Monthly Archives: February 2013

Another Doctor’s Appointment Means Going Out Lunch

My mother just can’t seem to catch a break lately. Another doctor’s visit in town, but it was all good. DH came with us this time around and he took us all to lunch once everything was done. We went to this place that we have been to many times before, Sahuaro Café. An added bonus for mom, they serve breakfast all day, she loves that!

Saguaro Cafe House Waffle Plate

My mom ordered the House Waffle, a huge, fluffy, delicate, not at all a belly-bomber that sits there like lead all day. It’s served with 2 eggs done anyway you wish (mom likes basted and the cook does a perfect job of it!) and two Pork Links or Pattie; the link is the better choice in my opinion. I was flabbergasted, mom ate it ALL, she usually only eats half of whatever is given to her.

Saguaro Cafe Chicken Salad Salad

DH had the Chicken Salad Salad, no, not the sandwich please; it was very good. Cook uses a Chipotle Mayo, which gave me a double shock, my husband does not like any sort of mayonnaise.

Saguaro Cafe Caesar Salad topped with grilled Chicken Breast

For myself, the Caesar Salad topped with grilled chicken breast, delicious croutons and light on the dressing. The chicken was nicely seasoned and not dry in the least.

Super nice folks at Sahuaro Café!

As DH was paying for our meal, I asked the gal what brand of sausage links they buy.  I guess it was the owner (I should have asked) came over and explained that she gets Jimmy Dean brand from her vender; she has looked for them in the local grocery stores as well as the club warehouses to no avail, many people have asked her the same question.

Today they were offering freshly baked Apple Pie. I had to walk away, quickly. I didn’t linger to get a photo of the beauty sitting on the counter otherwise I might have had a piece. I can’t do it, yet, later down the road, just gotta shed a few more pounds. Did I tell you that we LOVE food, maybe I bit too much? Next month we should be good to go, the holidays always add a little something to my person…  😉

Kitchen Store SHOPPING!

Not only do I enjoy food shopping, but I also adore looking for kitchen gadgets, dishes, flatware, glasses, well anything that has to do with preparing and serving up food. Discount kitchen stores are a super fun place to meander around in.

Mini desserts and appetizers have been the craze for some time now, but I honestly use smaller dishes just to make it seem like I’m putting out more food than I really am. (*great dieting tip, by the way*)

Mini white dishes and cuttlery

I found some tiny soufflé dishes, along with forks and spoons, a fantastic trick to the tummy. They had miniature knives as well, but I didn’t think that I needed to have those. White dishes make it much simpler to set a pretty table, mix and match however you wish. I will definitely go back and get the darling little square and triangular plates I saw too!

 

 

Haole Brownies In The Desert

Growing up in Hawaii, there were two schools that were, to put it simply, arch rivals. Both schools provided a hot lunch for the students every day. In ‘camp A’ there was Caramel Cuts and in ‘camp B’ there was Haole Brownies. Now, let me explain, haole is not a mean term, but it is a real Hawaiian word with several meanings and reported origin. These bar cookies have other names, such as Blondies or Butterscotch Brownies, but for me, they’re my childhood in my hand. I love them; I could easily sit and eat the entire pan, once they cool off that is.

Recently, we went to visit with friends and Mister Dear Friend can’t eat chocolate. Since I was bringing a nice bottle of Prosecco for Missus Dear Friend and I to enjoy, I needed something for the guys. Food always makes a wonderful gift for any occasion and I make a point of taking along something that everyone will enjoy.

This is my version …

Haole Brownies

Haole Brownies In The Desert

1 stick Butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 C. Brown Sugar (either light or dark, whatever you have on hand)

2 Eggs, beaten

2 C. Flour (I buy unbleached AP)

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 tsp. Baking Powder

¼ tsp. Table Salt

2/3 C. Heath English Toffee Bits, divided

 

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the next 5 ingredients, along with 1/3 cup of the Toffee bits; mix well, it will be very stiff batter. Prepare a 13x9x2 inch pan by spraying it with cooking spray and fitting it with a piece of parchment paper as a sling. This way you’ll be able to get them out easily and in one piece. Spread the batter evenly into the pan and bake in a preheated oven of 350⁰ for 18 minutes and sprinkle the top with the remaining Toffee bits; bake for another 8-12 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then with a plastic-disposable knife, release the sides of the pan that are not covered by the paper and lift out carefully to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Cut into bars and devour!

ALOHA!

(*did you figure out which camp I belong to?)

 

And Off We Go, Again

WAHOO!!!

DH and I took off for a long weekend visit with dear friends, who live up in Prescott Arizona, love it there.

On our blast off day, we woke up to SNOW, AGAIN! WHAT? Isn’t this the middle of the desert? Man, it must have come down all night long. As we hit the highway, we could see all across the desert floor and it was gorgeous! When we went past the Superstition Mountains, I was simply awestruck.

Superstition Mountains

Another spot that I need to stop to take a photo of each and every time we go through is at Sunset Point Scenic Overlook, just outside of Black Canyon City Arizona.

Sunset Point Scenic Overlook, just outside of Black Canyon City Arizona

Missus Dear Friend has her own business and looks forward to our afternoons out. The two girlfriends left the boys to watch baseball on TV, and went SHOPPING!!! We hit a couple of clothing stores, found some great bargains and then we needed to munch something.

Wildflower Bread Company is a wonderful place, I don’t want to say it’s a chain, but they are only in Arizona. DH and I have been here a few times and had something from their menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, YUM! It was a pretty day, so we sat outside on the patio to enjoy our day. My best girl ordered soup, Potato Cream Cheese in a Sourdough bread boule and my request was a half sandwich of chicken salad on Nine grain bread and a bowl of Hearty Beef and Vegetable Stew. I’m so glad that my friend is okay with letting me taste and photograph whatever she orders.  We each had a Passion Fruit Iced Tea to wash it all down; it was outstanding.  So I searched out the manager for the day and inquired as to what brand they buy.  Come to find out it is their own special blend they have made.

Just a nice way to end a girls-day-out.

 

Happy Aloha Friday!

It’s Aloha Friday and the weekend is just around the corner!

Finally, the snow is starting to melt away, here in the middle of the desert!  DH and I have been a little busy as of late, so I will report back on with the goins-on a bit later.

Enjoy your weekend.

 

Out and About With Mom

My poor mother, she had ANOTHER doctor’s appointment in town. She pretty much has had to go to see someone 3-5 times each week for about 6 weeks now. I try to make it more than being poked and prodded at by adding in a treat. Once everything was said and done, DH and I took her to lunch at one her favorite places, Coco’s Bakery Restaurant.

Out and About With Mom, Greek Salad

They make super salads, plus they serve breakfast all day, that’s why mom likes it so much.   Mom could eat breakfast for every meal, every day.  Both DH and I had the Greek salad, mother had a veggie omelet with a biscuit and hash browns and she ate every scrap of it!

As we munched away at our meals, it started to snow, again! And we still needed to take mom to the market to pick up a few groceries.

Out and About With Mom, WHAT?snow?!

It snowed just about all day long and accumulated on the ground to 2 ½ inches, WHAT, in the middle of the desert?

 

Fried Saimin, My Kind Of Beach Food

I could eat Fried Saimin any time of day or night, it’s so ONO (delicious). WHOA! Did you hear that? That was my stomach, that’s how much I like this dish. I never thought to make it myself; back home in Hawaii you can get it even at the gas station. I know, I know the jokes about gas station food, but in Hawaii there’s a company that only makes grab-n-go foods for gas stations, and they are very good.

On our last trip home, every day we went to the beach, duh! And on the way I made DH stop to get something to take with us on our long days of baking in the sun; it was a tough job, but someone had to do it. A favorite place for me is Zippy’s, a family restaurant with take outs and at most locations a full service restaurant and bakery. I counted no less than 4 times I got Fried Saimin or noodles. When we got home I did several searches on the Internet and morphed a recipe I like, maybe you will too.

Zippy’s Fried Saimin @ the BEACH!!

Zippy’s Fried Saimin @ the BEACH!!

Fried Saimin or Noodles

1 pkg. fresh Yaki Soba noodles (I get JFC Intl. brand, no sauce included)

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

¼ C. Water

Prepare the noodles first, by heating the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium; add all 3 individual servings of noodles in along with the water. Wait a few minutes and loosen the noodles with tongs, tossing gently, until they are just warmed. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Now let’s build:

½ – 1 C. matchstick Carrots (I buy the bagged stuff)

¼ of small Cabbage, shredded

½ of a pkg. Bean Sprouts (mung bean is best)

6-8 stalks Green Onion, chopped reserving some for garnish

1 6oz. pkg Kamaboko, sliced into large matchsticks (see photo below)

Approx. ½ lb. Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork, sliced (also see photo below)

Toss all of the above ingredients with the warm noodles.

You need a sauce:

½ C. Water

3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (I go with Aloha brand Shoyu)

2 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce

1 tsp. Sesame Oil

<edit, I totally forgot>  1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. Dashi, to taste

Combine your sauce and pour and toss with your noodles. Set aside to allow the sauce to be absorbed into your noodles mixture.  <edit – So sorry, I forgot about the dashi or the dried soup mix that usually comes with a package of Asian-style noodles.  If not, you can always look for that separately, it’s a great seasoning for other things too.>

Garnish with a handful of chopped Green Onion and more Char Siu. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers are excellent for breakfast.

Kamaboko or Steamed Fish Cake

**Tasty Additions-crispy fried SPAM!!!  Glorious SPAM!!

A Shopping Expedition Follow Up

I had to take my mother to the doctor again today, VERY early in the morning. After I had dropped her off back at her house, I indulged myself with an extra cup of coffee at Starbucks and head over to Walmart, like I didn’t have enough fun there the other day. Well, as I was shopping for a couple a things that had been out of stock, I spotted this

OOHHHH!

OOHHHH!

Hmm, I never even imagined they would come up with a powdered teriyaki sauce. I suppose those Food Engineers can do anything with a few chemicals.  GEEZ-O!  The soy sauce is one aisle over!

 

Let’s Go Shopping!

Since I’ve retired, I have had the luxury of now doing what I’ve wanted, I am a Home Maker. That may sound terribly old fashion in the 21st century, but I truly enjoy making a house a home. DH refers to me, lovingly, as the COO, chief operating officer. When I first started this blog, I made mention in my introduction or my ‘About’ page, that I wanted to share not only the food that I put on the table, but how it got there, aka, SHOPPING!

On Sunday I went to the local Walmart, were I only buy a few items. I frequent several stores for just certain ingredients, what the heck, I’ve got all the time. I am absolutely crazy for grocery shopping. My husband has a part time job that he goes to twice a week to keep himself busy and that’s when I head out. I have learned over the past 5 + years of living here in the middle of the desert, to have my trusty little Sony Cyber-shot in my purse at all times. Our friends and family members know already that they can’t dig into their plates until I take a picture of it. Even my mother’s traveling companions make sure that one of them takes photos of each meal that they have, all around the world, thanks ladies!

As I was going up and down each aisle, even though I know my regular haunts like the back of my hand, I make a point of looking for something that I’ve never seen before. This last excursion was no expectation. I have a chef-y friend who simply cannot stomach Spam, you know, Hawaii’s most popular meat. If she had been standing there with me, she would have been rolling on the floor with tears streaming down her cheeks.

Don’t get me wrong here, I like Spam. My mother bought one and told me that it was actually very good (she doesn’t cook any more, just nukes stuff).

 

Not far from the premade-packaged-microwaveable-shelf stable dinners, I spied this, but I couldn’t keep my hand steady enough to get a decent snapshot.

When I got home, I went to their website; I put this one in the ‘are you for real’ category. WAIT! Candwich also comes in PB&J. Oh my gravy all over my two scoops rice (that’s OMG ! in my world). REALLY?

I prefer to scratch-cook as much as I possibly can, with a few cheats here and there. DH and I are trying to change our wicked, wicked ways by cutting our salt, sugar and saturated fats. As a matter of fact, only this morning my husband said how much better he feels since our sublte change in diet.  Not that we ate poorly, we’re just taking small steps to ensure that we live a long and healthy life together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen-Diva’s Adapted Chicken Chili

I know that it’s still winter, but its beautiful here in the middle of the desert. Yeah, it’s a little chilly some days, and yeah we do have gloomy days. What a better time to make up a big pot of chili. DH and I try to eat healthfully, more chicken than red meat.

Many years ago there was a certain kitchen-diva, whose television programs I never missed. I adapted one of her recipes and made it my own. DH will request this chili, he loves it. There are so many variations to it that you could certainly make it yours.

Adapted Chicken Chili

5 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks

1 large Onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, minced

¼ C. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted & ground (or buy the powder)

1 Tbsp. Oregano

1/8 tsp. Chipotle Chile powder (adds a nice smoky heat)

1 15 oz. can Petite Diced Tomatoes

1 4 oz. can diced Green Chiles (I like Hatch chiles)

1-2 C. Chicken Broth

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent; add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Toss in the chicken and cook until the exterior turns white. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the broth, chiles and tomatoes (and any of the additions from below at this point), bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer partially covered until it starts to thicken, about 40 minutes.  This recipe will feed two very hungry adults.

Come on, how good does that look

Come on, how good does that look

*Variations*

We like a thick chili: stir in 1-2 tablespoons of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix while the chili is still bubbling

Add 2 Corn tortillas, chopped to thicken it up, let it cook for a while

Add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped Cilantro

Add 1 cup of Bird’s Eye brand ’Ultimate Southwest Blend’ (this has sweet corn, black beans, poblano chiles, red bell peppers, and roasted onions-YUM!)

Add any of the above items, individually

Add a finely diced Jalapeno pepper for more depth of heat

Any or all of the variations are great, believe me, we’ve tried them all. No pot of chili has ever been the same in our house, it always evolves. We eat our chili over steamed white rice, it’s a Hawaii thing. You could top it with shredded cheese, sour cream, freshly chopped onions or maybe a handful of cilantro. Make it yours.