Category Archives: The Galley

Beans and Cornbread

Some would not consider this a meal.  I do not understand those people, but I will love them anyway. 

I have made beans as long as I can remember.  Sometimes they have been really good.  Other times, nothin’ special.  What is the secret to delicious beans?  In search of the answer, I became interested in beaneology (I thought I made that word up, but I Googled it for fun and I’ll be dern…)

The problem, I learned, is that I’m always playin’ around with ’em, beans that is.  I try this spice and that.  I am so happy to say I have learned that THAT was the problem.  Keeping it simple is the answer and if you find a good thing, don’t mess with it!

Pioneer Woman helped me understand beans.  Less is more; simple is better.   My last several pots of beans have been PW’s and they are SO good.  The Captain requests them and the kids eat ’em up!   

Thursday’s Menu: 

PW’s Beans and Cornbread (recipe here

Banana Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing (recipe soon-ish).

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Happy Black Eyed Peas Day!

I’m a southern gal, it’s true.  Like my Mama, I always, ALWAYS serve black eyed peas on New Year’s.  It’s the right thing to do–like not wearing white shoes before Labor Day (or after Easter) and keeping  “sweetea” in the ice box.  Black eyed peas are to New Year’s what cake is to birthdays; what butter is to a hot roll.  They are to New Year’s what mascara is to clear eyelashes…uh, well, maybe not so much, but you get the idea.  Black eyed peas and New Year’s go together.  

Here, in celebration of a fresh new year, is a recipe that will not disappoint!

Grandpa Bruffey’s Spicy Black Eyed Pea Soup

5 slices bacon (cut into small pieces)

1 cup chopped onion

1-2 T. finely chopped jalepenos

2 cans tomatoes

1 clove minced garlic

pinch salt

dash pepper

3 cups water

2 beef boullion cubes

1 cup chicken broth

2 16oz. pkg. frozen black eyed peas

grated swiss or cheddar

Saute bacon until lightly browned.  Add onion, jalepenos, tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Saute a bit and then add water, boullion, broth and peas.  Con over low heat 2-3 hours.  Serve w/grated cheese. 

Happy 2011!

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Giving In: The Trend Toward Healthy Eating

I’m a bit of a rebel.  I tend to shy away from the latest trends simply because I don’t want to go along with what everyone else says is “cool”.  I have my own mind and I don’t want to be told what to wear, eat, read, do…get the picture?  “Pride cometh before the fall.”  I know.  I pray about it daily, but that’s not my point.

I want to develop, for myself and my family, a more healthy way of eating.  There.  I said it.  I could easily rebel against “healthy” eating habits for the mere purpose of not buying into the latest craze, but this is something I really want to do.  I’ve always leaned toward a healthy-ish lifestyle…emphasis on the “ish”.  I enjoy sunshine and fresh air.  I’m ever so slightly athletic and am drawn to activity, or at least the idea of it.   I like veggies, all them, and have taught my children to enjoy them as well.  Hmm, what else is healthy-ish about me?  That just may be it.  Oh, I understand the value of H2O and raw veggies and I’ve read French Women Don’t get Fat.  That probably about sums up my healthy-ishness.  

The other, and  more prevalent, side of me loves to go to movies and eat buttered (Yes, I said it, buttered!) popcorn.  I can sit idle, whether on the porch or in front of the picture window, daydreaming for way too long.  Pasta with marinara  is yummy, but I may prefer it with cream sauce.  I consider chicken fried steak  with mashed potatoes and gravy a well-balanced meal, as long as there are green beans and dessert.  Sweet tea is a staple.  And I looove my coffee.  Do not come between us! 

As I read this, I realize that I’m quite possibly a split personality and may need therapy.  But for now, I’m just going to say that I think I’d like to make some changes toward more healthy eating.  Do not misunderstand.  I’m never (that’s a guarantee that God will make me) going  to turn completely away from all the wonderful things I love.  I just mean that I want our family to characteristically eat healthy food and enjoy it, while balancing that with some of the other things we’ve always enjoyed..      

It’s all about baby steps, for me, and I think I may already be a couple of steps into it.  So far, the steps I’ve taken are as follows. 

I started by creating the habit and routine of meal planning.  Jotting down the meals you plan to have over the course of the next week, or at least the next few days, and listing the ingredients that you’ll need for those meals is a relatively simple process if you stick with what you already know.  Once you get that down,  making simple changes gradually may seem less daunting.  This is what I’m thinking anyway.  I’m not there yet. 

Having veggies at every meal is the other baby step I’ve taken (or should I say “am taking”…still working on this one).  I’m loving sliced tomatoes on my plate.  I know that’s fruit, but I count them as a veggie.  Sometimes it’s a colorful salad.  Often it’s simply steamed veggies.  I think that my current favorite is a side of sliced avocado, tomato, and red onion.   

I’m not sure what the next baby step will be.  I don’t want to get ahead of myself and make some elaborate plan that I stick to as well as my New Year’s resolutions.  It’s just like me to dive in head first to something, get overwhelmed, lose momentum and give up.  I knew, when I was reading the post at Simple Mom today, that I couldn’t just go buy the E-book and get started.  I’m the crazy that would buy the “bargain”, bazillion gallons of coconut oil and then let it go bad on a shelf because I’m not sure what I was supposed to be using it for.  No, not yet.  For now, I’ll just keep up with what I’m doing and add in other changes naturally.  I’ll post them here, so I can see my progress, if there is any more progress.

Well, off to MarketStreet to get some veggies!  Happy steaming.

(It may seem that I’m all over the place with my posts, but it only seems that way because I am.  And I am because that’s the way my mind works.  This blog may take on a focus one day, but I doubt it.   I am still working on the house, slowly, but surely.)

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Fair Baking

fair16

I just love getting in the kitchen with my children!  It is such a joy.  I love teaching them how NOT to get flour all over the kitchen when they turn on the mixer.  I love showing them how to get the WHOLE egg into the bowl instead of half of it down the FRONT OF THE CABINET.  I love showing them how to scoop salt back OUT OF THE DRY INGREDIENTS and explaining why it’s best not to measure OVER THE BOWL.  I love showing them how to get the excess batter off of the OUTSIDE of the bowl after they drop it into the pan while trying to pour it in.   I  just love baking with the kids!   Can you tell?  Look at the expression on my face above, if in doubt. 

OK.  It’s obvious, I know.  It drives me absolutely nuts to have help in the kitchen.  Isn’t that sad?  But I do let them help (sometimes).  At fair time, they get to take charge.  Yes, it makes me grit my teeth and clinch my jaw.  But I resolve to stay happy (for the most  part) and I am always so glad that we did it when we’re done.  Some mommies are so wonderful and they are just in there having a ball the whole time.  I wish I were one of them.  It’s all about mind set, perspective, and attitude, I think.  I did better this time.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love that they love to help.  I love the IDEA of them working along side me and I always usually sometimes do my best to stay positive.  But I want to really enjoy it…it should be a joy.  I shall work on that! 

fair12fair17fair13fair15fair18fair11A truly precious gift…I KNOW!  How could one possibly not just love this time?  I do!  I really do!  I’m going to miss this someday!

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Rum Cake- Part II

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Rum cake has rum in it.  Go figure.  We live in a “dry community”, which means there are no alcoholic beverages sold in stores within the city limits.  That will actually be changing soon, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I made rum cake last night and rum cake has rum in it and rum is an alcoholic beverage, which can’t be purchased in our town.  So, where do people in “dry communities” go to get rum?  The same place we go to get fireworks…we go across the city limit line to the “beer stores” and if you are a “good Baptist”, which I am not,  you go incognito.   All this to say…rum cake ain’t happenin’ everyday…it’s special.

Well, I’m pleased to announce that today the rum cake (that I made last night) was a great success. I say that because today it was delicious, today it was just as good as the coffee house rum cake and today The Captain loved it. But last night, it was less of a hit. I liked it  and so did the birthday boy, but the rum was still quite strong in the glaze and I was sure I might get drunk. My older girls were certain that it was an attempt to poison them. The littles thought I was trying a sneaky new way to administer medicine. I wonder…should I have used less rum in the glaze? Should I have left the glaze over the heat longer? Last night I was thinking of all the ways I might remedy my cocktail cake. But today, oh my, today it was fabulous! It just needed some time… overnight, left alone…who wouldn’t be better after that? Today, it was so delicious. Today, it is so gone!

Here is my take on rum cake!  This will likely make Pioneer Woman nervous.  (I’m sure Food Network will be calling me very soon.)   And try, really try not to covet my laminate countertops…difficult, I know. 

PresentingButter Rum Glazed Rum Cake

The kids had to be picked up from drama class and the Skipper was getting a Happy BDay call from his sister, so he took my camera, his iphone, with him to get the teens.  I forgot get a picture of the cake all cut and looking delicious.  Now it's too late!

I forgot to get a picture of the cake all cut and looking delicious on a lovely plate. Shoot! Now it's too late!

Simple enough...yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding mix, rum, veggie oil, eggs, chopped pecans, and, for the glaze, butter, sugar, H20, and more rum.

Simple enough...yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding mix, rum, veggie oil, eggs, chopped pecans, and, for the glaze, butter, sugar, H20, and more rum.

This is how I found the eggs when I pulled them out of the fridge! Seriously? Can you believe this? I did NOT do this.

This is how I found the eggs when I pulled them out of the fridge! Seriously? Can you believe this? I did NOT do this.

Preheat the origianl-to-the-house late 1950's oven, which is in desperate need of cleaning, to 325.

Preheat the origianl-to-the-house late 1950's oven, which is in desperate need of cleaning, to 325.

 

Grease and flour bundt pan...oh yeah, you will also need shortening and flour.

Grease and flour bundt pan...oh yeah, you will also need shortening and flour.

 

Isn't my apron cute? My sister and my teens got it at the estate sale of my dear neighbor, who has moved into a nursing home. The apron belonged to his wife. I love it!

Isn't my apron cute? My sister and my teens got it at the estate sale of my dear neighbor, who has moved into a nursing home. The apron belonged to his wife. I love it!

Blend the yellow cake mix and pudding together.  The recipe said "sift", but it's a cake mix and pudding...is that really necessary?  Besides, my sifter broke.

Blend the cake mix and pudding mix together. The recipe said "sift", but it's a cake mix and pudding...is that really necessary? Besides, my sifter broke.

Mix in four eggs

Mix in four eggs. I did all the mixing by hand with a wisk and it worked just fine.

Add 1/2 cup of water

Add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup oil...I'm feeling very Food Network-ish...Lord, help me.

 

Help has arrived!  I'm cured.

Help has arrived! I'm cured.

 

Add 1/2 cup rum...Bacardi Select or Meyers or other dark rum, yum.  I just said yum because it seemed to go there.  I really don't know what I'm talking about.

Add 1/2 cup rum...Bacardi Select or Meyers or other dark rum, yum. I just said yum because it seemed to go there. I really don't know what I'm talking about.

 
Why am I doing this?  For me?  Future generations?  My secret desire to pretend I’m on Food Network?  Maybe because I recently saw Julie and Julia with my girls?  Really.  I have no idea why I’m spending my time doing this.  It’s one of those things that I will surely look back on and wonder, “what were you  thinking?”, like when I see my hair in my 7th grade school picture.
Back to Butter Rum Glazed Rum Cake…

Oh Nuts! I forgot to show the nuts...I was so proud of them. Well, anyway, you sprinkle about 1/2 cup of chopped nuts in the bottom of the pan. The recipe called for walnuts, but our coffee house rum cake has pecans, so that's what I used. Then you pour the batter into the pan, over the nuts. Bake at 325 for 60 minutes. Why do recipes say that? 6o minutes. Why don't they just say bake for one hour? Is 60 minutes different in different parts of the country, depending on time zone or something? I took a risk and baked mine for an hour.

Oh Nuts! I forgot to show the nuts...I was so proud of them. I think this photo is upside down and sideways. Well, anyway, you sprinkle about 1/2 cup of chopped nuts in the bottom of the pan. The recipe called for walnuts, but our coffee house rum cake has pecans, so that's what I used. Then you pour the batter into the pan, over the nuts. Bake at 325 for 60 minutes. Why do recipes say that? 6o minutes. Why don't they just say bake for one hour? Is 60 minutes different in different parts of the country, depending on time zone or something? I took a risk and baked mine for an hour.

Here’s the part where The Captain took off with his phone, my camera, and I didn’t get to show you (whoever “you” are) how to make the glaze.  Blast!  I was so proud of the glaze.   
Well, it’s just an opportunity for another word picture I guess. 
Butter Rum Glaze:  While the cake is cooling in the pan, melt 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water over medium heat until boiling.  Boil for five minutes, remove from heat and add 1/ 2 cup of rum .  That’s it!   The sauce will bubble up quite impressively when you add the rum.  Since it is alcohol, and therefore flamable, you remove the pan from the heat source before adding the rum…unless you are my firstborn.  Then you would leave it on the heat source in hopes of a cheap thrill.  I actually wondered, last night, when the cake could make you drunk, if I should have put it back on the burner for a minute to let some of the alcohol burn off.
OK…now the glaze is ready to meet it’s match made in heaven.  
This is how I did it and it’s how it should be done.  It makes a difference and it’s worth it.  Turn the cake out of the panPour half the glaze into the pan.  Now, put the cake back into the pan, yes, back in, lining up the little grooves.  This isn’t really that hard, just a little awkward.  It was something I had to learn on my own…it made me nervous.  I was successful and proud.  Now, take a knife and poke holes all over the top, which will become the bottom, of the cake.  Pour the rest of the glaze all over the cake.  Let it set in the pan for awhile, until the glaze is absorbed.  Turn the cake back out onto a plate and WAIT…unless you want to drug the kids, wait.  It would probably be good after just a couple of hours, better after several, best the next day! 
 
Bon Apetite!

Bon Appetit!

P.S.
Somewhere in the middle of it all is...reality! The toilet paper I bought at Wal Mart is still on the table. And is that flour on the floor...way over there?

Somewhere in the middle of it all is...reality! The toilet paper I bought at Wal Mart is still on the table. And is that flour on the floor...way over there?

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Rum Cake

I am making rum cake for the first time. 

I never knew how wonderfully delicious rum cake could be until we had it one evening at a local coffee shop…or maybe it’s a coffee house.  Aren’t coffee shops sort of like a diner/cafe where old men sit and chat and drink pots of coffee?  Well, this is not that.  It’s more of a hang out where college kids order fancy coffee drinks from a barista.  And this particular coffee shop/house has decadent desserts…my favorite is the rum cake. 

I’m attempting to recreate it tonight for the Skipper’s birthday, since it’s his favorite, too. 

Mmmm, my mouth is watering…hope it turns out.

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