Category Archives: Side Dishes

Carol’s Corn Chowder

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, NY  I  Saturday, 14 January 2017

Lately, I’ve felt like eating soup all the time. It’s sooo comforting, after Christmas is over and the bleak, grey, bitter-cold reality of January sets in. I only know how to make one kind of soup, corn chowder. This, of course, isn’t counting a brief foray into French Onion Soup in the 90s. (When my date wasn’t super impressed, I moved on. From French Onion Soup and him. Ha!)

I’ve also felt like eating soup a lot lately because I got a fabulous set of gumbo spoons for Christmas. (Gumbo spoons are big, like soup spoons, but rounder.) They’re in the Oneida Evening Star pattern from 1950, which was one of my mom’s wedding silverware designs. They’re so pretty and shiny, I just want to use them all the time!

I just made a big batch of corn chowder recently, because my local, small-town library has a soup sale every Wednesday evening in January. Patrons donate big batches of soup and the Library Director sets up the large community room with all kinds of Crock-Pots to keep the soups warm.

The soup sale is eagerly anticipated each year, by staff and patrons alike. It’s something to look forward to when the post-holiday blues try to creep in.

You can buy a pint of soup for $4, or a quart for $7, and they even throw in some French bread slices, too. Isn’t that a great idea for a fundraiser?

I don’t really have a recipe for my corn chowder, I just wing it. And I call it Carol’s Corn Chowder, because my mom says she liked to have a pot of this on in the church kitchen when she knew there were going to be visitors who had a long drive home. It’s easy and filling, plus you can easily stretch it if more people show up than you expected.

All I do is saute some diced onions in butter in a medium-sized Revere Ware frying pan while I’m boiling some diced, skinned potatoes to about halfway done. I cut up some hot dogs, or Smokies when I’m feeling rich and fancy, and put them in with the onions.

Everything goes into a large pot at this point.

Then I dump in some cans of creamed corn and drained regular corn, along with the drained potatoes. I stir the mixture a lot, and try to get it thoroughly warmed through before adding some milk and/or half and half. I don’t add any salt, because I figure canned corn already has plenty of sodium.

The only way you can really go wrong is if you boil the soup after adding the milk and get that creepy milk skin. So, after you add the milk or half and half, keep the heat low and stir it constantly, just until warmed through.

Voila, Carol’s Corn Chowder! It’s cheap, easy, and delicious, a great prescription for the January blues.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE]
This post was originally entitled Churchy Corn Chowder, when it was first published 14 January 2017.

Post name was later changed to Carol’s Corn Chowder and light edits were made.

Carol passed away 25 September 2017. This post was republished 25 September 2020, in her memory.

She was a wonderful cook, and is sorely missed by her family and friends. Rest easy, Mama.

 

Fried Apples-n-Onions-n-Potatoes

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Thursday, 19 July 2018

If you’ve ever read Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, you already know about fried apples and onions.

Farmer Boy is the story of Almanzo Wilder, the boy who grew up to become Laura’s husband. It takes place in 1866, in Malone, New York, which is on the eastern side of the state, very close to Canada. (Cold, brrr!)

Almanzo’s family was quite comfortable, especially when compared to Laura’s family, but they also worked very hard to make a success of their farm. Mrs. Wilder was a provident housewife, and Mr. Wilder was a smart and prosperous farmer. The children did their part, as well, and there was much work to be done.

The Wilders ate very well, and there was never a shortage of food at their house. As Laura writes the story, she takes great care to describe the food Almanzo and his family ate, and there was always a bountiful feast.

Compared with Laura’s family, Almanzo’s family was quite wealthy, and she describes their meals in dreamlike, wistful detail.

One of Almanzo’s favorite dishes, when he was a boy, was Fried Apples and Onions. In the book, Laura describes one time when he’s working very hard in the barns and fantasizing ahead to breakfast, just hoping his mother will make his favorite dish.

Then, when he finishes his chores and goes inside the farmhouse for breakfast, voila! His mother has made Fried Apples and Onions!

I’ve made this dish quite a few times before, starting with when I discovered The Little House Cookbook, by Barbara Walker, at my local library.

But then, many years ago, I started thinking about Grandpa Darrel’s Sheepherder Potatoes, which is a combination of fried potatoes and onions. I wondered what would happen if I combined the two recipes? Well, it turned out great!

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Lick-the-Bowl-Clean Potato Salad

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Monday, 7 May 2018

I’ve never been a fan of potato salad, and I’ve only eaten two potato salads I even care to remember.

The first was made by my Aunt Bonnie, when we went on a picnic with her, many moons ago, when Thing 1 was just a toddler. I never did get the recipe from her, but she told me she always used red potatoes.

The second memorable potato salad was at a community picnic in Green River, Utah, on Pioneer Day 2009. I didn’t get that recipe, either, but I do remember it had huge chunks of dill pickle in it, and it was sooo good.

But somehow, I’ve been sure I SHOULD like potato salad. And I’ve long had a sneaking suspicion that in order to be known as a really good cook, I should have a to-die-for potato salad recipe in my arsenal, but I didn’t. And I didn’t much care.

Until now. Until I stumbled upon a link to an interesting-looking recipe in one of my Facebook recipe groups. And since the month of May is upon us, bringing with it picnic season, I thought I should give it a whirl, just for kicks.

I cautiously halved the recipe. I was pretty sure Thing 2 wouldn’t touch it, and I didn’t want to waste a bunch of potatoes and eggs, in case it turned out yucky.

But, much to my surprise, it didn’t. It turned out sooo delicious, after I ate my first serving I licked the bowl clean. (Shhh! I wouldn’t have done that if I was in PUBLIC, of course, hahaha!)

Next time I made the recipe, I cooked up a full batch, and made some modifications, to make the recipe feel more my own.

I’m on my third bowl today. Hey! It’s really yummy! And the recipe is just too good not to share, especially since Memorial Day and the summer picnic season is upon us.

Warning: this is not low calorie, and it’s not one of those quick-and-easy recipes. It takes some time. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill in the fridge overnight! I sneak a bowl right after I make it, but it truly tastes even better the next day.

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Boston Baked Beans!

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Thursday, 29 March 2018

I’ve been wanting a bean pot for quite some time now, as you can tell from previous blogs. So the other day, a big box came in the mail, left handily on my porch steps by the mailman.

I brought it upstairs, sure it was Christmas in March. Hey! We’ve had so much snow this month, it might as well be December. That might explain why I still have some ornaments hanging on the door of my china closet. Yeah…

Anyways, I gleefully tore into the box, and guess what was in it? My very own Hull bean pot, complete with intact lid. Yay! I immediately planned to fulfill my fantasy of becoming a colonial New England woman. Well, all except the no running water bit. Ha!

I put half a bag of white beans to soak Saturday morning, after consulting a couple of cookbooks. Now, mind you, I’ve made baked beans before, and it’s not for the impatient at heart, as I so often am. In the past, they’ve always turned out a bit too hard.

I changed the water over the beans a couple of times, then boiled them for a bit. Then, I chopped up a medium-sized onion, putting half of it in a layer in the bottom of the bean pot. Next thing, I drained the beans, reserving the juice in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup.

Into the pot went the beans! Then I poured in some molasses, without even measuring, and sprinkled in some dark brown sugar I had left over from cookies. Lastly, I mixed in the other half of the chopped onion and poured in as much of the reserved bean juice as the pot would hold.

Before putting the bean pot into the oven, I put it on a cookie sheet. I had three reasons:

First, it made it easier to transport the pot into and out of the oven. I envisioned the pot would be a bit slippery, especially after it got hot.

Second, there’s nothing worse than burned-on spills on the bottom of your oven. The cookie sheet would catch any overflow.

Third, the only way the pot would fit into my small oven was if it was on the bottom rack, and it can get too hot down there. Just ask my dinner guests, we’ve burned a batch of homemade stuffing and also some beautiful bread, by putting it on that bottom rack. I figured the cookie sheet would disperse some of the heat.

So, onto a cookie sheet and into the oven the bean pot went, on low heat, Saturday evening, and I let them bake a long time. Yum, they smelled so good! I tasted a few spoonfuls, and they were coming along nicely.

Now, the goal, as a would-be colonial New Englander, is to arrive home from church to a house that smells wonderful, and a pot of beans that’s piping hot.

I will admit, I went against the rules and turned them off before going to church on Sunday morning, because sometimes my arrival time back home can be a bit…unpredictable. I knew I had a lot of photocopying to do after church, and sometimes there are impromptu meetings.

I felt paranoid about burning them, or exploding my brand-new bean pot. If Imagunna ruin a recipe, I’d rather it be at the very beginning, and not at the end.

So, when we finally arrived back home Sunday afternoon, I turned the oven back on and warmed them up. Oh, and I added in some chopped up bits of bacon. A colonial woman would have used salt pork.

Thing 2 wouldn’t touch ’em (“Mom! You know I’m not a fan of beans!”), but I’m just glad he’s been eating the rice dishes I’ve made lately, and quite happily so. One thing at a time, I guess.

I ladled a very healthy dose of Boston Baked Beans into my favorite Hull Pottery bowl. They tasted delicious, and were nice and soft, just the right consistency, with a thick, rich sauce, chock-full of onions and bacon bits. Mmmmm!

And later that evening, the sister missionaries from my church came over, to try some of them. We ate them with spaghetti squash, the first time I’ve ever had it. I liked it!

So happy with my first attempt at making beans the old fashioned way, in a bean pot. Wouldn’t a pot of these taste great at a summer BBQ, next to some hot dogs and hamburgers and a big bowl of Lori’s Cashew Cauliflower Salad?

And I’m sure summer is just around the corner. The snow is starting to melt, and last night Thing 2 noticed it was still light out at 7 pm…

 

Mmm, Mmm, Mashed Motatoes!

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Columbia County, NY  I  Monday, 20 November 2017

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, coming up this Thursday! Let’s begin the countdown to America’s favorite holiday.

Mashed potatoes. Let’s talk about creamy, buttery, fluffy, warm mashed potatoes. (“Mmm, mmm, mashed motatoes!” is a direct quote from Thing 1 when he was a little guy.)

I’ve noticed that mashed potatoes take FORever to warm back up. So, how do you keep them warm for your Thanksgiving Day feast, right up until serving time?

I learned this nifty trick from Martha Stewart Living magazine many years ago…

Use this method to create your own double boiler and you can keep the potatoes warm for hours, as long as you periodically check the water level in the bottom of the boiler.

First, get the potatoes all cooked, mashed, and stirred up with milk or sour cream or whatever is the secret spice or ingredient of your choice . My old boss, Trevor, he swears by his mother’s addition of cream cheese and eagerly looks forward to her special mashed potatoes each Thanksgiving.

Second, spoon the mashed potatoes loosely into a heatproof bowl. You could use a Pyrex, Anchor Hocking, or Fire King bowl, but I prefer to use stainless steel, to be extra safe and guard against breakage.

Third, choose a sauce pan which your heatproof bowl will nest on, along with a pan lid that fits snugly on top of the heatproof bowl.

Get some water rapidly boiling in the sauce pan and then turn it down to low and simmer, so it doesn’t evaporate too fast. Make sure the water level is low enough so that it never touches the bottom of the bowl.

To clarify, from burner up, the order goes:

1) 4-quart sauce pan with simmering, NOT boiling, water
2) medium-sized stainless steel bowl with mashed potatoes
(make a well in the center for more thorough and even heating)
3) pan lid from a 10″ frying pan or stock pot.

When it’s finally glorious meal time, you could put the stainless steel bowl right on the table, after carefully wiping off the water’s condensation.

Make sure to place a dishtowel or hot pad such that it’s touching the bowl, to indicate the bowl is hot and to prevent someone from accidentally getting burned.

Also, if you choose this method, it’s the best idea to get everyone’s attention at at once and tell them the bowl is hot and not to touch it, just like they do at restaurants, when your server brings an especially hot entree.

Place the hot bowl on a trivet or dishtowel at the center of the table, where everyone can reach it (for small tables, 4-6 people), or designate one person to serve the potatoes onto your guests’ plates (for larger tables of over six people), so the hot bowl doesn’t have to be touched or passed around.

You could also spoon some of the potatoes into a smaller, cooler, more decorative serving bowl, and then replenish after everyone has taken their first helping of mash.

This method works much better than trying to keep mashed potatoes warm in a Crock-Pot (the top can get kinda caramelized and icky from being in a Crock-Pot too long) or in a regular pan on the stove top.

At the last minute before guests arrive, I want to be relaxing and putting on my lipstick, then attending to the tiny details, like lighting candles on the tables and in the guest bathroom, starting my playlist, giving the salad a final toss, or tweaking the place settings to perfection.

I DO NOT want to be frantically sweating over the stove, draining and mashing the potatoes.

Try this method, you’ll love it, I promise! And it’ll give you one less last-minute task to attend to, which is always a good thing.

And BTW, this year I’m using Yukon Gold potatoes. I’ve discovered they have an inherently buttery flavor and a yellower color than mashed potatoes made with regular Russets.

Now, the only question is, skins on or skins off?

Which do YOU prefer?

 

EMMA CHRISTINA: The Things I Carried

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Ghent, NY  I  Thursday, 19 October 2017

The oval, cut-glass bowl on the top left came from Goodwill in Greenport, NY. The gorgeous cut-glass dish on the top right belonged to my father’s mother, my Grandma Emma Christina. She gave it to my mother, Carol, and now, finally, it’s been passed down to me!

The two pretty dishes on the bottom came from Deseret Industries, a thrift store in Utah. The rectangle tray, on the left, is pressed glass. The oval fanlight or sunburst on the right is cut glass.

When you’re traveling cross country by airplane, like I did earlier this month, you have to decide what to put in your carry-on luggage, and what to check.

Because, as we all know, sometimes the airlines lose your checked luggage. Sometimes it turns up hours or days later. But sometimes, it’s never found again. In December of 1995, my garment bag, containing all my favorite dresses, it disappeared into thin air and was never seen again. Thank goodness I learned this lesson early in life, and only with clothes!

So, when I was flying on this trip, I carried with me my white Herschel backpack, the one I got on a fantastic sale at Urban Outfitters, which used to be by my work in downtown Salt Lake City. I paid $20 for a bag which was $75 normally.

Can we talk about pockets? “Because you know how a bear feels about pockets!”

One of the things I loved about my new backpack was all the pockets, right down to a fleece-lined pouch in the very top, perfect for sunglasses and reading glasses, a fleece-lined laptop slot, and all kinds of other little zippered and tabbed pockets, plus a key clip. It’s lined with red-and-white stripes, a signature of the Herschel brand.

Anyhoo, on this trip, in my backpack, I carried:
-some old family photos
-my mother’s little dark-blue suede high school diploma
-two pieces of her wedding silverware. (The dinner knife was confiscated by TSA and I had to mail it to myself from the airport.)
-Black Beauty, my treasured Fujifilm X30 camera
-a bunch of camera cards
-a composition book (I use them to plan events.)
-my keys
-my wallet
-my journal
-an assortment of pencils, pens, and Sharpies
-some snacks
-October issues of Martha Stewart Living and Southern Living. I love me some fall magazines, I do!
-my Chromebook, which fell out of my carry-on tote and into an overhead bin, getting left behind. It had to be retrieved by a ramp attendant, panic!

But in a separate black Barnes & Noble book quote tote bag, I carried some other pieces I treasure too much to leave behind, and far too much to put in checked baggage. Three dishes: one of them pressed glass, two of them cut glass. I have a large collection of pretty, clear-glass dishes, picked up at thrift stores for 50 cents here, $1 there. (It’s all Cami’s fault! Her mother got me started on this hobby. But that’s an entirely separate blog.)

But these three are my absolute favorites, and I simply must have them on my table at Thanksgiving this year. My pickles and olives demand the best!

Last October, as I was moving to New York, I was determined to take two of these favorite, fancy-glass dishes, and placed them on the table for last-minute packing in a carry-on bag. But, after a rough all-nighter of closing out my apartment into storage and suitcases, then turning the place over to Thing 1 and his best friend, I was just too tired, too rushed, and too stressed to pack them.

They got left behind on the table, and I’ve missed them so.

This past trip west, earlier this month, I went to Thing 1’s apartment in Salt Lake City to drop off a bag of BLT fixins from our favorite sandwich shop in New York. (That’s a story for another day. Or another blog, as well. Or whatever.) I ransacked his cupboards until I found the two dishes.

They were coming with me this time.

Up at my parents’ house in northern Utah, two of The Rockets helped me pack at the end of my stay, before driving me, my father, and Thing 2 to my friend Tina’s house, to spend the night before flying back to New York. What good friends I have, truly. Anita took the task of wrapping the three dishes carefully in newspaper and plastic grocery bags.

Pretty sure she wanted the chance to admire them up close, since she likes antiques as much as I do!

I can’t wait to see them on the table this Thanksgiving, holding Cranberry-Orange Relish, dill pickles, sweet pickles, and black olives…

Welcome to Emma Christina @ My Copper Kitchen! New features will be available on an intermittent basis, whenever I inherit a cool dish owned by my paternal grandmother, Emma Christina. I will also feature newly acquired dishes from her era which I think she would have liked.

She, a lovely Swedish lady who died before I was born, she loved cooking and gathering her many children around her Craftsman table, with its four leaves.

I’m told that sometimes, when Emma Christina felt bad and life was wearing her down, she would head to the Implement and put a nickel down on a dish. Kinda like me, her youngest granddaughter, heading to a thrift store and picking up something inexpensive to buoy my spirits, something special and beautiful, all for 50 cents…

[REFERENCES]
“You know how a bear feels about pockets” is a line taken from the wonderful children’s book, A Pocket for Corduroy, written and illustrated by Don Freeman. I highly recommend it, and its predecessor, Corduroy, for all the children in your life.

The first book, Corduroy, was groundbreaking in that the main character, a little girl named Lisa, she and her mother are obviously not white, probably African American or Hispanic. They live in an apartment in the city, several flights up.

Considering the white-picket-fence, blond-haired, blue-eyed Dick and Jane books (used to teach children to read in the 1930s through 1970s), Corduroy is welcomingly inclusive of ethnic children who live in large cities.

Plus, Don Freeman’s artwork, scratchy black-and-white outlines, filled in with color, is truly delightful.

[VALERIE RECOMMENDS]
I love Herschel backpacks!
https://herschel.com/shop/backpacks/pop-quiz-backpack?v=10011-00001-OS

[RELATED MCK POSTS]
Read Finding 50: The Things I Carried, at:
https://mycopperkitchencom.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/finding-50-the-things-i-carried/

Read more about Grandma Emma Christina at:
A Word About Windows
https://mycopperkitchencom.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/anatevka-girl-on-architecture-and-design-a-word-about-windows/

Learn how to make Cranberry-Orange Relish for Thanksgiving at:
https://mycopperkitchencom.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/my-favorite-thanksgiving-side-dish/

[AUTHOR’S NOTE]
The subtitle of this blog is a derivation of the book title, a modern-day classic, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien.
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/things-they-carried-tim-obrien/1100228685?ean=9780618706419

Cranberry-Orange Relish: My Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish

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There was the year the power went out and I made it by the light of an old kerosene lamp. (Oh, wait, actually, the power was on but the kitchen fluorescent light went out.)

There was the year it accidentally got left behind in the fridge at our apartment as I was picked up at work to head directly up to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving.

And there was last year, when I couldn’t get the ingredients in time…

Of course, I’m talking about Cranberry-Orange Relish, my very favorite Thanksgiving side dish! I like mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and stuffing just as much as the next person, but this side dish has been my very favorite, ever since I first discovered it in the November 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. I’ve made some modifications to the original recipe, omitting the celery and jalapeno.

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CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH

2 cups fresh cranberries

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 can mandarin oranges, coarsely chopped, without juice (I suggest using Dole or Geisha mandarins and not store brand. They’re much nicer looking.)

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons grated fresh peeled ginger

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Pulse the cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in red onion, mandarin oranges, lime juice, ginger and white sugar. Refrigerate. Before serving, stir in mint and pecans.

I love this stuff. I could eat it by the bowlful. I’m thankful it’s in the fridge right now, all made up and ready for tomorrow…

[NOTE]

Here’s the web address for the original recipe:

http://www.marthastewart.com/336624/cranberry-orange-relish

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Lori’s Cashew Cauliflower Pasta Salad

DSCF7678LORI’S CASHEW CAULIFLOWER PASTA SALAD/7664

Hey, all, I’d like to introduce you to Lori, my friend and fellow Rocket. There’s nothing this Idaho girl can’t do! She can manage a retail store in her sleep, cook like a Food Network Star, play piano, landscape a back yard, and peg you in the head with a volleyball better than any Polynesian man at a sand court!

After spending the morning with her at her home, making the following salad, I told Lori I wanted to be her roommate again, so I could borrow her jewelry. And use her cute dishes. And listen to her kickin’ stereo. And play with her pets. (My kids keep asking for a cat and I have to tell them no, because our place is so small…)

DSCF7674SANDWICH, SALAD, AND SHELLS. AND SABER THE CAT!/7674

Anyways, here’s a great salad recipe I got from her which I’d never had before. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some potato and macaroni salad just as much as the next gal, but, if truth be known, they’re both kinda overdone at picnics and this salad is UNIQUE.

When I asked Lori more about where the recipe originated, she wasn’t sure. All she knows is her sister-in-law got it from lady at church, but she doesn’t know who. Church ladies can COOK, and church picnics are the BEST, so much yummy food and recipes to be shared!

(Remind me sometime to tell you about the church picnic in Green River, Utah, which we were fortunate enough to crash on the way to my ex-husband’s son’s wedding, five years ago, come July. It was da serious bomb!

I still dream about that potato salad with huge chunks of dill pickle, and those frosted brownies with whole walnuts on top, and the way the people welcomed us, even though we were complete and crashing strangers, and the way the clouds in the sky looked like heavenly feathers that perfect evening…)

Anyhoo, back on topic! Bring a big bowlful of this salad to your next picnic or BBQ and it’ll be a hit, I promise!

LORI’S CASHEW CAULIFLOWER PASTA SALAD

Pasta (We like a combination of bowties and tri-color pasta, but use whatever pasta
is your favorite. You could go with plain-colored pasta, but tri-color looks so much prettier.
Barilla is a good-quality brand and we both like it.)

Cauliflower, broken into bite-sized chunks

Broccoli, broken into bite-sized chunks (Lori likes this, but I personally despise broccoli)

Cashews (Lori finely chops hers, but I put mine in whole, or in large pieces)

Red grapes, halved (I probably would NOT substitute green grapes, I find they don’t hold up as well as the seedless red ones.)

Green onions, sliced

Coleslaw dressing (Lori prefers Kraft, while I prefer Lighthouse, or whatever has no high fructose corn syrup. I’m kind of a HFCS Nazi.)

Stir together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour coleslaw dressing over top and completely stir again. It’s best to make this salad the day before you plan to serve it. I always eat a bowl (or two!) right after making it, but find it tastes quite a bit better the next day, after the dressing has really had a chance to soak in.

So you know, I’ve purposefully avoided specifying measurements in this recipe, because you really can’t mess it up. Put in more of what you like, and less of what you don’t. The only way you can really go wrong is by overcooking your pasta into a shapeless, mushy mess (for which I’m infamous, I have serious pasta issues) or by not breaking the cauliflower and/or broccoli into small enough, bite-sized chunks. If people need a knife to eat this salad, you’ve done it wrong. Forks only, please! Enjoy!

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PERFECT PICNIC SALAD INGREDIENTS/7678

Lori’s home, it looks like a decorator’s dream. Here’s a shot of the seasonal display over her TV. Isn’t it stunning? You all KNOW how I feel about cobalt blue glass, right? Drool…

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Here are a few shots of the pasta salad at my house. I made short ribs in the Crock-Pot for the first time and they were delish. Made my own BBQ sauce, too, without a recipe.

DSCF7690BBQ SHORT RIBS AND SALADS/7690

HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE

In a sauce pan combine ketchup (no HFCS!), brown sugar, molasses, and chopped onions, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. (You could also add some Coke or rootbeer, although I didn’t this time.) Pour over short ribs in the Crock-Pot and cook on low for hours and hours, until they’re fork-tender and your home smells to-die-for. Add more water from time to time if they start to get too dry. Mmmm, melt in your mouth…

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Please enjoy the salad this summer at some of your gatherings. I love it so very much, I’ve been known to make a big batch of it just for myself. (Haven’t really got the boys into it yet.) I’ll put it in the fridge and eat a couple of bowls a day for a week, and never even get sick of it. I eat every last morsel, I gobble it down…I hope you will, too!

Easy Guacamole

REPOST: Originally posted this recipe in Random Rainbows and Guacamole. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, coming up this Tuesday, thought I’d repost, now with photos!

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Hello! Would you like to make some homemade guacamole with me? It’s pretty easy, and tastes sooo much better than that store-bought, green-sour-cream, suspicious, store-bought stuff. I came up with this recipe on my own and always get compliments on it, so I’ll pass it on to you. Because you like compliments on your cooking, too, right?!?

Dice up two Roma tomatos, one soft, ripe avocado, and half a yellow onion. Mix it all up in a bowl and squeeze some fresh lime juice well over the avocado to keep it from browning. (Lemon juice will also work.) Liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir again.

The very best way to squeeze citrus is with a wooden reamer. (Did I mention I like kitchen gadgets? Yep, I surely did.) Cut the limes in half crosswise and ream them. When you’re done, just rinse the citrus reamer in hot water. The citrus is pretty cleansing on it’s own, so you don’t need to use dish soap. Let it air dry. Don’t ever run it through the dishwasher or soak it in water, it will split and bacteria can form in the crack. Trust me on this one. I’m on my second wooden citrus reamer.

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