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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Checking out Luanda - the Fort and some great views of the city

These pictures are from our recent visit to the Fort of Sao Miguel.  It sits high on a hill and probably has the best views  of Luanda.  There are also some gorgeous ceramic tiles (that I took tons of pictures of but will only force you to look at a few of them) in one of the buildings there that tell the history of Angola.  It was a great trip!




Lots of cranes...there is a ton of building happening here












My daughter was drawing her pictures of our trip.  She said this one was a zoomed in pic.









posing with the statues


Friday, August 22, 2014

Crispy Garbanzo Beans, the perfect snack


These things are so good!  They make a great, healthy snack food.  Oh, and they are easy and have very few ingredients. The seasonings can be changed to just about anything.  I've listed what I used today but I've made them with curry powder, cumin, and just salt and pepper. I've heard of people making them with cinnamon but I haven't tried that yet. This can easily be doubled (just make sure your baking pan is big enough for a single layer)

1 can of garbanzo beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
seasonings-
Big drizzle of worcestershire sauce
garlic powder
sea salt 
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drain and throughly rinse the garbanzo beans.  Lay them out and dry with paper towels.  Place on a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Mix around with your hands until everything is thoroughly coated.  Roast until crispy.  In my oven it took about 45 minutes.  You want them crispy but if you leave them too long, they will burn.  So start checking them at about the 30 minute point and keep a close eye on them. Also, shake the pan every 15 minutes or so to help them cook evenly.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce

Ok, this is so easy and so delicious that you should go make some right now.  It can be used on ice cream, in your coffee, drizzled on a banana, etc.

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat sugar and bourbon and stir until it starts to boil.  Once it starts boiling, do not stir it anymore.  You should swirl the pan around frequently and brush the sides down with a wet pastry brush to keep the sugar from crystalizing on the sides of the pot.  Let it boil (and continue to swirl) for 8-10 minutes  until it is nice and dark brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly then add the vanilla.  Let cool then refrigerate.






Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chicken Egg Cups

This is a super easy, quick, yummy breakfast!  There is lots of room to improvise, so it can be tailored to your tastes.  Here is how I made mine today -

Deli meat (I used chicken)
eggs (one per chicken slice)
cheese (I used mozzarella)
salt
pepper
other seasonings (I used Greek seasoning)
other cooked veggies

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin. Line each with a slice of deli meat.  If you are using thin slices, you may need two slices each.  If you want to saute some onions, peppers, garlic, or other veggies, sauté them then place on top of the meat.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Next add the eggs.  You can do this by either cracking eggs directly into each cup or you can whisk them in a bowl and pour on top (depending if you want the eggs scrambled).  I use one egg per muffin. Add salt, pepper and other seasonings to each cup. Bake for about 15 mins.  If you want the eggs slightly runny, check them at 12 minutes.

That's it!  You can change the cheese, the meat, the seasonings.  These taste really good!  Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Best, crunchiest chicken ever!

I love the Pioneer Woman.  All her recipes turn out so delicious.  Her chicken strips recipe is one of my favorites.

I made just a few tweaks but mostly follow it as written. Because it's that good.

Just looking at this makes me want to go make another batch.  Now.

The secret to the crunch is adding buttermilk to the batter.  I was a little hesitant at first but it makes is so, so good.

Here's the recipe with my changes.

1lb of chicken breast, cut into strips
1 cup buttermilk **see tip on making a buttermilk substitute
hot sauce
additional 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups of flour
1 Tablespoon seasoning salt or seasoning of your choice
1 inch of vegetable oil

Place chicken strips in a ziplock bag or bowl with 1 cup buttermilk and 3-4 dashes of hot sauce (more or less, depending on your tastes). Marinate for at least an hour.

**Tip for making a buttermilk substitute - combine 1 cup milk with a tablespoon of vinegar and let sit for about 15 minutes.  I never have actual buttermilk at home, so this is always what I do instead.

Next combine flour, seasoning salt and mix.  Next add the buttermilk and stir with a fork to combine. Trust me.

Coat each chicken strip in the flour mix.  When oil is hot (medium heat) add the chicken strips, just a few at a time.

Don't crowd the pan.  Cook it in batches


Cook (in batches) until nice and brown then flip and do the same to the other side.  You want them nice and brown so don't rush it. Depending on the size of your pan, it may take 3-4 batches to get them all done but it's worth the time and effort.

Make sure you leave it in long enough to get that golden delicious crust

Place on a plate covered with a few paper towels. Eat.  Every last one of them.

I served the chicken with baby lima beans, collard greens, mashed potatoes, and homemade bread.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Apple Crisp



My go to dessert will always have chocolate in it.  But my husband loves dessert with fruits. He's especially fond of apple crisps, so I decided to try my hand at it.  I looked at a lot of different recipes and combined them and changed them based on what I had in my pantry.  I love the results and will definitely make it again soon.

Apple mix
5 cups apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used Granny Smith)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
juice from 1/2 med lemon

topping
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). 
Mix the apples, sugars (1/4 each brown and white), flour (1 1/2 teaspoon), and cinnamon together and place in a 8x8 pan. Sprinkle lemon juice on top. 

For the topping, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and butter together.  Crumble evenly over apple mixture.  Bake about 45 minutes.

Serve with a big scoop of ice cream.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Meatloaf

Lately, I've been craving comfort foods.  I'm sure it's because I'm so far from home and everything familiar to me.  Fine.  Comfort foods it is!  And this meat loaf is awesome! The sauce is so yummy that I doubled it and put half on the meatloaf and heated the other half and added more to the finished product once it was on my plate.  Delicious!

meat loaf
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/3 c panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 garlic cloved, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
dash worcheshire sauce
1/3 cup whole milk

Sauce
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed firm (to taste)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon cumin
1 dash worcheshire
1 dash hot sauce

 Preheat oven to 350°F.  Saute onion, carrot, and garlic until soft.  Cool then combine with remaining meat loaf ingredients and place into a loaf baking dish. Combine sauce ingredients and pour on top of meatloaf. Bake at 350°F about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes/ until done.



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