Here We Go/#SoCS/#Free48

And it started with a crack, not a gunshot. What, you may ask? Well, the race to have a relaxing, productive, fun, peaceful, exciting, safe, drama-free yet noteworthy mini vacation. Easy peasy, right? 😳 And we were off to a great start until Alabama decided to step up and say, “Hey, you know what day it is?”

 

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3 great years and whack! Of course it must be filled soon or it will spread like a taunting grin and shouting, “Friday the 13th is reeeal” If I didn’t know better I’d think Nick Satan (I mean Saban) threw it himself. 🙊

But, we had a great trip otherwise and saw a cool new set of bridges, some great cloud antics, a nice sunset and sunrise. More on our food adventures later but mine was good last night, once we found the right restaurant.

We are excited about visiting with family and friends. Hope your #Free48 has no cracks, holes, breaks, tears or rot.

 

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Cool twin bridges
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I loved the lines and squares in it

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This is a saki margarita. Oh yeah, it was..

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Ummm those are tuna tatake sliders. Yum!

*Okay Linda did I make the extra points? Do visit Linda’s blog for more great #SoCS posts and to join the fun. Today’s prompt was to use a three letter word. I had a few four letters in mind but tried to be good. 😂

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‘Sup, Peeps? #SoCS

Sup-pose you want to grill burgers for the big holiday. You know, the one that falls in the middle of the week and you can never get additional days off around it so you either pretend you aren’t going to, but get really drunk and just suffer through the next day-OR-you act all grownup and just enjoy a mid week break with some good food and try to avoid the crowds (although you dream of seeing fireworks from the rooftop in DC or Lincoln like your kiddos are doing). Since we sup-posedly wise up as we age, I felt it prudent to stay in this year. Perhaps I didn’t care about missing out. Perhaps I wanted to snuggle in with hubs and be creative and do all those things I miss out on when I am just bustling around. Either way, we wanted burgers. Did I mention we were avoiding crowds? That includes the maniacal scene that would be playing out in every grocery and conveninece store across this great flag-waving holiday-loving fireworks-exploding country. Now, just sup-pose two very sup-eriorly intelligent humans (insert crying laugh here 😂) were not prepared enough to pick up hamburger buns from the store.

I mean we are trying not to eat a lot of bread, especially processed white killer bread. But you really are sup-posed to have that junk on this auspicious holiday. Hubs offered to go to the store-half a dozen times or more-but he seemed so serene sitting there over his puzzle and I didn’t want our day ruined by a cart-pushing wise mouth or grocery employee with a grudge for having to work. What to do, what to do? Oh! I’ll just make some. I mean, I have been trying to find a good bun recipe and so far all previous attempts had been mediocre. What better time than a free day with no pressure?

Now, even though I still have a shelf full of my favorite cookbooks, I must admit to using the internet for recipes more often than not. It is just so easy and I can actually combine ideas that way.

A word to the wise and unaware here. A lot of people out there can’t cook; and often this fact spills over into their recipes. I can only hope it was typing ommissions because obvious things like baking powder left out of a cake recipe is going to really tick off that person trying a 27 ingredient Chocolate Decadent Roller Coaster Fudge Cake recipe for their big party. Thankfully, I have been cooking long enough to recognize an obvious ommission, but in others the ‘missing link’ was not as obvious. This time, though, I found what I think is the perfect  sup-per sandwich roll. If you love burgers and have a breadmaker, you can easily have these in about 2 1/2 hours. Bon Appetit’!

This #SoCS post is brought to you by Linda Hill . Visit her blog for the prompt to meet other consciousness revelers and read about her new book! Today’s word was ‘sup’.

I found the recipe at Genius Kitchen and have saved it to my desktop so as never to lose it. I hope. 😏

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I added sesame and poppy seeds after the egg wash and used olive oil as well as sea salt. It looks like a recipe you could play with. I have not tried my Bob’s Gluten Free flour mix yet as I wanted to test the integrity of the recipe first. OMG! We loved them. Have a look.

 

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This dough did perfectly in the breadmaker which I have had for almost 20 yrs
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You could so so much with the dough which is slightly sweet
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At first I feared that they didn’t rise enough
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Baking always finishes off the rising
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I know. I was trying to get their best side.
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Can you smell them?
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Okay, a perfect burger made using our gifted Omaha Steak patties too. There’s Barb’s contribution Dan!
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Of course I had to make homemade Thousand Island dressing, for that Big Mac effect.😉
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I even shaped a few hoagies knowing we would have Italian sandwiches the next day-old Pizza Hut style. Yuuum!

Yeah, even though we no longer eat fast food, you can see how my food memories have been shaped by them. 😜

I hope you all had a relaxing and/or fun holiday and enjoy an even better #free48!

Oh. We heard lots of fireworks going off in surrounding neighborhoods, but his was the extent of my visual; and I had to brave the mosquito hoard to get this one! Yep, I was a total whimp.

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Time in a Bottle

One of my favorite Jim Croce songs states, “If I could make days last forever. If words could make wishes come true, I’d save every day like a treasure and then-again-I would spend them with you.”

It is a blessing, in life, to have someone you feel this way about. In good and bad times, to realize you wouldn’t give up any days spent with them, but merely try to change the way some may have been miss spent.

Sometimes a day begins on a less than brilliant note but ends spectacularly. Those days are especially nice because I love surprises!

The #Free48 started out with a Friday fun afternoon at a new venue near the house. We thought #Baddaddysburgerbar was pretty cool, from the Badass Margaritas (of which they only allow 2 per person) to the wide variety of freshly styled burgers and hand cut fries. So good! The homemade chips were crispy and not greasy. We will definitely go back. There’s a whole menu to try!

 

(Touch any photo for the description)

 

 

Then there was Saturday…low key, projects, a bit of housework and cooking a weekend meal.

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I just had to work on jewelry projects
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Braised Pork chops, baked sweet potato, peas and Olive Oil Muffins.
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These muffins are so good! I found the recipe from David Lebovitz’s blog awhile back and saved the link. I finally dug in and gave it a whirl. Can you smell the orange?

Check out David’s recipe for Olive Oil Muffins

Sunday promised to be a beautiful day and we headed up to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to a small German influenced town called Helen. Here comes the disappointment moments….it was less than even underwhelming, mostly due to a sense of apathy among the vendors there. It seemed as though we had stepped back in time, but it was frozen somewhere in the 70’s along with all of their merchandise and venues. The buildings are quaint and stylish, and there is a cute little park as well; but it took us approximately 45 minutes to walk around and fear we had made the two hour drive for naught. Thankfully, we had to drive to the other side of town when we first arrived, making sure we parked in the best spot, and spotted a state and national park sign worthy of a second look.

We did stop in an ‘authentic’ German restaurant/bakery where we snagged a cream puff. What can I say? I have certainly made tastier treats. The pastry was dry and the cream was only whipped cream-and unsweetened at that. So disppointing.

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Authentic German styling
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Even a windmill!
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This little waterfall was in the patk
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We always enjoy a good pastry. Too bad it was mediocre.

So, quick as that, we headed to the far end of town and followed the brown park signs to Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls National Park. Hubby has a lifetime pass to all national parks so we ended up getting in totally free! Yippee!!

Talk about worth the wait. It was about a mile walk uphill to the falls and the view along the way was beautiful, cascading water at every turn. I knew the moment I saw this beauty that we were where we should be.

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I so wish I could live here. One of the best things was the way the air got cooler the higher we walked. At one point it felt like a blast of air conditioning wafted down the hillside.

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I loved these huge rock formations and hidden passageways.

Then we reached the top! It was so lovely. We have seen larger falls but this place has its own special charm.

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The view was breathtaking
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If only I could stay…
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That smile is genuine. Me and water and the woods make a happy trio!

Reluctantly, we headed back down the hill and made our way to the parking lot.

Our day was exhilarating. From expectant to disillusioned to thrilled.

 

 

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What’s not to love about this drive?

We had one more stop to make.

 

 

 

How is that for a #Free48?

As I said before…..

Moments/#SoCS

Life is merely a string of now moments, some larger than life….

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Like me, living in Costa Rica…ever!
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Having a Real live toucan sitting on my shoulder
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Being able to enjoy this ridiculously decadent burger at a new venue
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A refreshing drink after a long week

 

While others are magnificently subtle, creeping over you like the brilliance of a sunset and pulling you into their perfection…

 

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Watching the busy-ness of Nature like a voyeur
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Scratching an itch…we all have needs
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The fragrance a blossom that only comes once in the dark of night
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Baking birthday cakes for friends..and having a piece!
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Making a simple meal of plantains
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My feet in the cool waters of a river
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Freezing a mood for all of posterity.

 

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One of my all time favorite moments-the completely unexpected! 🙊😂

Moments make a life. We need to remember that all moments which are savored are holy moments and try to savor every one for whatever it is bringing into our consciousness at the time.

Happy #Free48. That’s 2,880 moments…172,800 seconds’ worth of opportunity..waste not, want not.

This post brought to you via Linda Hill and her #SoCS prompt “start your post with a noun. “

 

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I’m Late!

I’m late, I’m late….

 

I promised I would post the result of my hush puppy trial yesterday but never got around to it. I must apologize but it was with good reason. I was having fun!

We were fortunate to be able to get out during a reprieve from our recent rains to make a return trip to the Botanical Garden and found a new spot that we totally missed on our first trip. We found a couple of new friends there!

 

 

More on that later….on to the hush puppies.

I actually like this recipe more than most others I have tried because it gives more of a light, cornbread texture-and they are good cold as well! The inside is light and fluffy while the outside maintains a nice crispy texture.  They were perfect with the breaded shrimp we had alongside.  Time was short so we opted for a prepared shrimp that only needed cooking.  Next time, the real deal.  Honestly, I avoid frying anything very often so this was a special occasion.  When I do fry it is normally only pan frying in a small amount of oil.  This requires the full monty, however, and so we did.

 

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Hush puppies cooling their jets..
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These breaded shrimp came from the grocery freezer..not like homemade but sufficient
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Nice platter yes?
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Crispy outside, light inside. Perfect with butter!

 

We made a significant dent in this platter.  My plate was clean!

 

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Who would think there was room for dessert? Well, how could we resist fresh, juicy mango with whipped cream?

 

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Yeah….we had to wait a few minutes before tackling the mess in the kitchen. 😂

 

Would I change the recipe in any way?  For me, the white cornmeal is a bit too fine so I would try to find a self rising yellow or make my own.  I might even substitute some yellow corn flour in place of the whole purpose flour in the recipe.  I added cayenne or perhaps you might like fresh jalapeño.  The green onions were great and I added some well drained diced red pimiento, or you could use finely chopped fresh sweet pepper.  It’s your cornbread, after all! The buttermilk definitely made the texture perfect for me.  I hope you guys let me know how yours turn out.  In case you missed my last post, with the recipe, you can find it here.

Meanwhile….back in the garden….

 

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Doesn’t he look just tickled? Exactly how I feel when I am there! Sans frogs in hand….

 

Maybe he’s thinking frog legs with hush puppies….🙊

 

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Savoring the moments….

 

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“We have to stop meeting like this,” I whispered.  He said he would be there waiting until next time.

I promise to share more of our #Free48 later on.  I hope yours is unfolding splendidly!

Huuuush Puppy!

This post is dedicated to my good and dedicated blogging buddy Dan over at No Facilities who recently suffered a travesty of the culinary kind when a restaurant he tried offerd up their own (abomination) version a true Southern favorite-the beloved fried cornbread delight know as a hush puppy.

The first recorded use of the word “hush-puppy” dates to 1899.[3] The name is often attributed to hunters, fishermen, or other cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been bread-coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to “hush the puppies” during cook-outs or fish-fries.[4] Other legends date the term to the Civil War, in which Confederate soldiers are said to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of their dogs.[5][6]

~Wikipedia

This, for the record, is a photo of a real, authentic, Louisiana style hush puppy.

 

 

 

 

Notice the crispy, golden outer layer? Many hush puppies taste pretty good but few have this crust. The key to that is deep frying quickly and at the right temperature. Also note the glaring absence of corn kernels. Now, although there are some Louisiana communities that will use corn in their puppies, most don’t. Most are either a bit spicy or only mildly sweet and not the overly sweet, dessert style pups one often finds on the road.

These delicate treats are a favorite of mine and I am pretty picky about the ones I really love. Certainly not with a mushy center. Or served with any kind of vinagrette. I have been known to dip them in remoulade sauce and some may use catsup. But, just like it’s mother, great crusty cornbread, I just love them hot and slathered with real butter. 😱

 

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Oh….yeah….and preferably with some shrimp on the side. Fried shrimp, grilled shrimp, broiled shrimp, boiled shrimp, shrimp gumbo, shrimp creole…..ok, Bubba Gump. 🙄

yeah….

 

 

 

 

 

Shrimp and fried fish! Oh and cold Yuengling on the side. Making hush puppies isn’t difficult. Finding the right recipe is the trick. I have made quite a few versions, some better than others. I did some research before putting one here for you guys. This one has a lot of promise. I plan to make them before the weekend. I thought maybe we could all give it a shot then meet back here to see how we did.

 

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I likely will not carmelize any onions but just use finely chopped green onion or grated shallot.

Anyway, welcome to Louisiana good food. I plan to visit home soon and get me some of this!

Enjoy!

This good food post brought to you courtesy of our great eating experiences at Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant in Baton Rouge.

Now, don’t they look good?

On to Free48! So close now.

How about a bit of something pretty too?

This one’s for you, Dan! Macro happy!

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A Perfect Day

I know I missed wishing all of my online friends a very Happy Mother’s Day; but it was only because I was so busy having one! I also wanted to share the poem that has always touched my heart as a mother, both early on and even now. May every day find you feeling blessed in your Motherhood. It is a real job if you’re doing it right; but the rewards are the best kind of treasure. 😘💕

 

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PS. I had lovely gifts all day and sweet conversations with children and family. Oh. And some amazing food! Wanna see? 😀

 

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