Here in the deep south Summer means Watermelon.  Every spring we plant a watermelon patch.  Last year the weather was not cooperative. THIS year we made up for it….


We have given so many watermelon away to friends and family this year that they may be sick of them.  We, however, are not.  Watermelon every day is a great way to survive the heat of summer.  Especially this summer – HEAT DOME!!

Good thing Kayte chose melons for our theme this week in Eating with Ellie.  And good thing Ellie had this recipe for Watermelon Blueberry Pops.  And did I mention it is also Blueberry season?


The only change I made was to use lemon juice rather than lime juice.  BTW all you need is 3 cups of watermelon so buy a small one and freeze away!

You can find the recipe on page 250 of Ellie’s So Easy or  HERE.

What else is on the Melon Buffet this week? And if you want to join Eating with Ellie the themes are on the side.  Just make one of Ellie’s dishes and post a comment.  We’ll visit!


As I look at this little basket of goodness I wonder why I haven’t made these before.  Crispy.  Not fried.  Lots of seasoning.  Pantry Items.  I have no excuse.


These are simply thinly sliced potatoes (2 russets) tossed with olive oil (1 Tbl), Smoked Paprika (2 tsp), and salt (1/2 tsp).

Just put them on a sprayed cookie sheet and bake at 400 for anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes.  Mine took about 10 minutes but yours may take longer.  Oh, and check them about every 5 minutes.  They bake FAST!

I added a little onion powder (2 tsp) to my second batch.  GOOD!!

The theme for this weeks  I Heart Cooking Clubs is Nibbles and Noshes

The recipe is from Ellie’s comfort food fix (page 58) but I also found it on Ellie’s webpage. 

It’s that time again! Time to share some new dishes from a blogger I have been reading for a while but haven’t had a chance to cook from. Why now? Because it is is reveal time for the

    Secret Recipe Club!

And this month I knew it was going to be fun because I had CHELSY over at MANGIA!! ITALIAN FOOD!!! But – FORTUNATELY – healthy Italian! Which was perfect considering I am trying to eat healthier these days. I was a little worried at first because so many of the blogs have great food but lots of ingredients I am not eating these days – sugar, beef, cheese, pasta – so finding lots of good, healthy recipes on Chelsy’s blog was a definite plus for me.

Let me tell you about Chelsy: Personal Trainer, gluten free recipe developer, foodie, Italian.
One statement caught me eye when she was listing facts about herself

    “I will choose grocery shopping over mall shopping any day!”

‘Nuff said!!

I started through her awesome recipes and finally had to quit Pinning. I though Pinterest might kick me off for putting TOO many pictures/recipes up in one day. And then, of course I had to go through and find just a few and then narrow that down to my usual three. NOT. AN. EASY. JOB! But then, with all the great bloggers in the SRC, it never is!

Here is what I ended up with:

Healthy Snacking –


with Granola. And granola with a twist – made with QUINOA! I have only recently discovered quinoa so whenever I find a new recipe I HAVE to try it.
Granola with sliced almonds, coconut, maple syrup, cinnamon. All the good things. You can find her recipe for QUINOA GRANOLA on her blog. The only change I made in her recipe was to use dried cranberries instead of the goji berries she had listed. Only because I couldn’t find any.

Healthy Supper


    Bada-Bing! Shrimp and Sauce

What a great name!! It is more than just shrimp in tomato sauce. It’s BADA-BING! And it WAS!

    1/4 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1/4 c. white wine vinegar
    3 TBS. water
    1 0.7 oz packet Italian Salad Dressing Mix
    1/4 c. olive oil
    1/4 c. water
    1 med.- lrg. yellow onion, chopped and diced
    10 cloves of garlic, diced
    1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
    Palmful of Italian Seasoning
    Palmful of Oregano, dried
    3 8 oz. cans of No Salt Added Tomato Sauce (Like to add my own salt)
    1 14.5 oz. can of No Salt Added dice tomatoes
    1/4 c. Sweet white wine
    black pepper

Place the shrimp in a small bowl.
Prepare the dressing: put 1/4 c. white wine vinegar and 3 TBS. water into a salad shaker. Add dressing packet and shake the bottle until mixed. Add 1/4 c. olive oil and 1/4 c. water to the bottle and shake vigorously.
Pour the dressing over the shrimp and let marinate while preparing the sauce.
For the sauce.
Chop the onion, garlic, and basil.
Heat a large saucepan with olive oil over low-medium heat. Add onions and garlic and stir continuously with a spatula until lightly browned. Add the shrimp to the saucepan and cook until they are slightly pink.
Remove the shrimp from the saucepan after 3-4 minutes and place in a clean bowl. Add tomato sauces, diced tomatoes, spices, basil, and wine to the saucepan. Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the shrimp.
To serve, garnish with freshly shaved Parmesan.
I served mine over high fiber pasta. It would be amazing with some garlic linguini.

Healthy (Kinda Sorta) Side –


I think Sweet Potatoes are my favorite veggie. You can fry them, sautee them, bake them, roast them. They are sweet. AND they are so good for you. Chelsy’s are roasted after mixing them with curry, vanilla, shallots, and browned butter (This is the kinda sorta part). They were sweet and full of flavor. I did add a little extra curry powder to mine because I really like the flavor. And the vanilla adds just a hint of sweet. I could eat these every day!!

I enjoyed my visit with Chelsy. I have been reading her blog for a while now and cooking some of her food but I have never blogged them. And probably never told her how much I enjoy my visits. So there you are, Chelsy.

Check with the other members of Secret Recipe Club below and see what they found to cook this month.

I am slow getting started with this round of IHCC. Nigel Slater is the new chef until the end of September. I am excited to try some of his recipes, but not just yet! This week is Potluck Week. Since I missed cooking with Mark Bittman early in the group’s life I want to do his recipes for PotLuck. I read his bok, FOOD MATTERS ages ago and have lots of recipes marked. Seemed a logical choice.

Starting with someting sweet and SUGAR FREE.


    1 cup sugar Splenda
    1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
    1 1/2 cups chopped nuts {I used pecans}
    4 egg whites [about 130 gms], {I would use a few more grams next time} lightly beaten until just foamy
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Pinch salt

Heat the oven to 350°F.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula or your hands.
Use a nonstick baking sheet, or line a baking sheet with parchment
paper. Use a small cookie scoop and make balls with the mixture,
each measuring about 1 tablespoon. Place balls on the pre-
pared sheet about an inch apart.
Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool on a rack for at least 30’minutes Store in an airtight container.

I remember Mom making a cookie like this when I was little.


They didn’t last long around our house because we all loved coconut and pecans.

Check out the other POTLUCKS with the IHCC members.

These are so tasty. Puff pastry filled with sausage. How can you go wrong with that?


Donna’s recipe called for sausage mixed with breadcrumbs, Wish-U-Were-Here Sauce along with some other spices then simply wrapped in the pastry. Sprinkled with Sesame seeds they are just the right size for appetizers or snacks.

I sprinkled some with minced dried garlic {NOT the best idea since it burned} and some with Grey Sea Salt. The ones with the salt were the best! I also used some fresh venison sausage. Definitely a repeat here.


Check with

The recipe for these is on page 164 of Donna’s Modern Classics: Book 1

And if you would like to join us every Wednesday while we explore Donna’s great and simple recipes just leave one of us a comment.

It is sweet potato season in Louisiana. These little golden orbs are everywhere. In the stores, on the side of the road, in the markets. It would be a shame NOT to cook with them so when it came time to find an entertaining dish for I Heart Cooking Club‘s EASY ENTERTAINING theme I went with sweet potatoes.


Cook 1 tablespoon peanut oil, 1 chopped onion and 1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste for 1 minute.
Add 600g (20 oz) peeled and finely diced sweet potato and 3/4 cup (6 fl oz) coconut cream and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) and allow the mixture to cool.
Place in the middle of 13 cm (5 in) puff pastry rounds. Press to seal the edges, glaze with beaten egg and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C (350°F) for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Serve with yoghurt blended with mint. Makes 12.


So quick and so very easy to make. And so very easy to EAT!!! They were perfect for a small luncheon. Even with only 1/2 of the filling I had 9 nice sized puffs.

The last time I used the green curry paste it was too hot so I cut back to 1/2. Then it wasn’t spicy enough. But that is what learning new things is all about – finding just the right mix. The coconut blended easily with the sweet potato flavor so it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began. Good, tho’!

After I made these I realized they were a lot like the samosas I made last week for Potluck. Next week’s theme is Fast and Fabulous. Wonder what kind of hand pie I can do for that??

The recipe came from Donna’s off the shelf: cooking from the pantry on page 142.

It’s party time at IHCC so come on over and enjoy the fun, food, and frivolity!!!

IHCC Donna Hay Badge resized

This month, thanks to The Secret Recipe Club, I met RACHEL!! Rachel of Rachel Cooks Lucky for me she did a self interview and I found out lots about Rachel and her life. She is a stay-at-home Mom who is now part time Physical Therapist. Her little girl, “E”, is adorable. {This was so amazing because my daughter’s name is Rachel and she is also a Physical Therapist with an adorable little girl}. but I digress. Rachel began blogging because she did become a SAHM and needed something to do between feedings, changings, and playing with that adorable little girl. And she is funny!!

So it was fun cooking from her blog:

Wednesday, 22 August. So here it was. Breakfast. No wait, too late for that! And too early for lunch. So here it was – a Brunch day. And a perfect day to try Rachel’s…

    Spinach Quiche with a Cornmeal Crust

This was wonderful. And it was because of the crust. It was the crust that drew me to this recipe. It was intriguing. A cornmeal crust is not something I would have thought of to pair with a quiche, but like Rachel said, it added a little extra crunch to each bite.

    1/2 cup cornmeal
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup shortening
    3 Tablespoons cold water

    4 eggs, beaten
    1 cup of milk (whole would be amazing but I used skim and it still tasted great)
    2 cups shredded Swiss Sharp Cheddar cheese tossed with 2 Tbsp flour
    1/2 teaspoon of salt
    pepper to taste
    dash of nutmeg
    10 ounces cooked uncooked spinach, drained very well shredded

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt in a small bowl. Cut in shortening using a fork or pastry cutter until combined. Sprinkle water in while tossing with fork, and continue to stir lightly until mixture forms a ball. Roll out on lightly floured board. .Press lightly into a 9-inch pie tart pan. This dough actually worked better for me not rolling it and treating it like a shortbread crust simply pressing the dough into the pan.
3. Spread spinach over the bottom of the crust.
4. In a separate bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour over spinach.
5. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 25-25 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle. Let stand 10 minutes before serving warm, room temperature or cold.

I made 1/2 of the recipe and that was more than enough filling for two 4 1/2″ mini quiches. One for me and one for, well me…tomorrow!!


On rainy days it is dangerous for me. Because I like to be in the kitchen. I can watch it rain. I cannot go outside. I can bake!! And today I needed a quick snack and I was completely out of EVERY snack I usually have. Small bags of pop-corn. Little bags of chips (once in a while) and Cheese Crackers. We eat a lot of cheese crackers. Not the gold-fish. Being so small they don’t last any time. The little square ones. You know the ones. CHEEZ-ITS!!
Lucky for me I was wandering through Rachel’s recipes and she had exactly what I wanted!!

Homemade Cheez-its (Cheddar Cheese Crackers)

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    3/4 teaspoon salt 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning (like Chacheres, or Emeril’s)
    1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (optional)
    2 tablespoons cold water

1. In a food processor, pulse everything except water together until it looks like course crumbs.
2. While pulsing, add in water 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Remove from food processor, wrap in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Roll out dough (quite thin) and cut into squares. Use a toothpick, to poke a hole in the middle of each cracker.
6. Place crackers on lined baking sheet You can place them fairly close together, as they do not really expand. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until crispy. ANd they will crisp more as they cool.

The only change I would make would be too add a smidgen more Cajun Seasoning to give them a little more bite!

After making these I am wondering why I didn’t think of making some before – and NOT paying $$ for boxes!! The world will never know!!


NOW!! About Supper!! How about….

    Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Spinach and Basil

The great thing about pasta dishes is they are very pliable. If you don’t really like an ingredient, you can leave it out. You can add more or less of item. You can use different pasta types. But this one didn’t need any changes.

    12 oz pasta
    reserved pasta water
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    12 oz chicken sausage, sliced {I used turkey sausage}.
    16 oz sliced white mushrooms
    3 oz fresh baby spinach
    5 oz grape tomatoes {I used diced creoles from the garden.}
    1 cup diced fresh mozzarella
    1/2 chopped fresh basil
    toasted pine nuts for garnish, optional

1. Put on water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in sliced sausage and cook until browned and slightly crispy. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
3. Toss in mushrooms and sauté until browned and cooked. Toss in spinach and grape tomatoes and cook until spinach is wilted and tomatoes begin to split.
4. Remove from heat and add in cooked pasta, basil, sausage, and mozzarella. Stir to combine, adding reserved pasta water to achieve your desired consistency.
5. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

This was good, y’all. The only change I would make would be to NOT add the diced Mozzarella until after everything else is mixed. Mine tended to clump together with the spinach. Did not ruin taste, however. I would have loved to use the flavored sausage Rachel used but I could not find anything like it so I settled for Turkey sausage. If I find the sund-ried tomato chicken sausage I will buy some because it sounds wonderful.

These three recipes are just a hint of the goodness you will find on Rachel’s blog. But don’t take my word for it – go and visit. K?

Every month I am excited at the new bloggers I am introduced to by the…..

    Secret Recipe Club

And visit the Links you find below for some real deliciousness!!

On the last Tuesday of the month there is a rather eclectic collection of women who gather together to exchange books, eat, talk, gripe, laugh. We are NOT a book club. We don’t discuss books, we just share them if we enjoyed them. We are our own lending library.

Each of us brings a dish, mine is usually a dessert, and we spend an inordinate amount of time enjoying the selection of food and each other. Sometimes there is a theme – salad night – but usually not.

In July my long time friend and confidante, who hosts each month, presented us with….

    Marinated Crawfish

My friend does not cook. Her oven has been unplugged for several months and with both of her children either gone or partially gone she and D eat a lot of salads or microwaveable dinners. So this dish was perfect for her to bring.

    3 – 5 green onions, chopped
    1 small stalk celery, chopped
    1.2 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 lb crawfish tail meat
    1/2 jar capers
    1 bottle Wishbone Italian Dressing
    2 tbl butter

Sauté the tails in butter. Cool. Mix all ingredients together. Marinate for a few hours. (The long you marinate, the better it is.)

She served these with pita bread.


When I first saw the title of this recipe I thought we were making something like a pizza. Then I remembered that ‘Down Under’ a slice is a quick cake, kind of. I only remember this because a few months back I made Bill’s Blackberry Slice from Bill Granger, an Australian chef, and it was a quick cake. So now we have Donna’s Hummingbird Slice which is like the Southern Hummingbird Cake but lighter, unfrosted, and made in an 8″ x 8″ pan rather than a layered cake.

Can you see all the coconut, carrots, and pecans in the cake. It is very like a carrot cake except the raisins are replaced by crushed pineapple which adds a tad more sweetness. But this cake wasn’t that sweet, although Kayte disagrees with me (you can find her mini cake on her site). The cake is drizzled with honey which just sweetens the whole light concoction. I have NEVER made a cake that came out so LIGHT!! It almost floated off the plate. Maybe the honey is to hold it down!! 🙂 And it is very very moist. Even three days later it is moist and delicious.

Thank you, Gaye. You just picked what is now one of our fave snack cakes. I think I’ll try these as cupcakes. Little cupcakes.

You can find the recipe on Donna’s Website. And check with Chaya for her ‘slice’ of hummingbird cake!!!

Donna Hay Wednesday is taking a break over the summer or winter if you are Chaya and Gaye. I hope you will come back and visit with us, or JOIN US!!! when we come back in August!!

Several days ago Abby of MixItBakeIt shared a recipe for Pepperoni Rolls with Kayte who then shared it with me. The result of all this sharing was a day of bread baking with Kayte. And that bread baking resulted in a tasty little treat that was a hit with everyone in her house and in mine.

Think of them as home made Hot Pockets but WAY WAY better. The pepperoni is microwaved until the pepperoni renders its fat and then some of the fat is added into the bread instead of butter. The flavor of the pepperoni is part of the dough. Inside the dough are sticks of pepperoni and I added cheese sticks (which didn’t melt).

The only alteration I made in the recipe, besides adding the cheese, was to have less meat than was called for. The recipe called for four pieces and I only used one. It really needed more, but I didn’t have enough. As it was I filled two of the eight pockets with deli ham and shredded cheddar cheese. THAT was good too.

These came out beautifully browned because of the egg wash and the dough stayed soft but slightly chewy. You could fill these with just about anything. Like mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce instead of dipping them in the sauce. OR you fill them just with tons of shredded cheese. Or taco meat. Or use butter in the dough and fill them with jam or chocolate. Like I said. Endless possibilities.

Kayte has them posted on her blog and when Abby posts them we will link to the recipe. So come on back later.

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