Category Archives: Food As Gifts

Three Bean Salad, My Way

My mother just loves Three Bean Salad and always had a coupla cans of the stuff in her kitchen cupboard as I was growing up.
We mostly would eat it in the Summer, chilled, as a side dish to pretty much anything my Dad grilled. 

Pro tip: try this Three Bean Salad with Fried Chicken. 

Not so long ago, Mom was saying that she could no longer find her Three Bean Salad in the Mega-Mart. So being the good daughter that I am, I did a search on the WWW and found this recipe:

Home Canned Three Bean Salad – Preserved Home

The first time I made this, I did a half batch and it was gone in nothing flat!
So today I made a second round, this time a full recipe and got 7 pints.

This time I switch it up a bit and rather than adding Green Bell Peppers I sliced up some Sweet Mini Bell Peppers, YUM!

Also, I used canned Beans, but fresh Green Beans. Oh and I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil, `cuz that’s what I keep in my pantry.

Total time from start to done was about 3 hours.
You want to give yourself ample time when home canning anything, don’t try to rush it.

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

… and if you could, hit that ‘like’ button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded.

MAHALO!

Salad In A Mason Jar

One of my Neighborhood Gal Pals gifted us a jar of her prize winning Relish.  No, really!  She said that her Relish won a prize in her hometown back in Maine!

Now you folks all know me by now, I don’t return a pan/dish/can or jar empty.

My Grandma would make us stuff and tell us, “You no gimme back my can/pan/whatever, I no give you no moa!”  😀

So I did one of those WWW searches and came up with this idea

My version of a Cobb Salad in a Mason Jar!  How neat-o looking is that?  We eat with our eyes first and this one ticks that box.

I had all of the ingredients on hand, so it was just a matter of sterilizing Carolyn’s jar and filling it.

 

Cobb Salad In A Mason Jar

1 pint-sized Mason Jar

1/2 C. Cucumber, diced

1  Hard Boiled Egg, sliced

1 oz. Deli Ham, rolled & sliced into spirals (reads as 1 thick slice of any Ham you’d use for a sandwich)

1 oz. cooked Bacon, crumbled

1 C. Salad Mix (any sort, I had a head of Romaine that I chopped up)

1 oz. Shredded Cheese (I used Sharp Cheddar, you choose)

1-2 oz. Ranch Salad Dressing

 

Start with the 1st ingredient and continue layering as you fill the jar.  Pack the Lettuce Mix of your choice into the jar firmly.  Place a good amount of Ranch Dressing (or any other Dressing that you prefer) into a separate small container.  You can pour your Dressing into the jar first if you’re going to be eating your Salad within a day, otherwise, you could find the Cucumbers soggy.

I found these at Dollar Tree, perfect!

My Pal sent me a text the next day that she was really surprised how much Salad she poured out of that jar! ⭐

Any Salad Combo would work here and the amounts of each ingredient are approximate, give or take here or there, what you like.  Use any kind of Cheese that you have on hand, ohh, Blue Cheese Crumbles! 💡  Or what about using diced Turkey Breast rather than the Ham spirals?  The sky’s your limit.  The whole premise behind Salad In A Jar is to start with the “wettest” ingredients at the bottom of the jar in order to retain crispness and keep layering to the top of the jar.

Photo courtesy of Walmart.com

*Cook’s Note: I used packaged Bacon bits, which I keep on hand at all times.  It serves a great service!  My other tip is to use small tongs to add in the Egg and Ham Spirals, arranging nicely against the wall of the jar.

Remember, a recipe is just someone else’s idea.  Take it and make it your own.

Homemade Everything Bread

On my adventure to the soon to closed Cost Plus World Market in our area, I found this

Hmmm, “& More” eh?  Let’s try it on homemade Bread.

I started out by making King Arthur Flour’s recipe for No Knead Bread.

I think that I’ve made this recipe a coupla times now, it’s easy and delicious.  I like to park the dough in the `fridge for 4-5 days to develop flavor.

 

I wanted to share a loaf with each of my Neighborhood Gal Pal’s to see what they thought of this version.

I have a Bakers Stone that lives permanently in my oven for Pizza, so why not Bread too?  Best to bake the Bread in twos.

Oh so pretty! But what about the taste?

Meh, neither DH nor I were fans.  The Gal Pals and their hubbies all liked it!

Food (Or Adult Beverages) As Gifts

I’m certain that we’ve talked about Food As Gifts before, but it seems that the month of July held many birthdays for my new Neighborhood Gal Pals.

I was poking around in the dollar store and found this Wine Tumbler in the Party Section …

Ssshhhh!  We don’t need to tell anyone where we got them, just that they’re uber cute, don’t you think.  ⭐

Add a bottle of Sparkling Wine or your Pal’s favorite libation, a Cello Gift Bag with a cardboard Cake Round for support, colorful ribbon, and you’re set.

One of our Gal Pals is a Kirkland Signature Ready To Drink Golden Margarita fan …

What adorable packaging (even if I do say so myself)!  Dollar Tree has some great stuff.  That’s two different ready-made bows that I put together, some white tissue paper and clear Cello Wrap, cute!

It’s loads of fun dreaming up different Gifts of Food AND Adult Beverages for your Pals!!

 

Homemade No Knead Crusty White Bread

Since the World fell off it’s axis back in, what was it March, I think, anyways … since then, it has been nearly impossible to find Dry Active or Instant Yeast, let alone any Wheat Flour!

WELL!

I may have made mention that my Pal Carolyn from up the street a ways, gifted me some Yeast and I did find two 5 pound bags of All-Purpose Flour, YAY!!

 

 

I already made one batch of No Knead Dutch Oven Bread with the recipe that Carolyn gave me, adapted for High Altitude, now let’s make KAF No Knead Crusty White Bread, shall we?

 

 

This recipe made me 4 decent sized baguettes, not bad.  But oops, can you see the two loaves to the left there?  I didn’t make deep enough slashes in the dough prior to baking round one on my Baking Stone.

 

 

But look how gorgeous this came out!  I’m very pleased with the results.

 

 

YUM!

 

 

I shared three of the loaves with the Neighbors, along with a jar of homemade Fresh Strawberry Jam that I tried my hand at.  I mean what goes better with Bread than Jam and Butter?

Share your food everyone.

 

Meyer Lemon Curd, YUM!

I’m going to post another throwback blog post.  The reason for this is I had made a batch of my Meyer Lemon Curd with the intent to use as a filling to either Lemon Bars or Pie, but things got away from me, so I stashed it in a gallon sized zip-top bag full in the freezer for later.

 

 

We’ve been invited to many Cocktail Parties in our Neighborhood since going into SIP Mode, sitting outdoors and maintaining our Social Distance, of course.

I was trying to dream up a Hostess Gift idea, and came up with this!

 

 

I just snipped a decent sized hole in the corner of the zip-bag and piped the Curd into a cleaned and sterilized half pint Mason Jar.  The frozen Curd was still quite malleable, but do be sure that you get as many of the air bubbles out with a plastic knife before sealing the jar.  The label I made myself on my laptop, printed that out, used some Craft Glue, Clear Wrap and some leftover ribbon that I have stashed away.  I added my Calling Card for our new Neighbor who invited a bunch of us over the other evening, and …

BAM!

Food As Gifts!

 

March 25, 2014

Years back, I use to watch Martha Stewart’s television programs and then, well you know, things happened.  One particular episode, I recall her making Lemon Curd and I thought that someday I’d try that.

My darling husband goes nuts for Lemon Meringue Pie and don’t ya know, that’s what’s in the middle of it (shhh, please don’t tell him that, he claims to HATE curd, “that sounds gross”).

I found some more Meyer Lemons of all places, at Walmart, so here goes.

Auntie’s Meyer Lemon Pie Filling

12 Egg Yolks (freeze the whites in two separate containers for later use, like frosting for a cake)

2 C granulated Sugar

6 Meyer Lemons, juiced (approx. 1 C of juice, no seeds please)

2 sticks of Butter, diced

Zest from the Meyer Lemons

This recipe makes approximately 2 pints.

In a metal or glass bowl (heat-proof), whisk the egg yolks and sugar.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Pour in the juice and stir continually with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Make sure not to allow the mixture to boil.  Add the butter and stir until melted and well incorporated.  Whisk in the reserved zest.

Carefully pour the curd into sterilized jars, best to use half pints or smaller mason jars, leaving ½ inch of head space.  With a damp paper towel, wipe the rim of the jars and seal with the lids and rings.

If you would like to ‘put up’ your bounty for later consumption, process them in boiling water for 20 minutes, allow to cool overnight and store for up to one year (if they last that long).

Should you not feel so inclined to ‘can’ your curd, simply cool and then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

I gotta tell ya, the smell in the house was heavenly.  I got 4 half pint jars and then half of a 5th jar that I stashed in the `fridge for toast the next morning.  Not shown here was a huge dollop of Meyer Lemon Curd in my yogurt the following morning.

 

** Edit-2/2017- I was reading about dairy based canning recently; It is now recommended that instead of using the Water Bath method, Pressure Canning or Freezing is the preferred technique. **

Bacon Biscuits For Your Pup

I was tootling around the Internet the other day and saw a heard of recipes for homemade Doggie Treats.  One in particular caught my eye.

In our house we love  BACON!  I mean come on, who doesn’t?

When ever I make a tray of that crispy-golden-delicious treat, I save the rendered fat in an old plastic container, with a well fitting lid, and stash it in the `fridge.  Have you ever cooked your morning Eggs with Bacon Grease? MMM!

Our beloved, handsome, smart and spoiled rotten Puppy-Boy Vito passed away back in 2005, but he is still in our hearts and thoughts, everyday.  I would make all kinds of treats for him, but ya know, I never made Dog Biscuits, no really!

I wanted to give this recipe a whirl and share them with our neighbor-Doggies.  My thought is to make a few different flavors of Puppy Treats to sell at our Communities next Bake Sale 💡

So here’s my own spin on this recipe ~

 

Bacon Dog Biscuits

Original recipe by the Santa Clara County Humane Society

Yield: Approx. 50 – 2″x1″x1/4″ Small Dog Bone Shaped Cookies

2 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 C. Milk

1 Egg

5 Tbsp. rendered Bacon Fat

2 pieces of cooked Bacon, minced, about 1/4 C.

1/8 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 C. Water

Pre-heat the over to 350°

In a stand mixer, combine all of the ingredients to form a slightly firm dough.

Dust a section of the counter with some more Flour and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into desired shapes, the easiest and quickest is to use a Pizza Cutter Wheel, making small-ish/bite sized cookies— the sky’s the limit as to shape and size.

Place the biscuits onto a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 1/4 inch between each Cookie; bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the Biscuits are firm to the touch.

Cool on the pan for 1 minute and then transfer to a cooling rack.  Once cooled completly, store in an airtight container or Zip-top baggie.

Now, IF  you should have any of these goodies for Fido leftover, I might put them into the refrigerator, after all, there’s BACON in there  😀

Wag More Bark Less

 

 

 

 

Char Siu or Chinese Bar-B-Que Chicken

Since moving to the ‘Middle Of The Desert’, I have been looking for ways to make dishes and/or ingredients that I use in dishes inspired by Hawaii.  One dish or ingredient that I’ve been experimenting with is Char Siu or Chinese Bar-B-Que. I’ve made mention that I’ve tried acoupla different sauces or dry mixes that season the meat to achieve the desired flavor.

[photo credit to Walmart.com]

On this go `round, I tried Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce.

My favorite Green Grocer had lovely little Organic Chickens on sale and you know me already, a light bulb went off over my head  💡 … let’s try Char Siu Chicken.  I was going to make it Huli Huli Style but the Monsoon storms finally started and they can be very unpredictable, so I  tossed the birdie in the oven in stead.

I marinated the deconstructed whole Chicken in a half jar of the Lee Kum Kee sauce for three days and then roasted it off at 375° until the breast meat reached 165° and the dark meat got to 175° … DONE!  I mean come on man, how ONO  (delicious in Hawaiian 😉 ) does that look?!

Looks pretty, but the taste isn’t quite there, for me nor DH anyways.  So, what to do with all of this Chicken you ask?

Fried Rice! 

Mise en place or everything in place before you start is always a good bet.

HEH!  What happened to the photograph of our finished product?

OOPS!  Sorry, I got so excited, I forgot that part of this story, but you know how it all goes, right?

WHOA! That’s alot of Fried Rice

[File Photo]

I packed up some of our trial run Char Siu Chicken Fried Rice to share with the gals in our Community’s Office and then we had the rest for our lunch.  DH wasn’t all that thrilled with this version, “I like Char Siu Pork!  Stick with tradition!” 😀

 

 

 

A Different Sort Of Lei

Here’s how much we love our Spam® AND Diamond Bakery Soda Crackers

Oh my gosh!!  We make leis out of just about anything!  It started out as Cracked Seed or See Mui and now you’ll find leis fashioned of dollar bills or even small nip bottles of hooch!

You see that blue one to the left? that’s made with small snack-sized Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts, love that too!

Now there’s a real Food As Gift idea

ALOHA!

What Do You Put In Your Easter Baskets?

At lunch the other day, my mother reminded us that Easter is coming early this year. WHAT? Sure enough, I pulled out the calendar and Easter Sunday falls on March 31st. Last year, rather than make up baskets of candy for my DH and mom, I made Iced Sugar cookies.

Easter Cookies instead of Candy

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

This was the absolute first (and probably last) time that I will undertake such a long, drawn out project. I should say though, it was fun and I was quite pleased with the outcome. These are just the cutest cookies I’ve ever made. I adapted a recipe from Martha Stewart and the FoodNetwork Magazine, morphing the two together. I probably should have rolled out the dough a touch thicker, it was a fragile final product. The royal icing was a challenge, as I’d never done this before. It took driving all around town to several places to find the meringue powder. I used just plain ‘ole liquid food coloring from the supermarket to tint the icing. I piped it using simple sandwich baggies with the corners snipped.

I was on my feet for most of the day and my back was aching! Normally, if I know I’m going to be in the kitchen standing for periods of time, I put on my walking sneaks. I was so excited to get this ball rolling that I was in my bare feet and didn’t think about it until it was too late. But it was a blast and both DH and mom were impressed, they thought I bought them at a fancy bakery.