Monday, September 19, 2011

Almost Free Food!

The Crab Catcher and Chef!
Fresh from the pot!
For Christmas a few years back, Santa brought Michael a crab trap.  As you know we live near the water and are blessed to have a friend with a dock on the river!  Last weekend Michael loaded the trap up with chicken necks (1.30) and dumped it in.  We were rewarded with 27 absolutely delicious fresh Blue Claw Crabs!  Michael makes up his own Old Bay Seasoning and boils the crabs.  The pictures don't do justice to the yumminess that is seafood fresh out of the water.  After 2 days of eatting crabs, we passed on the rest to our youngest daughter who is alllllllll about free food!

Dinner is ready!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bears New Temporary Friend

Please let me introduce you to Dooley.  He is a 5 year old Labradoodle that we are fostering for a wonderful rescue called Daisy's Place, a group that devotes itself to Retrievers and mixes 6 years old and up.  Older dogs can be hard to find permanent homes for since so many folks are under the misconception that they don't have much time to live and really don't do anything.  I am here to tell you otherwise.  Before I adopted Bear, there was not a golden (or mix) that joined our family that was under the age of 8.  They were busy and Angel whom we adopted at 8 lived to be 16 and certainly got into her share of mischief!  You can visit the website at
Dooley is one big hunk of love! Even though he has the poodle coat he has a Lab personality and certainly a Lab rudder tail! He likes playing with tennis balls, wrestling with Bear, chasing Bear, being chased by Bear, napping by Bear, following Michael around, following me around, following Bear around. No, we do not need to adopt him.  If you have ever considered fostering for a rescue or shelter, you should do it.  Yes, it can be difficult to let them go (sometime) but you have given a dog a chance at life!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Lesson In Frugality

When I go grocery shopping (or fooding as the daughter calls it) I try to squeeze every penny until it cries uncle.  Two weeks ago on my bi-weekly outing, pancake mix was on the list.  Ever since we found out that Michael's cholesterol was high we have used Aunt Jemima Complete.  We found that it had the lowest amount of bad stuff in it and no out the window went the Bisquick (which required eggs) and in came the Aunt Jemima.  For the last 3 years or so it has been the pancake mix of choice.  The pancakes or waffles turn out light and fluffy but best of all, they taste good.  So there I stood in the grocery store...Aunt Jemima wasn't on sale so it was going to be 2.49 for the box...a little further down the shelf was Hungry Jack and it was on sale.  I could save a whole 50 cents if I purchased it.  I actually stood there and debated...Aunt Jemima...Hungry Jack?  Hmmmmmmmm.  Well, my cheapness got the best of me and I picked up the sale box. 

We enjoy Sunday breakfast together.  Usually I do not need to be at work until later in the day so the morning is breakfast, the newspaper, coffee and time spent together.  Michael is the breakfast chef and he does an outstanding job at it.  Yesterday was pancakes and bacon.  Out of the closet came the Hungry Jack...he read the directions, measured carefully and started cooking.  Bear was quite excited since bacon was involved and he keeps a constant vigil in case the bacon fairy shows up and rewards his patience.  The cooking was done..we sat down to our meal.  About 3 bites into the pancakes I realized my stomach was starting feel quite full.  The pancakes were not the same...even Michael had difficulty finishing his.  Gone were our light and fluffy pancakes, instead they were gritty and heavy. 

I have actually been thinking about brand loyalty a lot lately.  There are certain things I just can't go cheap on.  Ketchup is always Heinz, mayo is almost always Hellman's and up to this experiment pancake mix was always Aunt Jemima.  I have tried buying different brands of certain things to save money but...they seem to wind up costing me more in the long run.  Cheap toilet paper..a definite no, cheap sponges..NO.  The list goes on and on.  Cheaper is not always the less expensive option!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Measuring Up

One of the biggest blogging challenges I have found is not cooking but instead measuring and writing down what I am putting in the food we eat.  If I am not following a recipe, I am a little of this little of that kind of gal.  Chances are, if we have something good that was just sort of created in the kitchen, I will have a hard time duplicating it. 

Michael and I have very different cooking styles.  When he cooks, he has all the measuring cups and spoons out and he holds the clear cup up to make sure he is exactly on the line.  I must admit, this sometimes drives me crazy, but in a good way.  Who can complain when someone you love is fixing you food and good tasting food at that?

So I guess the point tonight is, there have been some great meals here in the past week or so but, I have not measured a dern thing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shrimp Filled Deviled Eggs And The Church Chicks

Tonight, I am meeting with a group of my Lady friends for what is called "The Church Chicks".  Some in the group disapprove of this name but I am rather fond of it.  Michael likes to call it "The Dinner Divas"which I think sounds far worse.  We get together about once a month at someones house and everyone brings something to eat or some wine (you can never have enough wine).  You never know what will show up or how many ladies will come but somehow it always works out.   We sit around drinking wine, eating great food and visiting.

Every time I go, I think ahead of what to make but always wind up in a panic situation on the given day.  This time is different!  I decided to bring deviled eggs.  Now southerners claim ownership of deviled eggs but I, a confirmed Yankee, have always eaten deviled eggs.  My mother and grandmother (both definitely Yankees) made deviled eggs and I have seen deviled egg recipes on a food blog I follow from the UK.  I suspect deviled eggs are not really southern.


6 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon French's mustard
dash Tabasco sauce
salt, to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
6 medium cooked shrimp, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped

Cut peeled eggs lengthwise into halves. Slip out yolks; mash with fork. Stir in Miracle Whip, mustard, Tabasco, garlic powder and salt; taste and adjust seasonings.
Stir in shrimp and minced green onions. Fill whites with egg yolk mixture, forming a slightly rounded top, or pipe through a decorative pastry bag or cookie shooter.
Arrange on a serving dish.
Cover tightly and refrigerate.
Garnish with paprika and chopped fresh parsley before serving, if desired.
Yields 12 deviled eggs.
Submitted by: CM
So I started with this.  Miracle Whip is not allowed in this house, we are Hellman's through and we only use brown mustards (ewwww yellow mustard is only allowed at the ballpark!).  The only other adjustments I made were some pepper and minced yellow onion and capers to replace the green onions.  I pulled out the old Mirro Cookie Press and viola, they even look good!  I quess the best part was they are pretty dern tasty!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Free Fun On The First Friday!

We like to have fun and do different things.  Of course if they are free even better!  Charleston is home to many art galleries.  Some of them have what I call tourist art and than there are the others.  I prefer non tourist art and many of the galleries have some wonderful pieces that fit in this category!

Tonight is the first Friday of the month so that means its time for the First Friday on Broad Art Walk. Tonight from 8 to 5, the galleries along historic Broad Street open their doors to all. There is art, wine and nibbles.  Best of all it's FREE!!

We will be meeting up with some friends to stroll downtown and take in the scenery, the art and the free wine!  What do you like to do in your hometown that's free?


The Missing Week

Somehow the week got away from me!  Sorry about that...

There has been some cooking going on here, most of it has been recipes tried before but they were adjusted a tad to use what we had leftover in the house.  Saturday night we grilled.  A few weeks ago I bought some Argentinian pink shrimp and it has been sitting in the freezer, I also had a yellow squash that had to be used before it became a science experiment.  We took the squash, some mushrooms (on sale at Harris Teeter for 97 cents) a third of a green pepper, quarter of an onion sectioned and grape tomatoes that we cut in half (also on sale for 97 cents) carefully skewered them drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with some salt and freshly ground pepper and a splash of lemon juice.  This actually made 4 12"bamboo skewers full of veggies.  They got grilled for about 15 to 20 minutes turned a few times.  After they were done cooking Michael put the shrimp in the grill basket and cooked them for maybe 8 to 10 minutes.  When they were done, he put them in the marinade left over from the veggies.  There really is a difference between farmed and fresh shrimp.  These almost tasted like lobster...they were spectacular!  I was kicking myself for not having bought more than one pound.

We had some leftovers...what to do with them????  Well, Tuesday we had calzones!  This time based on my daughters advice, I did put some sauce inside the calzone to stop the dryness and it worked!  I also chopped up all the leftover veggies and shrimp and added them to the cheese mixture.  It was definetly a win in more ways than one.  We had a yummy meal, it didn't cost much and we used up the leftovers.  We had 4 large calzones which fed us for 2 meals!