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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Green Chile Chicken Soup

A friend started a recipe group on Facebook.  She wants fast and easy recipes.  Fast and easy I do all the time.  Recipes for fast and easy?  Not my thing.  It usually takes longer to explain how to do it than to cook the entire meal.  

While this soup isn't exactly "fast and easy" it is quick and moderately painless.  Go ahead and use thighs or even whole chicken if you want.   Use dry or fresh spices.  Use any peppers you have.

Yes, it is mild.  Add more peppers if you want it hotter.  Or leave some seeds in.  Milder, use a couple bell peppers.

Don't want to use beer?  Just use another 12 oz of chicken broth just watch your seasonings because it might get salty.

Green Chile Chicken Soup

Chicken, black beans, vegetables, and Green Chile enchilada sauce make this rich.
Banana peppers mild heat really makes this soup great.
Serving size: 1 cup


  • 1 ¼ lbs (4 -5 small) boneless skinless chicken breast (diced)
  • 2  15 oz cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 28 oz. can green chile enchilada sauce
  • ! Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder (or 2-6 cloves finely chopped fresh garlic)
  • 2 cups Chicken broth or 2 teaspoons bullion and 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp dry oregano (1 Tbsp fresh.)
  • 1 medium carrot (diced)
  • 3 stalks celery (diced)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 small banana peppers (seeded and diced)
  • 3 jalapeno peppers (seeded and diced)
  • 1 can (12 oz) Mexican beer
  • Kosher salt (or just table salt) to taste
  • 4 medium scallions (sliced)


  1. Heat a large (6 - 10 quart) heavy pan over medium high heat. (Non-stick pans may give off bad fumes when overheated so I don't use them.) Add half the oil to hot pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom. Add all the chicken. The chicken on the bottom should brown instantly. stir the chicken occasionally, juice will come out. Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder (not fresh garlic!) on the chicken and keep stirring/tossing until most of the pink is gone.
  2. Remove the chicken.  Place it in a bowl or platter that will save any juices.
  3. Add the rest of the oil.  Swirl it around.  Toss in all the the vegetables.  (Now add fresh garlic.)  Turn the heat down a bit.  We want the veggies to sweat not brown. A tiny pinch of salt here will help.
  4. When the onion starts turn clear, dump in the beer.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the flavor.
  5. Once the beer boils.  Everything except the scallions goes in the pot.  Make sure to get all the juices from the chicken.
  6. Bring just to the boiling point over medium heat and then reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes or until the carrots are done enough. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.
  7. Top with sliced scallions.
  8. Serve with your favorite dairy products, lime, and or shredded cabbage and radishes

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Upcycled orange bag

 Orange Bag Redone

1 nylon net bag used for oranges or onions or other fruits and vegetables.
Worsted weight (DK) cotton yarn ( I used two small leftover balls about the size of a large egg each.)
Crochet hook  sized for the holes in your net.  (I used an H/5mm.)
Yarn needle (optional, but makes tail weaving easier)

  1.  Trim the ends so that they are square or even.
  2. Starting at bottom, fold over about one inch of the bag evenly.  (Make a "hem" or "cuff")
  3. Join yarn with a slip stitch in any hole along the fold. (the holes are a bit hard to see. Stretch the bag to find them easier.)
  4. Chain 1, single crochet in each hole around making sure that you go through two layers of bag. Join with a slip stitch to first single crochet.
  5. Chain 1, single crochet 2 together around. (or single crochet , single crochet 2 together if a larger base is desired) Join with slip stitch to first Single crochet.
  6. Continue single crochet 2 together ( or SC, SC2Tog) and joining each round until 3 stitches remain. Fasten off leaving long tail.
  7. With yarn needle, close hole and weave in tails.
  8. Top:  Fold over about two inches then fold again so that there are four layers for your hook to go through.
  9. Join yarn and crochet around like you did in steps 3 & 4.  this time make sure you go through four layers of bag.
  10. Chain 1, Single crochet around. Join with slip stitch to first single crochet.
  11. Chain 1, Single crochet in first 10 stitches (Omit If you don't mind having your handle at your join ), chain a nice handle length (10-12 inches), Join with a slip stitch on the opposite side of the rim.  (I just laid the bag flat with the stitch the chain started from on my right and carefully without twisting the chain dove into the stitch that was on my far left..)
  12. Single crochet in each chain back to the first chain then continue Single crochet around to chain join. Slip stitch to opposite side of  the chain Single crochet the other side of the chain, slip stitch in the space at chain base , and finish the round. join to first single crochet with slip stitch and bind off.
  13. weave in ends.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Printable Documents

I totally dislike finding recipes or patterns on blogs that I can't just download with a few clicks.  I am very guilty of that myself.  My recipes and patterns are embedded in the text of blog and therefore must be copied  and pasted to be saved by you, my audience.

I am working on trying to figure out how to upload a printable copy of each recipe and pattern.  I've started with our favorite Mac and Almost Cheese recipe (September 2011).

I'm double checking that the print copy and the blog copy are the same. I sometimes make changes to one and forget to make changes in the other.  Be patient, if this works I hope to have all the files available by the end of 2013.  If you have a special interest, drop me note on G+  and I'll see about moving that file to the head of the line.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas "Cinnamon" Rolls

I used to make cinnamon rolls every Christmas that were so full of fruit filling they oozed across the plate.  Those long ago rolls had shredded apple, raisins, chopped nuts, and whatever else I had on hand that year.  They also depended on white sugar, real butter, whole milk, and at least half white flour. The basic recipe that I follow (king of) for method and basic ratios is from Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook  (page 154 in current edition if Google books is correct.)

This year I made a few changes.  I can't have apples, milk, butter, or cinnamon any more.  So those things were out automatically.  I've grown to like the richer flavor of brown sugar so I use it when ever I can. Scratch white sugar.

I miscalculated a bit when I slowed down the final rising in the refrigerator.  So they weren't quite ready for first breakfast on Christmas morning.  We took them with us to the daughter's in laws for second breakfast and they were a big hit.  Only enough leftover for boxing day breakfast.  That's two dozen largish rolls gone down seven adults and 2 children in two days.

The really great change is that now I have a mixer that can do dough.  Now I don't knead the dough by hand or break my arm beating the first stage batter.  This looks like more work than it is.

2012 Christmas Rolls

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 package)
2 cups Almond milk, divided
3 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups +/- whole wheat flour, divided
1/2 cup parve (dairy free) margarine
2 eggs, slightly beaten

In a glass quart measuring cup, measure 1 cup almond milk add the margarine and microwave 1 - 3 minutes on high until margarine is melted.   (you could skip this and just melt the margarine and warn the milk to lukewarm.)  Add more almond milk to the 2 1/2 cup line. The mixture in the cup should now be lukewarm and the margarine melted.

Measure (ha!) 3 cups flour and all the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add all of the milk and margarine.  Attach dough hook and mix until hook leaves "tracks".  You may need to scrape the bowl once or twice.  Scrape the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel or plastic wrap and go away for at least 45 minutes.

Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time.  If dough is still very sticky add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is barely moist.  Dough should be slightly sticky by not loose.  Beat until dough climbs the hook.

Remove from mixer.  Cover and let rise for about an hour.

Prepare a 13 X 9 pan or a 1/2 sheet pan depending on whether you want sticky buns or not.  For sticky buns you need to melt 1/4 cup margarine in a 13 X 9 baking pan then add about 3/4 cup brown sugar and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan.  For regular rolls line a baking sheet with parchment or a slipat or grease/spray the sheet.

Depending on the size of your working surface you may want to divide the dough into two or three pieces.  Roll out on a floured board/pastry sheet to 1/4 inch thick or less.  You want a nice rectangular shape.  Even sides make rolling easier, but there's no need to get totally anal about it.

1/2 cup softened parve margarine for base.

1 cup Brown sugar
2 teaspoons Allspice
1 teaspoon  Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Cardamon
Mix well

1 cup brown sugar
zest of Orange, lemon, or lime enough cover the dough one layer

raisins or other dried fruit (chop larger fruits into raisin sized pieces), enough to cover dough
chopped nuts, enough to cover dough

To fill the rolls:
Spread the rolled out dough with softened margarine.  Take your time and carefully cover the dough evenly with margarine.  It takes a light stroke and patience to not tear holes in the dough but if you do tear a hole just pinch it together and go on..  Some people use their hand for this step.  I used a fork in 2012 and an offset spatula in the past.

Next sprinkle on the sugar with or without spices.  Again try for an even layer.  If you're adding fruit or nuts now is the time to sprinkle them evenly over the dough.  I zest with a microplane right over the dough, but you might want to try sprinkling your zest if you're making citrus rolls.  Once you have all the fillings you want  to use evenly spread over the dough it's time to roll.

Decide if you want fat rolls or skinny rolls.  For fat rolls start rolling up one of the short sides of the rectangle and roll fairly tightly until you get to the other side.  This may mean that you are try to roll sideways since most times the long sides are parallel to the table edge.  This eHow shows how to roll the dough.  I usually make skinny rolls.  I use my fingers to measure the size of the rolls.  three fingers wide for sticky buns, two fingers for regular rolls.  I use my Dough Knife to cut the rolls, but I have used a regular knife, plain dental floss, or heavy thread to cut them in the past.  After cutting, place rolls a cut side down in prepared pan.  Spray with butter flavored oil or gently brush with melted margarine.  Cover and let rise.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Sticky buns must be inverted within 5 minutes watch out for drips.  Remove pan before "sticky" cools.

Cool rolls for a few minutes.  Hot sugar can cause serious burns!

Eat and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thank you, Chocolate Covered Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is a blogger after my own heart.  She just remembers to photograph everything before she eats it.  (I almost always forget to take pictures.)

During Halloween I found her recipe for Copycat peanut butter eggs.  They were way too easy and way too delicious. I used natural chunky peanut butter, real powdered sugar, dutch processed cocoa,  coconut oil and maple syrup. (I didn't use salt.)  The recipe must be small to avoid over indulging. I doubled it the first time.  Katie said to keep these in the freezer but I found the refrigerator works fine for keeping the coating solid.

The grandsons and I enjoyed the peanut butter and chocolatey goodness.  There was some coating/dip left over so I grabbed some graham crackers and dipped those in the left over chocolate sauce.  They were better than those store bought chocolate coated graham crackers!

At the beginning of December I made a batch of just the chocolate sauce using 1/2 cup each cocoa , coconut oil, and maple syrup.  Then I dipped mini marshmallows, raisins, and chocolate graham crackers.  I needed a bit more patience with all those small items because they clumped up, but they were so good.  Daughter and son-in-law ate a bunch of these.

Christmas Eve I made the original recipe again a quadruple batch this time.  I used a plastic "shot glass" as a mold and got some shapes that resemble mini peanut butter cup.  I dipped chocolate graham crackers in the leftover coating and sprinkled some crushed starlight mints on those.   Everything is in the freezer now.  I'll pack it into containers for the fridge in the morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ribbed Brim Hat (Crochet pattern)

I wrote this pattern in 2010.  Our oldest daughter made a hat from it.   I used Lion Wool Ease Thick and Quick.  Daughter used Red Heart Super Saver.

Increasing every other round makes the cap fit better and not "ride up".   The reverse single crochet edge gives a very finished look.

As always, if you try my pattern (or recipe) and have a comment please post it.

Ribbed Brim Hat
Crochet hook US size K-P hook
Worsted-Bulky weight yarn
No gauge-Fit is by individual measure

Starting Round: Chain 2; 8 sc in 2nd chain from from hook; join with slst(8 sc)
Increase Rounds: ch 2, hdc in 1st sc:: 2 hdc in next 7 sc :: join with slst to top of ch 2. (16 hdc ch2 counts as hdc)
ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2. (24 hdc)
ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next 2 hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2. (32hdc)
ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next 3 hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2. (40 hdc)


Body Rounds:  Work one round even- Ch2, 1 hdc in every hdc, join with slst to top of ch 2.
work next round as an increase round: ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next "x" hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2.
Stop working increase rounds when hat fits comfortably around head.
Work even until hat is long enough to cover ears.

Ribbing: Ch3, dc in each hdc around, join wth slst to top of ch 3.
two post rounds: ch2, ::fpdc, bpdc :: join with slst to top of ch 2, twice.

Finishing edge: ch 1, reverse sc around.

"Blitz" wearing my hat.
Bind off, weave in tails.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cat's Paw Scarf (Knit pattern)

I'm writing my first knitting pattern.  Definitely a work in progress.  

I got the lace stitch pattern from The Knitter's Bible Stitch Library by Claire Crompton, (David & Charles 2010).   Try it and tell me if I got it completely wrong or only slightly off.

I will update this as I work through the project and find my errors.

Cat's Paw Scarf

Lace inserts shaped like cat's paws climb this scarf. The two panels are not even. I offset the start by two rows for a “walking” effect. 


Worsted weight yarn, 1 skein or more depending on length
Knitting needles (10 mm US 15 or size of your choice)
Stitch makers (4)  Optional, but I find it really helps to remind me where the Pattern is.

Stitches used:

Knit – K, k
Purl – P, p
Knit two stitches together – K2tog, k2t
Slip, slip, knit – SSK, ssk
Yarn over – YO, yo
Slip, Knit two together, Pass over – SK2PO, sk2po
Cast on 36 using cable or knitted cast on.
Row 1. *K2, P2* repeat * *
Row 2 Through Row 8. Repeat row 1.
Row 9. Knit
Row 10. Purl
Row 11. Knit
Row 12. (Foundation Row) P5, place marker, k3, k2t, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3, place marker, p4, k11, p5
Start repeat: (suggest running lifeline here and after every repeat)
Row 13. K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 14. P5, k2, k2t, yo, k3,yo, ssk, k2, p4, k3, k2t, yo, k1,yo, ssk, k3, p5
Row 15. K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 16 P5, k4, yo, sk2po, yo, k4, p4, k2, k2t, yo, k3,yo, ssk, k2, P5
Row 17.K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 18. P5, K11, P4, k4, yo, sk2po, yo, k4, p5
Row 19. K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 20. P5, k3, k2t, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3,, p4, k11, p5
End repeat:
Repeat rows 13 – 20 to desired length..Ending on row 19
Finishing Rows: (reverse of first 11 rows)
Row 22. Knit
Row 23 purl
Row 24 knit
Row 25 through row 33 * k2 p2 *
Bind off , weave in ends.