Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Southern Festival Queen Are You?

Summer is the season for fairs and festivals! Southern Living sent a cute e-mail quiz that will tell you what Southern Festival Queen you are by picking your favorite celebrities and a color. You can take this fun little six question quiz HERE.
The sashes might be hard to read, the choices are: Crawfish Queen, Miss Georgia Peach, 
Absolutely No Idea What This Says Queen (I'm told it's Rattlesnake Rodeo Queen:@), Miss Biscuit, Miss Sea & Sand and Miss Vidalia Onion.

Well butter my buns and call me Miss Biscuit! Apparently I'm:
You're a buttery thing who loves to jam. 

Let us know which tiara you'll be wearing! 
If anyone gets the third one, please let me know what it says...
Oh, and do I have to tell you which Muppet I voted for???

Have a happy day:@)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fresh Blueberry Pie with Oatmeal Crumble Topping-Birthday Pie #3

My sons have June and July birthdays (13 months apart to the day) and as I mentioned we're big pie fans here. The request was for something berry with oatmeal... Jersey blueberries are in season so I whipped up a Fresh Blueberry Pie with Oatmeal Crumble Topping. We loved this pie, especially that it wasn't overly sweet and the oatmeal topping was toasted and full of flavor. I look forward to making this again!
My son turned the big 3~0 this year and I thought this silly B-Day hat wearing pie bird would get a few laughs...
mission accomplished:@) 
I hot glued the hat on after the pie cooled.
I hope you had some fun in the kitchen too!

Fresh Blueberry Pie with Oatmeal Crumble Topping
2 pints fresh blueberries, picked through, stems removed, washed and dried
1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 C sugar
3 generous Tblsp A/P flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
1 unbaked pie crust

Topping-adapted from Chow:
1/2 C old fashioned oats
1/2 C brown sugar-I removed 1 Tblsp after I measured it
1/3 C A/P flour
4 Tblsp butter-I let it sit out while I got the pie together
dash of salt
  1. Mix berries with lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Let sit while making crust. 
  2. Use whatever crust you like. Place pie crust in 9" pie dish. 
  3. Pour berries into crust. Fresh blueberries aren't very wet so you'll have to keep sprinkling the sugar/flour mixture over them in the pie plate as you fill it.
  4. Mix the topping until chunky, I find fingers work best... Distribute evenly over top of pie.
  5. Bake at whatever temperature your crust recommends for 50-60 minutes. 
Notes-so I'll remember what I did next year
  • I made a half batch of crust and subbed a couple Tblsp butter for some of the shortening. This way I could bake it at a lower temperature so the topping didn't burn. (G-Mom-B's 2 Crust Recipe: 2 C A/P flour, cut in 2/3 C shortening, just enough water to make it crumbly yet come together. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour). 
  • I baked the pie at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduced the temperature to 375 for another 40 minutes (started checking it at 30 minutes...). Next year make I'll try the second temp at 350.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Zucchini Crusted Pizza Casserole-Low Carb and Gluten Free

It's that time of year when people come home to find bags of zucchini on their doorstep-thanks Ma! While it was hard to talk myself out of some more Fried Zucchini, I thought I'd make something different in the name of blog fodder:@) This Zucchini Crusted Pizza Casserole was surprisingly great and a good amount of the 153 reviews said kids like it too! Once you make the zucchini crust you can add anything you normally like on pizza.
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This casserole is a very tasty, nice alternative to traditional pizza and a great way to enjoy a zucchini or two! The key to being happy with this meal is really squeezing the liquid out of the zucchini. I literally grab small handfuls and squeeze really hard, you'll be surprised at how much liquid comes out.
The recipe is easily cut in half, bake in an 8x8 pan.
I think my leftovers will be mixed with some elbow macaroni for lunch on Monday.

Zucchini Crusted Pizza Casserole-adapted from Taste of Home
4 C shredded zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 C mozzeralla, divided
1 C cheddar, divided-I didn't use this
1 lb ground beef
1/2 C onion, diced
15oz can of your favorite pizza/spaghetti sauce
As many of your favorite toppings as you'd like:@)
  1. Place zucchini in colander, sprinkle with salt, stir well. Put a bowl or plate over it and press it down with a couple 28oz cans. (This gets the draining started.)
  2. After 25-30 minutes, squeeze the liquid out of handfuls of zucchini and add to a bowl. Stir in the eggs, parm and half of the mozz and cheddar. I added a little black pepper, garlic powder and light sprinkle of Italian herbs too. Mix well and press into a 9x13 pan. 
  3. Bake at 400 degrees in upper part of oven for 23 minutes.
  4. While that's in the oven, brown the hamburger and onion, drain fat. Add pizza sauce and scrape up any brown bits. 
  5. Pour the meat over the zucchini, sprinkle with cheese, add toppings and bake for another 20 minutes. 

Sneak those veggies to the kids and have a happy day:@)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Planter Purging

Well folks, with the exception of cherry tomatoes the first wave of planter goodies is done. The cukes were looking sad and not producing any more and I just had to give up any hope of getting jalapenos (luckily bags full are still $1.25 at the produce store:@) So I cleaned it out and I'll be looking for some stringless pole green bean seeds on Saturday, hopefully they'll have enough time to mature, we will find out.
Planter Garden Experiment 2014

I also moved the last scrawny zucchini plant into the planter, just curious to see if it grows any better in there.
This was a fun, manageable little project and I've enjoyed watching everything grow this summer.
Have a happy day:@)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fried Zucchini with Cornmeal

If you search Pig In Mud you'll only find one recipe that's truly deep fried, the donuts HERE. Oh I might fry/saute some veggies in bacon fat here or there, but I'm talking about taking the plunge into deep fat frying... Well here's the second recipe and I loved every single bite! This Fried Zucchini with Cornmeal was different for few reasons: 1. There were no wet ingredients other than the cut edges of the zukes and onions, so it's a little lighter... 2. The onion rings add amazing flavor to the oil! 3. The cornmeal makes them crispy and you might just ask yourself, is this really zucchini???
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While I don't encourage eating like this often, what a fun splurge-especially since I was gifted the zuke from my son's garden! I chose to dress it with nothing more than a nice sprinkling of kosher salt but don't doubt spaghetti sauce or ranch dressing for dipping would be great too. Just when I was about to say I wasn't feeling the love for zucchini this summer... this recipe came along and changed that! I think you'll like it if you try it folks:@)

Fried Zucchini with Cornmeal-from Allrecipes
2 zucchini, sliced, either 1/4" rounds or approx 1/4" wedges-I deseeded mine
1 onion sliced into rings, at least 1/4" thick
1/2 C A/P flour
1/2 C cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
a couple shakes of cayenne-optional
1 C vegetable oil for frying
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in large bowl, add zucchini and onion, add lid and shake well.
  2. Let sit for 30 minutes so a batter forms on the veggies (I kept giving it an additional shake).
  3. Heat oil in medium skillet and fry veggies in a few batches (a cast iron skillet works really well for this). Check after a couple minutes and turn the veggies once the bottom gets nice and golden brown.
  4. Drain on paper towels and add an additional sprinkling of salt.
Enjoy something a little naughty every once in a while and have a happy day:@)

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Swingin' Spoolie Ornaments for All Seasons-Christmas in July

I'm a big sucker for Christmas in July, it has always tickled me. Since my little Swingin' Spoolie Bunny was popular at Easter I decided to whip up a Christmas and Halloween version too:@) It's never too early to start crafting for the holidays!

I thought the Santa turned out cute but hope to only use this toothpick head until I find something I like better. Have you noticed that some of the new bump chenille isn't as thick as it used to be? Santa kinda looks like he's been on a diet... Someone give that man a candy cane! 

The Zombies are back!!! These goofy little finger puppets still crack the three year old in me up and I'll probably pick up another pack of them if I see them again this year. True confession time: I'm getting excited thinking about setting up my Halloween tree... I started a list of new ornament craft ideas, there are 15 cute ideas on it so far and I'm thinking about using Caution Tape as my garland this year!

The Boys from Last Year:

The Swingin' Spoolies are simple to make: 
  1. Add some glitter bling to the edges of the spools, let it dry.
  2. Fold bump chinelle in half for legs and hot glue to spool. Roll up tips of pipe cleaner for feet if desired.
  3. Make a circle/oval with a regular pipe cleaner for belly, hot glue that to the legs.
  4. Use bump chinelle for arms, hot glue to top of torso. 
  5. Glue on head.
  6. Feed ribbon (or something for hanging) through the hole of the spool to act as the rope and tie a knot in the top of it.
  7. Wrap the tip of the pipe cleaner arms around the rope like hands. (Or Super Glue the hands to the rope if using a plastic character like the Zombie head. Hot glue doesn't work well with the rubbery/plastic.)
  8. Add any other little decorative embellishments you have.
Happy Crafting and Christmas in July everyone:@)

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Grilled Fresh Green Beans and Saturday Snipits

100 years ago I had a little George Foreman Grill and believe it or not I used it often, but when the boys moved out I gave it to them. They were on sale at Target for $17 so I grabbed one, that's $3 cheaper than when I bought my first one! This makes four grills at my house... I'm concerned the boys may be planning an intervention:@) But I do use them all. First up to take the GF for a test drive, my garden planter provided these Grilled Fresh Green Beans, I loved the char and that they still had a little bite to them. This variety of bean grew flatter and that was even nice for the grill. Alternately, if you have a grill basket, you could cut them into bite size pieces and grill them outside.
Cleaning tip: While the George (or any indoor grill) is still hot place wet paper towels or a wet dish cloth on the bottom plate and close the top. As you eat the residual heat will steam and loosen up the burnt on bits and make it easier to clean.

Planter update: My baby has fully matured and at this point in time gives me a handful of cherry tomatoes a day, the beans are still blooming and producing and the cukes seem to be winding down. I think it could use some fertilizer... The jalapeno plant was a bust, it never did get very big and something snipped it in half a week ago. I moved one very small zucchini into the planter only because I was curious and didn't have anything to lose by transplanting it.

Thumb update: Thank you for your kind words and well wishes! I am pleased to report that after spending some time with it unbandaged and pointed at the sun it's drying out and beginning to heal! Hopefully some of the tenderness will be gone by Monday and I'll begin to feel like myself again... The only thing is, missing this huge divot off my thumb kinda kills any dream I might have had of becoming a hand model:@) Oh well, life goes on!

Grilled Green Beans
  1. Clean and trim ends off string beans (and de-string if necessary, I found this year the cheap packs of seeds had strings, both snow peas and beans).
  2. Mix with sliced onion, minced garlic, a few shakes of crushed red pepper (optional), olive oil to coat and S&P. How much of each? As much as you'd like!
  3. Grill until charred and beginning to soften up.
  4. An additional sprinkle of salt before serving is optional but highly recommended!
Have a happy day everyone:@)