy Instant Brown Rice). Add as much as you like but usually 1 cup rice to 1/2 cup of beans is fine.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Fried Chicken Wings

This is actually my dinner plate, however, I now use brown rice.
A simple weekday dinner for one: plain rice with a sprinkle of paprika, boiled brussel sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and sinfully, delicious fried chicken wings. The way I see it, the plain rice and brussel sprouts offset the fried wings.

IMHO, fried chicken doesn't need batter or fancying up. Just a good oil, mainly 100% extra virgin, flour, Lawry's Seasoning Salt and black pepper. I used to fry them in an iron skillet but Bernice gave me an iron kettle that I now use. It waits on the back of the stove between usage and I do not change the oil often, maybe every 3 or 4 months. First, I do not fry a lot. Second, I clean it by straining out the sediment, cleaning the pot and then pouring the used oil back in. When it is time to use it, sometimes I heat it and a potato is fried in it before the wings. But it is good to go regardless.


Any number of quality chicken wings
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
A little garlic powder
Black pepper
Plain flour
Paper or plastic bag
Olive Oil (if you are really brave, add a large spoon of organic shortening to it)

  • Wash wings really well. Drain and put them in a bowl. Make sure there is no extra water clinging to them or in the bowl. Wings should be moist, not wet.
  • Start heating oil.
  • Sprinkle seasonings on top of wings only. Next, take your hands and moosh them around so that all sides are coated.
  • Place about a cup of plain flour in the bag. Add wings and secure top. Shake bag so that all the wings are coated.
Test heat of oil by tossing a couple of "sprinkles"of water to the cooker. Should be about two or three drops only! If it pops and crackles a bit, it is hot enough. Please use caution when doing this, too much water will cause oil to bubble over and probably start a fire.

  • Shake excess flour from wings and then add three or four to oil. Fry until dark golden brown.
  • Serve.
This posting was originally written way before I changed my diet. Now, nearly every ingredient I use is organic and some are even vegan. In the case of this recipe, the wings are free-range or at least raised on vegetarian feed; the flour is organic; olive oil is certified organic; No GMOs, chemicals, dyes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stone Wave As Seen On TV Chocolate Cake

Today, I mastered the microwave chocolate cake ala Stone Wave Microwave Cooker. There is a recipe included for Chocolate Souffle but it doesn't work so well with Carob...

This is not a product plug... I use a Panasonic NN-H965BF Genius 2.2 cu ft 1250-Watt Sensor Microwave with Inverter Technology and it is really powerful. The crocks come with cookbooks loaded with 5 minute recipes. Actually, they are mostly 2 minutes or less. However, with the power of the Panasonic, not only is that too long I have to set the power level at 7 or else the food turns to rubber.

So, knowing (and finally admitting) that I bought the little dishes to make the individual Chocolate Souffles, the minute I took them out of the box I made one. It was rubbery, far too sweet and a really very unappealing blob sitting there on the saucer.

Then I tried the eggs. A very simple (as are the other recipes) and small list of ingredients. They were worse than the souffle so I decided to spend the time perfecting the chocolate recipe.

Plus, after my lifestyle and diet change I now use Carob instead of chocolate. What it all came down to was adjusting everything: the time, the power level and researching how to use Carob. My lifestyle change includes daily 30 to 60 minute walk/run, daily strength training, eating organic, no GMO products, no gluten or wheat. Also, eating more cooked foods and less raw even though I loved my daily salads. Following this diet plan, I lost 30 pounds and am now on a maintenance plan (1600-1800 calories per day).

As of this writing, that research and the adjustments are nearly done. I just didn't add the Carob chips. And I used Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix instead of plain flour.

Individual Carob (Chocolate) Cake ala Stone Wave

  • 4 Tablespoons Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix (non gluten)
  • 2 Tablespoons organic sugar (since Carob is so sweet if you like bittersweet chocolate I would not use sugar at all)
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of Carob powder
  • 3 Tablespoons almond or oat milk (if you are still doing dairy go ahead and use regular milk)
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons healthy oil (olive or grapeseed)
  • 2 Tablespoons whisked egg (crack whole egg and whisk. Use measuring spoon to measure it)
  • Dash of vanilla
  • Dash of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon is good)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix (whisk) thoroughly. Pour into Stone Wave cooker. cover with lid. For very powerful microwave cookers, set cook time for 2 minutes and the power level at 7. Enjoy warm cake with a little ice cream or Trader Joe's non diary whipped topping.