Summer Fabulous in a Jar: Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

The look of summer fabulous does not just happen.  Getting our decor, porches, patios, decks, lawns and gardens summer wow ’em ready comes with a fair amount of work.  Unfortunately, this labor of summer outdoor living love does not go unnoticed on the hands, feet and elbows of those who do the time in the summer salt mines putting a lot of elbow grease into it by performing the let’s pretty things up around here task at hand. Consulting my handy dandy Thesaurus for a nicer word for work, I thought these synonyms for the word work make a point.

Task at hand.

Elbow grease.

Salt mines.

Hand.  Grease (oil).  Salt.  I’m thinking a sweet summer season body scrub is in order.

Targeted emails, BOGOS and promo codes complement the necessary essential oils order needed to create the latest addition to my DIY beauty scrub recipe collection.  Let me introduce you to a fabulous summer hand, feet and body beauty treatment– Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub.

essential oil

I almost forgot to add this little tidbit of inspired information to the post.

crystal kiss dishGodinger Hershey’s Kiss Candy Dish

Back at Christmastime I ordered the crystal replica of the Hershey’s Kiss from Godinger Crystal for Dave the Builder’s Christmas stocking gift.  The busy shipping elves at Godinger mistakenly sent me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup dish instead of the Hershey’s Kiss dish.  One quick and courteous call to customer service later, the issue professionally became a non-issue resulting in a sweet deal.  With all this talk and type of the rule of kiss aka keep it summer simple, container inspiration stylishly struck.

salt sugar coconut oil

I spooned ¼ cup of the scrub into the kiss dish and added a few of the dried lavender buds for keeping it lavender rose summer body scrub stylishly scented and summer scrub simple.

body scrub jar

I keep the remaining scrub in a lidded jar, the lavender buds nearby in a lovely vintage dish.  The pairing of lavender and rose together is summer scent divine!

purple lavender

Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

½ cup sugar
½ cup kosher sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, melted
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rose essential oil
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Spoon scrub into a lidded jar of choice and seal tightly.  Scrub will keep for several weeks.

C’est Si Bon of Home: Crawfish Cheesecake

Louisiana cooking often begins with Louisiana Cookin’.   When the local crowd craves the c’est si bon of home or culinary curiosity piques the palate of the connoisseur in seasoned search of what Louisiana cuisine is all about, Louisiana Cookin’ magazine details the Louisiana lagniappe.

Louisiana=Cookin'

Featuring delectable details of our unique culture, cuisine and recipes to beat the jazz band, Louisiana Cookin’  is the guide we consult.  Crawfish is in season, and this recipe for Crawfish Cheesecake places the season and seasoning spotlight on the regional delicacy and c’est si bon of home.

Crawfish Cheesecake

Crawfish Cheesecake

Ingredients

½ (13.7-ounce) box Ritz crackers

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

½ pound andouille sausage, sliced

½ pound crawfish tail meat

¼ cup chopped fresh jalapeño pepper

24 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 large eggs

½ cup Crawfish Beurre Blanc, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°.  In the bowl of a food processor, add crackers, and process until finely chopped.  In a medium bowl, combine cracker crumbs and butter.  Press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes; set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add sausage, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add crawfish and jalapeño, and cook until jalapeño softens, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Set aside, and let cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add crawfish mixture, thyme, salt, and pepper, and beat until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.

Pour cream cheese mixture over prepared crust. Set springform pan in a roasting pan, and fill with water half-way up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake until set and cheesecake jiggles lightly in the center, about 1 hour.  Remove from oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 3 days before serving.  Serve with Crawfish Beurre Blanc, if desired.  Serves 8

Crawfish Beurre Blanc

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

¼ pound crawfish tail meat

¼ cup chopped shallot

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon hot sauce

4 sprigs thyme

1 tablespoon peppercorns

2 cloves garlic

½ cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup unsalted butter, cubed

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.  Stir in crawfish, shallot, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside, and let cool.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine wine, vinegar, hot sauce, thyme, peppercorns, and garlic, and cook until reduced by one-third, about 15 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer; return liquid to pan.

Add cream, and cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Stir in butter, one cube at a time, until butter is melted and the sauce is smooth; stir in remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in crawfish mixture.  Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Louisiana Cookin’

cest-si-bon

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia.  Now that I have your attention, let me share with you this delicious recipe developed in the Places In The Home test kitchen over this past Mardi Gras celebration weekend.  In this the season of crawfish, Mardi Gras and Lent, fish recipes are in the menu spotlight.  Mama Places In The Home (my mother) picked up a 2lb. bag of Tilapia fillets at our Walmart Neighborhood Market Friday afternoon, and promptly placed her order for fish.

tilapia fillets

Dave the Builder requested potatoes in cream sauce topped with fresh parsley, and my brother placed his order for my family famous creamy coleslaw.  I do like a now we’re cooking weekend.

A bag of pecans and a bag of walnuts left over from holiday baking started the wheels of recipe development turning.  Creole seasoning is always on hand, and everything is better with brown sugar on it. Baking fish, chicken, chops, etc… is healthier not to mention I can’t stand the smell of fried foods in the house.  I contemplated soaking the fish in buttermilk, mustard and Tabasco, but will keep that flavor key exclusive to my catfish recipe.  Traditional bread crumbs, fresh lemon slices and fresh chopped parsley round out the ingredient list.

tilapia on plate (1)

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia

Ingredients

2 pound bag (approximately 9 fillets)

1½ cups traditional bread crumbs

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning (see recipe below)

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

2 sticks butter

2 lemons, sliced

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a baking dish, stir together the breadcrumbs, chopped pecans/walnuts, brown sugar and Creole seasoning.

creole seasoning pecans walnutsLine a cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place defrosted tilapia fillets on foil lined sheet.  Melt one (1) stick of butter.  Pour melted butter over fillets to lightly coat.

tilapia

Working with one fillet at the time, dredge each fillet in dry mixture, coating each side.  Place the fillets on the cookie sheet.  Top each fillet with a lemon slice.  Top each lemon slice with a pat of butter (1½ teaspoons).

coated tilapia baking sheet

Place cookie sheet in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn oven up to 400 degrees F.

fresh parsley1

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and top each fillet with a generous pinch of fresh parsley.

baked tilapia1

Return the cookie sheet to the now 400 degree F oven.  Continue baking fillets for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

pecan walnut crusted baked tilapia2

Recipe for Creole Seasoning

1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Cooking For Super Bowl Sunday? Super Bowl Simmer Set Serve Dishes

Super Bowl Simmer Set Serve Dishes serve up delicious game day eats. Regardless of regular season team allegiance, the football loyal gather together to get the Super Bowl party started.  Football is the reason for the season, but what’ll have them talking is the food, the commercials and the half time entertainment.  The Super Bowl is all about the more, more, more.

super bowl logo

The following video is disco divine! Flashback to the 70s at your own risk.

disco ball

When the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV,  I could not talk for three days.  We indulged in Super Bowl Simmer Set Serve Dishes filled with Louisiana heat and flavor.  We screamed.  We cheered.  We made the Who Dat Nation proud!  It was a wild ride- a Super Bowl memory for the books.

new orleans saints super bowl champs1

Easy simmer, set, serve dishes top the menu roster on game day.  Delicious and crowd pleasing, it’s the one pot or slow cooker recipes that please both chef and guests.  Soup’s on soups.  C’est si bon gumbos.  Chili with or without beans bowls.  Speaking of beans- how about a pot of red beans and rice?   Stuffed (or not) bell pepper dressing.  Easy works well in the game day kitchen.  Allow me to share with you these Super Bowl Simmer Set Serve dishes recipes for your Super Bowl party menu consideration.

Super Bowl Simmer Set Serve Dishes

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

Ingredients

8  cups water

3  chicken bouillon cubes

4  boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 lb. package smoked sausage

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped onions

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped bell peppers

3 bay leaves

2  Tablespoons minced garlic

1  teaspoon celery salt

1  teaspoon fine black pepper, or to taste*

OR in place of salt and pepper season with 1 teaspoon Créole seasoning, or to taste*

1  cup white wine

cooked rice

Directions

Slice sausage into ½ inch pieces. Using a seasoned skillet for optimum taste results, cook the sliced sausage over medium-high heat until browned.  Transfer cooked sausage to plate lined with paper towels, allowing excess grease to drain.  Set aside.

Place chicken breasts in Dutch oven or stock pot, add water, and bring to a boil.  Season for broth with ½ teaspoon celery salt ½ black pepper.  Stir and reduce heat to medium low, cooking chicken breasts until done, about 1 hour. Transfer chicken breasts from pot to large mixing bowl.  Slice chicken breasts into strips and add back to broth.

Turn heat back to high and bring to boil.  Add prepared roux to broth and chicken mixture, whisking until roux dissolves.  Reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic, chopped onions, chopped bell pepper, bay leaves, chicken bouillon cubes, remaining celery salt and pepper (or Créole seasoning).   Carefully pour in white wine.  Stir to blend and incorporate.

Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for approximately 2 hours, allowing all flavors to marry.  Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off the top of gumbo.  Add chopped green onions and continue to simmer for additional 5 minutes.  Serve gumbo over rice.  Top with a sprinkle of filé, more green onions, and hot sauce to taste, if desired.

RedBeansRice

Red beans and rice is a Louisiana tradition.  The Places In The Home gang considers gumbos and beans and rice combinations hearty soups of sorts, and this slow cooker red beans and rice recipe has Super Bowl party menu star stirred and served all over it.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients

1  pound dry red kidney beans
12  cups water
1  tablespoon vegetable oil
1  pound andouille sausage, sliced in ¼-inch rounds
5  cups chicken broth, divided
3  cups diced yellow onion
2  cups diced celery
1  cup diced green bell pepper
1  cup diced red bell pepper
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound tasso ham, sliced into 1 x ¼-inch strips
1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (see French Onion soup recipe below)
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped green onion
Hot cooked jasmine rice
Garnish: chopped parsley

Directions

In a 4-quart container, soak red beans in 12 cups water; leave uncovered overnight.  After soaking, discard soaking water, and rinse beans with fresh water.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add sausage, and cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove sausage from pan, and set aside. Deglaze skillet with 2 tablespoons chicken broth, add onion, and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 7 to 9 minutes.  Add celery and bell peppers to skillet, and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a 4-quart slow cooker.  Add garlic, remaining broth, tasso, brown sugar, bay leaves, salt, hot sauce, black pepper, Cajun seasoning, sage, chipotle pepper, cayenne pepper, reserved beans, and cooked sausage, stirring to combine.

Cover, and cook on high until beans are softened and cooked through, 3 to 4 hours.

Add chopped parsley and green onion to red bean mixture.  Serve over rice. Garnish with additional parsley, if desired.  Serves 6.

~Louisiana Cookin’

red chili no beans

Bowl ‘O Red

Ingredients

1 ¼ pounds ground beef chuck
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground pasilla or ancho chile pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1  14 ½ ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1  14 ½ ounce can beef broth
1  12 ounce bottle lager beer or 1 ½ cup beef broth
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Directions

In a Dutch oven cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until meat is brown, breaking up meat.  Drain off fat.  Stir in pasilla pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cloves, and salt. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant.

Stir in tomatoes, broth, beer, and mustard. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 40 minutes.

Slow Cooker: Prepare as directed in Step 1. Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes, broth, ½ cup of the beer, and the mustard.  Cover.  Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or on high 4 to 5 hours.

~Better Homes and Gardens

Queso Soup

Creamy Queso Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)

1 jar (16 ounces) Pace® Mexican Four Cheese Salsa con Queso

2 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural Goodness® or Certified Organic)

¼ cup milk

crushed tortilla chips

chopped green onions

Directions

Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes or until the onion is tender.Reduce the heat to low. Stir the queso, broth and milk in the saucepan and cook for 3 minutes or until the queso mixture is hot.  Serve topped with the tortilla chips and green onions.

~ Campbell’s Kitchen

rice scoopStuffed (or not) Pepper Dressing

1 lb. ground beef

1 bag frozen chopped onions

1 bag frozen chopped green peppers

1  teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon basil

½ teaspoon thyme

1 24 ounce can spaghetti sauce

1 cup cooked rice

6 bell peppers

8 ounce package shredded cheese of choice

bellpeppers

Cut the tops and stem off of each pepper.  Remove the core and seeds from inside each pepper.  Cook the bell peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes or until desired softness is reached.  Remove peppers from water and set aside.

Place ground beef, onions and peppers in a large skillet.  Cook together over high heat until ground beef is browned.  Pour or spoon off excess fat. Reduce heat to medium. Season mixture with salt and pepper, stirring to incorporate.  Stir in spaghetti sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Add basil and garlic, stirring to incorporate.

garlic-basil

Reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer dressing for 10 minutes. Remove lid and spoon in cooked rice.  Sprinkle with thyme.  Stir rice into beef mixture to incorporate.  That’s it!  Serves 6.

If stuffing:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously stuff (fill) each pepper with the dressing.  Place stuffed peppers open side up in a baking dish.  Top each pepper with shredded cheese of your choice.  Bake covered for 25 to 30 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

onion soup

French Onion Soup

Ingredients

2  Tablespoon butter

2  teaspoons olive oil

6  medium onions thinly sliced

1  teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 bay leaves

½ cup white white or sherry

2 quarts (8 cups) low sodium beef broth

French bread baguette

8 slices Gruyère cheese

For Creole Seasoning

Ingredients

1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

Directions

Heat butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over a medium- high heat.  Add sliced onions and bay leaves to the pan, saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle sugar and Creole seasoning over onions, stir to incorporate.

sliced-onion-rings

Cook onions and company for 30 minutes or until softened and reaching a caramelized stage.  Add sherry and bay leaves to onions.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.   Turn heat back up to medium-high and add beef broth.  Allowing broth to heat through, reduce to simmer, and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes in order for ingredients to marry and live happily ever after.  Remove bay leaves.

rosemary bread

french bread loaves

Slice French bread baguette and place on a baking sheet.  Place under broiler until slices reach a light golden brown.

soup-crockOnion Soup Crock

Place crocks, ramekins, or oven proof bowls on a large cookie sheet.  Fill each with 1 cup soup.  Place one slice French bread in each bowl and top with 1 cheese slice.  Broil on high until cheese is melted and browned. Serves 8.

Directions for Creole Seasoning

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

Creole-seasoning

 T-9 until Super Bowl Sunday.  Can you taste the victory?

enjoy

Home Sweet Holiday Home: Our Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Home Sweet Holiday Home is all about our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes.  Delicious anticipation over our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes builds all year long, and inquiring minds and holiday appetites drive family and friends home to break bread and give thanks for these favorite thanksgiving side dish recipes.

home-sweet-home-holidays-blog-1

Our holiday dinner menu is influenced by traditional, new traditional, and regional Thanksgiving side dish recipes.  Family is well represented through the memorable dishes found on our Southern family dinner table.   antique-silver-salt-pepper-shakers

Here’s two of our favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipes full of Louisiana flavor for the season.

inseason564-2

Creole Baked Oyster Dressing

Ingredients

2 (16-ounce) containers shucked oysters, drained, liquor reserved
6 tablespoons butter
1½ cups chopped onion
⅓ cup chopped green onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Coarsely chop any large oysters.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Remove 2 tablespoons butter and reserve.  Add onions, celery, and bell pepper; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add sage, parsley, thyme, and garlic; cook 1 minute. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, bread, bread crumbs, lemon juice, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper; stir until combined.  Add oysters and 1 cup of reserved oyster liquor; stir gently.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Drizzle with reserved 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Bake, lightly covered, 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until bread is lightly browned and oysters are curled around the edges, about 25 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Louisiana Cookin’

asparagus-with-crawfish-hollandaise

Asparagus with Crawfish Hollandaise

Ingredients

2 pounds green asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup butter, melted
½ (16-ounce) package crawfish tails

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and add asparagus.  Top with canola oil, salt, and pepper, and brush evenly with basting brush. Bake until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water to a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer. In a stainless steel bowl, add egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.  Hold bowl over simmering water making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water, and whisk vigorously until volume of egg mixture doubles.  Slowly whisk in melted butter until sauce is thick and combined.  Remove from heat, and stir in crawfish.  Serve immediately over asparagus.

Louisiana Cookin’

sweet-potato-casserole-1

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup milk

½ cup melted butter

Topping:

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.  Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.  Serves 6 to 8.

Southern Food

tees-corn-pudding

Tee’s Corn Pudding

Ingredients

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 package (8-½ ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
½ cup 2% milk
1 can (15-¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°.   In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in sour cream.  Gradually add muffin mix alternately with milk.  Fold in corn.

Pour into a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until set and lightly browned.  Makes 8 servings.

Southern Living

favorite thanksgiving side dish recipes

Click on the links below for full recipe

Juniper-Marinated Mushrooms and Onions

Lemony Green Beans

Mashed Sweet Potato with Melted Leeks

Simply Scalloped Potatoes

buttermilk-cornbreadLook at that crispy edge perfection- the hallmark of Southern buttermilk cornbread.

Good cornbread is the base ingredient of great dressing.  I’ve enjoyed bread dressing, oyster dressing, and sausage dressing.  All are quite delicious in their own right, but our traditional holiday turkey dinner is not complete without Southern buttermilk cornbread dressing.  Here is my recipe for the cornbread:

Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons oil

2 cups buttermilk self -rising white corn meal mix

1 cup self-rising flour

½ Tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup milk

Directions

Set oven to 425 degrees. Preheat oven while preparing cornbread mix. Mix corn meal and flour into mixing bowl. Stir in milk and eggs and mix well. Batter should be a medium thick consistency. Thin by adding additional milk until desired consistency is reached.  Grease baking pan or oven safe skillet(preferably a black cast iron skillet) with 3 Tablespoons cooking oil. Bottom of pan or skillet should be coated well but not swimming in oil.  Place pan in oven to heat oil.  Once oil is heated, remove pan from oven.  Pour batter into greased pan. Return pan or skillet to oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Buttermilk Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients

crumbled cornbread

¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning, optional

*We are in a sage free zone here at Places In The Home.  If you want to add this seasoning/herb to the recipe, I suggest ¼ teaspoon sage.

1 medium bunch green onions, chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped

3 eggs, beaten

4-6 cups chicken(canned is fine) or turkey broth, or more as preferred

Directions

One skillet of crumbled cornbread will make approximately 6 servings. For dressing, crumble cooled cornbread by hand to a fine consistency with no lumps. Place crumbled cornbread in large mixing bowl. Add poultry seasoning, green onions, celery, beaten eggs and broth (½ cup at the time).  Mix well.  You want the consistency of your dressing to be soupy. Pour into lightly greased roasting pan or deep casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour until top is lightly browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

enjoy

Making Louisiana Gumbo: A Lesson In Flavors From Home

Making Louisiana gumbo is what’s cookin’ in the Places In The Home kitchen today.  Our son wants to master the art of the roux and the flavor ya ya of my gumbo recipe.  The plan is to introduce his Canadian friends and co-workers to Cajun cuisine.  A lesson in flavors from home far transcends roux and filé.

output_dyhnht

“Cajun cuisine is a technique-driven cuisine, because it’s a very humble style of cooking.  It’s about what can you do with humble ingredients like onions, celery, bell peppers, oil, and flour.  How can you intensify flavors and create meals that are satisfying and hearty and make you happy.”

-Frank Brigsten

roux-gumbo

flour-sifter

Roux

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Heat oil in a black skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add flour in gradually, stirring well.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir/whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches a rich brown color, approximately 30-40 minutes. You must stir/whisk constantly to prevent the roux from burning.  Black flakes indicate burned roux, and burned roux tastes horrible.  If you burn it, throw it out and start over.

Start over?

Start over.

 It’s worth it.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

Ingredients

8  cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 lb. package smoked sausage

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped onions

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped bell peppers

3 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon fine black pepper, or to taste*

OR in place of salt and pepper season with 1 teaspoon Créole seasoning, or to taste*

1 cup white wine

cooked rice

Directions

Slice sausage into ½ inch pieces. Using a seasoned skillet for optimum taste results, cook the sliced sausage over medium-high heat until browned.  Transfer cooked sausage to plate lined with paper towels, allowing excess grease to drain.  Set aside.

peppers-onions

Place chicken breasts in Dutch oven or stock pot, add water, and bring to a boil.  Season for broth with ½ teaspoon celery salt ½ black pepper. Stir and reduce heat to medium low, cooking chicken breasts until done, about 1 hour.  Transfer chicken breasts from pot to large mixing bowl.  Slice chicken breasts into strips and add back to broth.

sausage-chicken-onions

Turn heat back to high and bring to boil.  Add prepared roux to broth and chicken mixture, whisking until roux dissolves.  Reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic, chopped onions, chopped bell pepper, bay leaves, chicken bouillon cubes, remaining celery salt and pepper (or Créole seasoning).   Carefully pour in white wine.  Stir to blend and incorporate.

boiling-gumbo

Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for approximately 2 hours, allowing all flavors to marry.  Remove bay leaves and skim any fat off the top of gumbo.  Add chopped green onions and continue to simmer for additional 5 minutes.

gumbo-file

Serve gumbo over rice.  Top with a sprinkle of filé, more green onions, and hot sauce to taste, if desired.  Gumbo is delicious on the first day, and flavor filled filé fantastic the next day.

gumbo-bowl

cest-si-bon

Fair Inspired, Fall Delicious Baked Caramel Apples

When the fair comes to town so does the craving for a classic carnival sweet treat, caramel apples.  The annual parish (you all say county, we Louisianians say parish) fair is in town this week which means time to develop a recipe for fair inspired, fall delicious Baked Caramel Apples.

caramel-apple-at-the-fairThe Might Thomas Carnivals

I don’t think you ever outgrow the love of fairs and carnivals or the classic food offerings associated with these only come to town once a year midways of amusement.  Dave the Builder gets a kick out of my proclamation “fair music!” when I hear “Up Around the Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Back in my midway days, I definitely pondered perpetual motion twirling around the Tilt-a-Whirl, Scrambler, and Flying Bobs.  My tastes in carnival rides runs along the same lines as my interior design and decorating tastes.  Keep the line moving to the center of traditional and classic and go easy on the thrills and frills, folks.

say_ahhhhSay AHHH

No creepy clown sightings or clowning around with the prize winning flavor of a caramel apple.

red-apple

Baked Caramel Apples

red delicious apples, cored and hallowed ½ way down center of the apple

Per apple:

½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 heaping teaspoon Duncan Hines salted caramel frosting

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°.  Wash, core and hallow out apples about ½ way down the center.  Place apples upright in baking dish.

cored-apple

Sprinkle the inside of each apple with lemon juice.  Dust the center of each apple with cinnamon.  Add a generous teaspoon of the salted caramel frosting to the center of each apple.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until apples are soft.  Serve warm as side dish or as a fabulous fall dessert topped with your favorite flavor of ice cream or whipped topping.

baked-caramel-apples

No need for butter or margarine with this recipe.  The salted caramel frosting pulls double delicious duty as both butter substitute and caramel flavor.  Easy. Delicious. Classic fall flavor.

enjoy

Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub

Good morning, afternoon or evening, friends!  Friday is in sight or here which is always a plus. Fall is getting its look and feel on, the small surgical procedure I had Tuesday went well, and I love the way the homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub turned out.  Anesthesia is drying, and knowing this I wanted to have a hand scrub on hand.  Looking ahead to more fall decorating with the branches and cuttings soon to fill ironstone pitchers and the demijohn Dave the Builder recently found in his rounds, I quickly recalled that getting to and cutting down the aforementioned branches and cuttings do a number on your hands.  Put the pumpkin pie seasoning in the coconut (oil, that is) and treat your hands to a fabulous Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub in the morning.

Or noon.

Or night.

You get the point.

pumpkin-pie-scrub

After a day filled with political mudslinging from every channel, network and streaming site, am I the only one who feels like a day at the spa treatment is in order?  Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub has got you and your hands covered.

pumpkin pie spice sugar scrub

This scrub is super emollient, softens immediately, and can I just tell you- the scent is fall in a bottle.

sugar-scrub-container

Mexican vanilla and pumpkin pie spice marry together in notes of fall fragrant harmony.

For the hands:

Dampen hands with tepid water.  Apply a small amount of pumpkin pie spice sugar hand scrub and gently massage in a circular movement to exfoliate and renew skin.  Rinse well with warm water and gently pat dry. To further promote  at home spa experience,  apply a small amount of your favorite hand cream to seal in the moisture and protect.

sugar-scrub

Taking the new mixing bowl out for a recipe mixing test drive.

Now for the recipe.

pumpkin-scrub

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

Ingredients

½ cup coconut oil; softened

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1½ Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions

In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together until blended.  Store the Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Scrub in jar(s) with air tight lid(s).  The scrub will keep at room temperature for up to one month.

enjoy

 

 

Summer In A Jar: Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

Well, it’s official.  I am slowly but surely becoming my grandmother- both of them.  These two Southern women of strong convictions and delicious confections knew from trial by fire through temperatures of hellacious measure how hot a kitchen could get in the dead of summer.

summer-fruit-bowl

Late lunch and evening meal menus played to cold salads of potato, macaroni, Louisiana seafood and leafy greens, fresh farm to market fruits and vegetables served at room temperature (the absolute best way to eat a homegrown tomato!), crispy cold fried chicken or bacon, roast beef or thin sliced ham prepared the morning before, canned pickles and chow chow spiked with bite and flavor.

blueberries

Even in these modern central air times, when the stove and double ovens are cooking and baking at full throttle in the good old summertime, things can get hot, hot, hot in the kitchen.  I learned from the best it’s not the temperature it’s served at but the taste and presentation upon the plate.

Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

My latest summer salad series recipe, Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette, deliciously fits right in with the house salad rule for summer suppers.  The Dijon mustard, olive oil, Kosher salt and fine black pepper make a tasty base.  The complementing flavors of the fig preserves and fresh lemon juice brought on the zing, but two tablespoons of fresh mint chopped uber fine delivered a bright bite placing this vinaigrette in a whole new flavor category.  This vinaigrette is summer in a jar.  Simply fresh, simply delicious!

butter-lettuce

Note the vintage serving bowl I bought on our latest antiques treasure hunting trip.

summer-butter-salad1

Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

Ingredients

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 Tablespoons fig preserves

1½  Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

Kosher salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

 

Directions

Whisk lemon juice, Dijon mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl until blended.  Add olive oil and whisk until blended.  Stir in the fresh mint, Kosher salt and pepper.  To guarantee extra blended goodness pour vinaigrette into a small mason jar.  Screw on the lid good and tight and give it a good shake to combine.

enjoy-hydrangea

Coconut Poke Cake

Temperatures in Louisiana hit the 90° degrees in the shade mark today. Summer is in sight and the first holiday weekend of the season is coming up.  I guess now is about as good a time as any to shine the spotlight on an entertaining summer read and a delicious summer recipe.  Two things our dinner gang does not shy away from- discussion and dessert.  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake  and a request for coconut poke cake served up a delicious course of both.

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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

My mother requested I make a coconut poke cake for our Mother’s Day brunch dessert.  She specifically wanted me to make a coconut poke cake from a recipe she eavesdropped on overheard two ladies discussing at the beauty shop. Trying to follow her not so committed to memory bits and pieces of recipe recall about drove me coconuts.  “They said something about poking holes and coconut.”  Gee thanks, Mother.

cake-on-a-plateGoogle supplied the general outline, but a couple of ingredients adjustments and culinary interpretation fined tuned the overall taste.  My mother was so pleased with how my coconut poke cake turned out she asked me to make another one for the next meeting of our dinner gang. My idea for choosing The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert as our required read was no coincidence at all.

coconut-poke-cake

Coconut Poke Cake

Ingredients

1 box white cake mix

1 cup coconut milk

3 large eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons good vanilla

1 can (15 oz) Coco Lopez cream of coconut

2  8 oz frozen Cool Whip Extra Creamy whipped topping, thawed

1 8 oz package shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour the pan(s).  I like to use about 2 heaping tablespoons of the dry cake mix to flour my pan. You can use a rectangular pan, two round cake pans or a bundt pan.

Prepare cake mix substituting the coconut milk for the water and adding vanilla. Beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until all ingredients are well blended.

Pour cake batter into prepared cake pan(s). Bake according to package instructions. Remove cake from oven and while cake is still hot poke holes all over the top of the cake using a the handle of a wooden spoon.
Slowly pour the entire can of cream of coconut over the top of the cake. making sure the cream of coconut soaks into the holes.  Allow cake to cool completely. Generously frost top (and sides) with the extra creamy whipped topping and finish by topping the cake with the flaked coconut. Cover and keep refrigerated.

enjoy-hydrangea