Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers with Pineapple

I watched a show last week that made Jalapeno Poppers on the grill.  I have been dreaming about them ever since.  My family loves jalapenos!  We go through a very large jar several times a year. We eat them on everything...eggs, salads, pizza, sandwiches, etc...You name it and it only gets better once you add a jalapeno.  LOL

I bought all of the stuff and was ready to make the traditional style of a popper.  You know the one, cheese in the middle and bacon wrapped around the outside, then grilled to perfection.

All plans sometimes must be rethought and some take on a world of their own.  This is what happened with my popper recipe.  When you can't do plan A you must switch to plan B.  There was no way that these were not going to be in my tummy last night..NO WAY!

I wanted to grill them on the BBQ but we were out of gas.  OK then, I will have to bake.  I was worried about baking.  WHY?  Because I am the pickiest person about how my bacon must be cooked.  I don't like burnt bacon, can stand ultra-crispy bacon and I won't eat the bacon if it's wilted or raw looking (as a whole piece).  I know, I am picky and spicy and some days it's hard to live with myself...LOL

How in the world was I going to achieve this perfect bacon experience in the oven?  I decided to precook the bacon, cut the jalapeno's in half and embellish the cheese with MORE cheese variety...this was starting to shape up to be an amazing POPPER experience.

FYI:  I like my bacon medium crispy with the ends cooked slightly...the edges crispy and the middle soft.  YES, it's true...I never eat bacon outside of my home!  Picky, Picky, Picky!

My family was so excited for dinner last night.  They absolutely loved the poppers and I think I will be making these again at the end of the week.  I love taking something that is "expected" and turning it into something that is "WOW".  I used the leftover cheese filling as a dip and served it with apples and bell pepper.  I thought that some of my kids would not like the hot jalapeno...I was wrong, so I did the only thing I could do and ATE the whole ramekin of dip!  LOL  If I could get it through a straw I would have used one to eat it faster...it was that tasty!  ENJOY

Jalapeno Poppers

9-10 jalapeno peppers, 2-3 inches in size
1/2 cup of grilled pineapple, minced
1/2 cup of green onion, sliced
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup of bacon, cooked to your liking
1 cup of pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of asiago cheese, shredded
dash of salt and pepper

Preheat your baking stone and oven to 425 degrees.

Cut your bacon into little pieces and cook.  Grill your pineapple or saute it in a pan and mince.  Grate your cheese (s) and prepare your jalapenos.

To prepare jalapenos please be very careful.  These are hot and the oil will go into your hands and while cleaning out the seeds it is possible to flick some of that into your eye..trust me, it is possible.

Cut the jalapenos in half and clean out the seeds. Wash and pat dry.  Set aside.

Prepare the filling by combining all of the ingredients and mix well.  The great thing about this filling is that you can add anything you want to make it your own.  Get crazy, live on the wild side.

I lined up my poppers on my counter.  I filled a large gallon bag with the filling and snipped a corner.  This is the easiest way to fill these puppies or poppers. LOL

Because I did not have the grill to cook them on (this time) I used my baking stone.  I preheated the stone so that it was piping hot and gently laid my poppers close to each other.  I could hear the sizzle and smell their hotness immediately.  OH SO GOOD!

Bake the poppers for 15-20 minutes.  You want the jalapeno to be soft (not mushy) and the topping to be browned.

We served ours with rice.   It is a nice compliment to the jalapeno, especially if you get a really hot one!

Written by Sherron Watson

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Crepes with Peaches and Whipped Cream

Crepes with Peaches and Whipped Cream

This recipe is from "JOY of COOKING" and it is the best Crepe recipe I know of. 


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt


1.  Combine all ingredients in a blender or high speed blender, like a Vitamix.

2.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes or in refrigerate for up to 2 days. (This allows the flour to thoroughly absorb the liquid and gives the gluten in the flour a chance to relax.).

3.  Place a nonstick or seasoned crepe pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little unsalted butter.

4.  Stir the batter and pour about 2 tablespoons into the pan, lifting the pan off the heat and tilting and rotating it so that the batter forms an even, very thin layer. Cook until the top is set and the underside is golden. 

5.  Turn the crepe over, using a spatula or your fingers (fingers work best here) and cook until the second side is lightly browned. Remove the crepe to a piece of wax paper. Continue cooking the rest of the crepes, buttering the pan and stirring the batter before starting each one.

This is the gluten free crepe.  You can see how it holds it shape and is easily turned with a rubber spatula.

Stack the finished crepes between sheets of wax paper.

Use immediately or let cool, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 1 month.

Recipe:  Gluten-Free Crepes


1/4 cup Tapioca Starch
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Sorghum Flour
1/2 cup milk, cream, coconut milk or almond milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt


1.  Combine all ingredients in a blender or a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes on the countertop.

2. Place a nonstick or seasoned crepe pan over medium heat. If using butter to coat the pan, use very little or none at all.  When I make mine, I don't use anything.  I find that it does not cook the batter the same, it makes it too soft to flip.  It's not uncommon for the first one to not turn out. 

3.  Stir the batter and pour about 2 tablespoons into the pan, lifting the pan off the heat and tilting and rotating it so that the batter forms an even, very thin layer. Cook until the top is set and the underside is golden. 

4.  Turn the crepe over, using a spatula or your fingers (fingers work best here) and cook until the second side is lightly browned. Remove the crepe to a piece of wax paper. Continue cooking the rest of the crepes. 

5.  Before I take the crepe out of the pan, I fold it into a triangle and stack them on a plate.  

Stack the finished, unused crepes between sheets of wax paper and store in the fridge in an airtight container.  When you are ready to reheat the crepe, do not unfold.  Reheat in the shape of the triangle and then unfold the crepe and add your filling.  Reheat if necessary.

Written by Sherron Watson

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Meat Pies and Onion Gravy

When I think of the old King Arthur or any medieval movie, it seems they talk a lot about eating meat pies. For years I thought these babies sounded so good!  I love the idea of having a cute little pie in your hand to eat like a snack.  A savory pie is more appealing to me than a sweet pie.  I did not grow up eating pie.

While living in Utah we received a ton of snow.I mean a ton!  Some days we would get 1-2 feet in a 24 hour period.  The first few years we loved shoveling, hey, it was a workout.  But then it got old and we hired this service out!  LOL

With the winters being so cold and long I had a lot of time in the home to cook and sew.  I watched another old movie and once again meat pies were discussed.  It was so snowy and cold outside it seemed to me to be the perfect dinner to tackle.  I like a challenge and knew these would take some time to make, but, after all,  where do you go when it's a blizzard outside...NO WHERE!

The first time I made them, I clearly did not understand the "we need more" factor that was at stake. My family devoured them in a very short time.  I have to say they were a hit!  The only problem I had with them is they needed a sauce.  I am a dipper at heart and will always want my food to be dipped into something.

One month later I made them again for a family event.  We had lots of cousins, aunts, and uncles over for a party.  I knew this would be a hit and the kids could easily take a meat pie and go back to playing.  I decided to make a quick gravy.  I will say that the adults loved this too.  The kids were in too big of a hurry to dip or dunk anything...LOL  Although, when I make this for my family like I did last night, the kids enjoyed the gravy.

Are they time consuming?  A little bit.  Are they worth the effort?  ABSOLUTELY!   ENOY

Recipe:  Meat Pies and Onion Gravy

Creamy Sauce: (This will make enough gravy for 30-35 meat pies.  Last night, I made half and it was perfect for the 16 meat pies I made.)

1 cup butter
1 can chicken broth
½ cup flour ( to make GF, I substituted a GF baking flour blend)
1 packet of Lipton Onion mix
2 cups of heavy cream

Melt butter in a pan. Stir in flour. Cook for 3 minutes and continue to stir. Add broth, cream and onion packet. Bring to a boil.  Set aside and serve warm.

Will burn easily if not stirred frequently and watched.

Meat Pie Filling: (This will make 14-18 meat pies, depending on how much filling you add to your pies.)

1 tsp oil
1 pound ground burger
1 ½ cup chopped fresh mushrooms
2-3 cloves minced garlic
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 medium onion, diced
salt to taste
lots of black pepper….I put about ½-1 tsp in.
1 T. flour.

Heat oil.  Add all of the vegetables, salt, pepper, and garlic; cook for about 5 minutes, until onion is soft and clear. Add the hamburger and cook until meat is not pink.  Add flour and brown for a few more minutes.  Combine veggies and meat together and set aside.

Meat Pie Crust: (This will make enough dough for 30-35 meat pies.  I used a 5 1/2 inch salad plate to cut my circles.) This is not gluten-free.  You will need to use your favorite GF pie crust.

4 cups  flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup shortening+2 Tablespoons.
¾ milk or more depends on dough

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Beat egg and add to milk.  Combine the two and mix until it forms a proper consistency of rolling without sticking to the rolling pin.  Take the ball and break into smaller pieces.  

Use a rolling pin and flour, roll into a thin circle. Take a salad plate and use it as a guide, with a knife cut around the plate. 

Put meat mixture into the center.  Fold in half.  Use a fork to seal the edges and cut slits on the top (for the hot air to release). 

Put on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400 or until golden brown.

Serve hot with creamy sauce or you can use plain beef broth to dip them into.

Written by Sherron Watson

Friday, September 2, 2011

Skirt Steak and Bell Peppers

Recipe: Beef and Bell Peppers

1 lb of the skirt or flank steak, cut very thin
2 large bell peppers washed and cut into strips
2 tsp sugar
2 T red wine
2 T corn starch or arrowroot starch
4 T soy sauce (make sure it's gluten-free if this is an issue for you)
salt and pepper to taste
2 T cooking oil. ( I find that I need to add a little bit of oil each time..you may need more than this)

If you can find a butcher that will cut your meat thin for you, this is the way to go.  It will save you time.  I cannot always find this, so I cut my own.  I take my skirt steak of flank steak and cut it about a 1/8th of an inch thick across the grain.  I will also find the meat at Asian markets already sliced and ready to go.  It's oftentimes the meat used for Sukiyaki or Korean BBQ.  

1. Mix sugar, wine, corn starch, soy sauce, and seasonings.  Marinade meat for 15 minutes.

2.  Heat 1 T oil in a heavy skillet, brown meat quickly (1 min each side)

3.  Mix peppers with other 1 T oil and dash of salt; add to meat; stir well and heat through but do not wilt peppers.

4.  Serve piping hot over rice.

We love this meal.  It's quick and so yummy!  

Written by Sherron Watson

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Yesterday was our first day of being "back to normal" after the excitement of the earthquake and hurricane.  I use this term loosely because I don't really believe in "normal".  I grew up different, but I was in some ways always seeking the normal life, the normal family and I would have loved to have had a normal look.

My parents were divorced, which was not normal 35 years ago.

 I lived with my grandparents for a while, again, not normal.

 I felt different because I was overly OCD about things, a perfectionist and an overachiever.  I oftentimes was told, "that is not normal".

 Lastly, I had red hair and a ton of freckles...this was looked at as different and a little bit strange and definitely not the "normal" compared to all of the California blondes with gorgeous brown skin.

I come from a generation that no longer had both parents living together, that the Mom's usually worked outside the home, times were changing and our "normal" was changing.

My husband and I decided a long time ago that we were not going to strive for this "normal life" that so many seek after.  We wanted life to be interesting, exciting, adventurous, challenging, fun and memorable.  This choice was made because we believe that life is not about a constant state of being in one place, but a chain of events and decisions that YOU make to LIVE.  I believe living comes from many events and many changes. I believe we grow from the good and the bad.  I agree, this is not for everyone and I respect that.  I actually envy those that are content with very little change in their lives.  For me, it's in my blood to be "gypsy" like.

So, again, I use this word "normal" loosely because for a few days we had no power (YAHOO...we could unplug for a few days), we spent more time together (YAHOO...I miss my kids every day) and we learned to cope in a very stressful situation (YAHOO...life skills at there best with Mother Nature as our instructor).

I was amazed at how my little community had several families that were struggling to survive without power for a few days (even with all of the warnings and the need to prepare, many did not) because their lives were disrupted for a few days.  We choose to live daily, we choose to be happy, we choose to not get our knickers in a bind if life deals us a change.  It's what we wanted and what we hope for...adventure, memories and happiness.

I struggle to live this "normal" life sometimes and I know that change will always be who I am.  I know that for my kids, they need this time of "normal" to finish school so they can start their lives the way they want to lead them.  I must be patient, content and function for a few years with this in mind.  It's hard.

 I understand that this is not about me, but them.  So for now, I will do my best to provide this "normal" that allows them safety, comfort and a sure knowledge that we are not moving for a while.

Yesterday, I decided that I needed something warm, cheesy and casserole-ish (another made-up word..LOL).  Somedays it just sounds good to me.  I love enchilada's and decided that this would be the perfect solution to my cravings.  Unfortunately, we did not have any enchilada sauce and I was not in the mood for a store run...the stores are still in chaos because of the food that was lost and some people and places still do not have power.

 DING DING...I am a cook, I can make some...YES, I can.  That is me talking to myself and so I set off to find a recipe that I thought would produce a yummy sauce.  When I try to make something new I have a system I follow.

1. I google similar recipes.
2. I read the reviews.
3. I print off several I like.
4. I eventually end up making my own.

I follow very few recipes to a tee.  I am not sure why I just love to do things my own way.  This is the process I did yesterday.  As I read each recipe, I felt they were too easy ( I wanted a rich flavor), too few ingredients ( I love spices and texture) and the reviews did not convince me that the recipe I was reading was the "one".

I pulled everything from the cupboards that I wanted to include in my recipe.  After reading several other recipes, I basically knew what I needed to achieve the flavor of an "enchilada sauce" and I came up with my own.  Is this traditional or "normal" to a Mexican Enchilada Sauce?  I have no idea, other than this is what I like, these ingredients taste great together and my family loved it.

In cooking, sometimes we get hung up on the "normal" of a recipe: spaghetti sauce, pizza, mashed potatoes...they all have a "normal" flavor and presentation to them...BUT, it's okay to be different once in a while.  What is normal for me is not for you.  I love this about cooking, life and myself.  I finally have accepted me and all of the aspects of my life that make me unique, different and, at times, not normal.  LOL (in a good way...wink, wink).  Have a great day!

Recipe:  Homemade Enchilada Sauce

This recipe does make a lot.  I will use a third today(actually yesterday), freeze a third for later and put the last third in the fridge for next week and make more enchilada's for my family (we don't mind eating things twice in one month).  You can halve this if you don't want this much at one time.  I like to make extra so I have meals started for the future.

4 cups of chicken broth, low sodium
2 cups of water
2 cans (15oz) tomato sauce
3 T. flour  (GF version: use Arrowroot Starch)
1 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
6 dashes of Tabasco (optional)

In a large pot, add the chicken broth, water and 1 1/2 cans of tomato sauce.  Have your heat set to medium-high.

While this is starting to get warm, take the remaining tomato sauce and add this to a small bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.  Slowly add this to your pot.

Once your pot reaches a boiling point, it should start to thicken slightly.  It will not be too thick.  I noticed that as I would stir the pot, my wooden spoon would have some resistance...I could feel it. Turn your heat down to medium-low and let simmer.

I let my sauce simmer for about an hour.  You need to stir it about once every 15 minutes.  I noticed that I did lose about 1 inch of sauce during this process.  You can see this in the picture below.  I like this because it pulls the flavors together.

I used minced garlic instead of powder...this is what you are seeing in the pot.  I just love fresh garlic more than the powder, but you can use the powder if you like.

NOTE:  This sauce is one that you can add more or less of the ingredients above based on what you taste buds tell you.  I will say, that with the chicken broth, be very careful with your salt.  Taste, season and taste again.  The longer it sits on the stove, the richer the taste.

To make the enchilada's:

Heat oven to 350.  Bake enchilada's for 25-30 minutes.  Everything is precooked, you just want enough time to melt the cheese and warm the enchiladas if they cooled during preparation.

Brown together:
1 pound of ground beef
1/2 onion, diced

1 can of black beans, drained

Prepare the tortilla's by cooking them slightly in oil until soft.  Stack the tortilla's between napkins to absorb the extra oil.

Grate about 4 cups of cheese.  This is a personal choice as to how much cheese you and your family like.

I used two small rectangle pans that each held 10 enchiladas.

 I took a soup ladle of enchilada sauce and put this in the bottom of each pan.

 I added the meat/bean mix  and some cheese to each of the tortilla's and lined them up side by side in the pan.

When the pan is full I cover the whole top with more enchilada sauce and then top with cheese.  The tortilla's soak up the sauce as it bakes.

Fresh out of the oven.

Written by Sherron Watson

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


We had an earthquake and then we had a hurricane, the first month of living in Maryland. It was quite an adventure. 

I would be so ungrateful if I did not say "Thank You" to everyone that wished us well while dealing with Hurricane Irene.  I cannot tell you how much your comments, well wishes and words of concern reached into our hearts.  We truly felt your concern and love towards us.  I spent several days cooking before the storm actually hit us.  One of the things I made twice was the GF Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe below).  They were so yummy and hit the spot for a quick snack or pick me up.  I have shared links to some of those wonderful pages that kept my family in their thoughts last week.  I went to each site and pulled a recipe that had chocolate, chocolate chips or oatmeal in them.  There are a few pages that I could not find recipes on their sites but I need to mention them here:  

What's for Dinner? Ally's Kitchen- Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Basilmomma, a busy Mom who likes to cook- Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Chef in Disguise- Oatmeal Date Biscotti
Dishing the Divine-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
Simple Fare, Fairly Simple-Mama B's Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Southern Lady Cooks-Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies
Running with the Devil(ed) Eggs-Chewy Oatmeal Apple Cookies
Lark's Country Heart- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Scones

I try to post a gluten-free recipe as well as a "regular" recipe for the things I cook.  After all, I did cook for 25+ years before going gluten-free and have some amazing recipes to share.  Unfortunately, this is not one of those times.  I cannot find the recipe that I used to make.  I hope that you enjoy the recipes that I have found on these pages that I follow.  All of these sites that I have shared above are foodies that have become my friends.   


1 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon arrowroot or corn starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.

2.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.

3.  Combine the dry ingredients, except for the oats and slowly mix into the wet ingredients.

4.  Mix in the quick oats and chocolate chips.

5. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Use a cookie scoop, with the dough tightly scooped to create a softer and thicker cookie. If the cookie scoop is loosely scooped the cookie will bake and go flat.  It still tastes good just slightly crispier on the edges.

6.  Bake for 12 minutes in a preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on sheet before transferring over to a wire rack to cool.

I will share some pictures with you from our week with the hurricane.

When they said that we were in the path of Irene, I honestly believe that most people where I live did not believe them.  My family took the warnings seriously and immediately started planning and preparing for the worst.  We did not know what to expect.  We gathered our 72 hours kits and had them ready so if the call came that we had to leave, we would.  We are not superheroes and we did not want to take any chances with our lives or those of the many people that may have to rescue us if we chose to stay against the council to leave.  We bought food, gas, water, propane.  We filled our bathtubs, checked our generator, tied down our stuff outside and watched with anticipation.

This is my handsome husband that did so much!  When we lost power for 3 days he spent some of his time reading. 

We played our favorite game during those days without power.  Settlers of Catan is an awesome family game. Drake won three games in a row!
Even with a hurricane, Isabella was dressed like a princess.  She is so cute!
After two days of not having a shower, I could not stand it and had to do the ol' "boil water and use bucket" set up.  It worked and it felt great to have clean hair again!

I prepared meals that we could use on our outside gas grill.  BBQ chicken legs were a huge hit and super easy.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to have our NUWAVE .  It allowed us to have homemade fries. I had an oven if we needed it.  I love this thing.

I should have made more, the kids devoured them!

The damage was not as bad as some places that we have seen.  We were lucky that we did not have any flooding like some areas.  Our neighbors dealt with wind damage and trees.  This one lost his fence.

Trees in power lines were everywhere, hence our not having any power for a few days.

Branches and limbs were everywhere.

Even a few trees landed on several homes.  I felt bad for these people.  I can only imagine the scare they got when they heard the tree land on their roof.

This is a picture of how one tree knocked another tree and another over.  It was like dominoes.

Written by Sherron Watson

Donut Breakfast Casserole

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