Choosing to see the extraordinary of "ordinary"

Category Archives: Food Love

I grew up with a dad that would eat pretty much anything.  The man is a gem when it comes to food.  He ain’t picky.  The more I learn, the more I realize it’s something NOT to be taken for granted.

(Thankfully, God blessed me with another man who also is not picky about food.)

Well, this morning, I decided to fry myself an egg for breakfast.  I have issues with fried eggs.  It drives me batty.  No matter how hard I try, most of the time the yolk breaks (I like them over easy), or it burns or something.  This morning, the problem was that I didn’t leave it on long enough and the white was runny.  *blech*  I sat at the table with the egg on my plate and muttered, “I can’t do this.”  Across the room Caleb asked, “What?”  I replied, “I just can’t eat this runny egg.”

IMG_0953via A Canadian Foodie

The egg this morning reminded me of a time I cooked dad supper back when I lived at home.  Though dad isn’t picky, he can’t cook a.single.thing unless it can be done on the grill.  So, I cooked supper that night.  My choice of meal was breakfast.

Now, we like breakfast for supper.  We like breakfast for supper far better than breakfast for breakfast.  It was one of our go-to meals at home.  Since mom wasn’t there to save me, I had to buck up and attempt fried eggs by myself.  Determined not to over cook, burn or break the yolk, I took them out of the skillet early, proudly brought the plate of fried eggs and all other food to the table and sat down with dad.

We ate.  Dad was quiet.

Never did he complain.  But after I picked through a runny mixture of barely cooked egg, I piped up, “Ummm, you don’t have to eat it.”  He was trying, poor man.  He was trying.  But at that, he broke into a huge, sheepish grin and kind of laughed.  And neither one of us ate the eggs.

But he didn’t complain, and he would have eaten it.  And for a daughter cooking her dad a meal, that’s something I’ll always remember.

(Oh, and Caleb came to my rescue this morning and fried me another egg.)  And that’s the story of my men and the fried eggs.

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Baking.  It is on my top five list of must-do Christmas activities.  Yes, there are a multitude of other Christmassy things I love, but baking is a necessity, absolutely and without a doubt.

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As far as the baking department goes, I’ve only had pieces of time here and there instead of an entire day just to fix little Christmas goodies like I wanted to.  And the trays of pastries and cookies I wanted to deliver to our neighbors?  Yeah, unfortunately, they didn’t happen.  The baking has still been fun though, and most of it’s gotten done.

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So, in those bits and pieces of time, I’ve cranked up the Christmas music, turned on the Christmas lights and heated up the stove.  Smells of cherry turnovers and gingerbread men and cranberry bread fill the kitchen.  I eat an entire day’s worth of calories “testing” each thing and “cleaning” each bowl.  Flour is on my clothes; powdered sugar is on the floor; fudge is on my lips, and icing is on my elbow (how did that get there?); pots and pans and spatulas and spoons fill every flat surface.  I am not a clean baker.  But I’m a happy one!

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So, as I dance around the kitchen, pulling pans out of the oven, singing “Blue Christmas” Elvis-style and squealing that the bread loaves actually came out of the pan without breaking, I wish you a Merry Christmas Eve and hope you are enjoying your many blessings today!

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There are those moments where food makes such a deep impact on your life that you will never be the same again.  Oh, it’s true; it can happen. 

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For me, one of those moments was an autumn trip to visit my friend Sarah.  We met while I lived in Washington, D.C. and formed a friendship that will last a lifetime.  Well, as I was saying, I went for a visit and we traveled down to Savannah, Georgia for a day trip.  (Pause with me for a moment of silence for all that is southern and good and beautiful in Savannah, Georgia.)  Ok, back to food.  There is a restaurant there called The Lady and Sons, aaaand who is that lady?  Why, Paula Deen, of course!  Do you want to die and go to southern cooking heaven?  Buy a plane ticket JUST to visit this place.

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I tried her sweet potato casserole.  It changed my life.  

Always and ever before, I had only known sweet potatoes as the once a year Thanksgiving mash of orange on Grandma’s counter.  Don’t get me wrong, Grandma was a good cook, but this mashed orange substance would attempt to lure us into eating it with a layer of marshmallows on top.  I was not fooled.  

Sorry, Grandma, but Paula Deen’s sweet potato casserole?  It ain’t no marshmallow-y, orange casserole.  It’s pure dessert heaven.  It is now “my dish” that I bring to our family’s Thanksgiving Day celebration.  It will be passed on for generations.  It alone will be responsible for several pounds added around…well, we won’t say around where.  All I can say is that It.Is.Worth.It.

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SWEET POTATO BAKE by Paula Deen

Cook Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Easy
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk
Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for cream. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cream;mix well. Pour into greased casserole dish ( 1 1/2 quarts). Add topping. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

I have a confession.  Every single month since we’ve been married, I’ve gone over the grocery budget.  Grrr.  This isn’t a crisis, but it annoys me.  Reason would tell me, “Duh, set the monthly amount higher.”  No.  I have an amount in my mind, and I WILL someday meet that goal.  I will; I will; I will; I haven’t.

However, I am slowly getting better at this monthly exercise.  Something that’s helped?  Our cute little Walmart Neighborhood Market.

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To me, time is almost as precious a commodity as money.  I don’t have time to run to a whole bunch of stores getting this deal or that deal.  My solution is to look at the store ads each week, make a list of items and price match at Walmart.  Boo-yah!  Though I still stop at a few other stores, Walmart is my stock-up place.

Now, another thing…I do NOT like big Walmarts.  Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, there was a mass abandonment of small stores.  Our little Walmart moved into a new Super Walmart; Target became Super Target; the small town Dillons became a mega Dillons.  You could get everything from furniture to lawn equipment to milk all in the same trip.  The problem was that tripping around those mega stores takes forever.  I am that brainless ninny who traipses across the store several times forgetting this thing or that.

When the powers that be started building a little Walmart Neighborhood Market on my way home, I thought, “Goodness gracious, how many stores does one town need?”  Oh, but this isn’t a store.  It’s a reversion back to the good ol’ days.  It’s a small town grocery market that sells…groceries.

So, today on my way home, I will stop by my little store and price match to get pineapple for $0.99, 10 pounds of potatoes for $1.50, bacon for $2.99 and cream cheese for $0.79 – all prices from four stores bought from ONE store.  Glory hallelujah!

I think this might just be the month I stay within our grocery budget.


The grocery store recently ran a sale on apples for $0.63/lb.  Aaaahhhhhh, I’ve been waiting for this day for months and months, and it is finally here.

I love applesauce, I truly do.  And call me an applesauce snob, but the store bought stuff…well, it’s ok.  I’ll eat it and even marginally enjoy it, but homemade applesauce?  ‘Tis the best.  Oh, and the smell of homemade applesauce simmering on the stove makes me want to squeal.  Wait, it does make me squeal…

So, I set out to get me some apples, fresh from the orchard.  Don’t you love how they come off the trees already with those little stickers on them?  Ok, so they came from the store.  Picking apples?  Eh, been there done that.  It’s quaint and oh-so fall-ish.  It’s also a lot of work…I mean, I’m already making applesauce, you want me to pick them too?  I think not.

DSC00683The peeling, coring and slicing is super simple with my garage sale, Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer.  Such a long and stupid name for such a life saving tool.

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And likity split, there they are, simmering away.  I just wish the internet inventor people would come up with a smeller-sharer on here.

DSC00493Sadly, I am NOT a very good recipe follower.  I just dump and taste.  This is sad because I can never dump and taste exactly the same each time.  The first batch was, eh, ok.  The second batch was pure perfection, if I do say so myself.  (The key:  There IS such a thing as too much cinnamon and no amount of sugar can cover it up.)

Pour that perfection into jars, process in the oven, and here we are.  Blurry picture though it may be.

DSC00685I had to make a batch of apple pie filling too.  Because, well, I’m an apple pie filling snob too…DSC00664

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