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4/17/14

A Beautiful Day for Laying Low and Making up Easter Baskets and Eggs

Maundy Thursday 4/17/14 on the patio at home.

My saga began with forecast lows of 28 degrees F Tuesday night here in southern Indiana.  Of course I told Brian everyone could thank me for that one as I was sure it was because I'd jumped the gun and took all of my jungle of house plants outside to the patio on Saturday! And...he agreed!

Indoor plants blooming outdoors.
Not wishing to drag them all inside again or to lose them to freezing I hatched a plan.  Pulling them all back to the corner closest to the house and the most insulated by a brick wall I rigged up a trouble light and bulb.  The light was positioned down in the center of the plants and pulled back enough to insure that a sheet used to cover the entire debacle would not touch it in any way. (Avoiding the chance of starting a fire I hoped.)  Last of all I covered the entire lot with a king sized flannel sheet and anchored it's ends with logs.

Tropical plants outside.

Late that night, after midnight I would guess, (Brian was fast asleep.) I stumbled barefoot in pajamas, and in the dark down the back stairs to the landing with Molly faithful at my side.  I wanted to check to be sure she hadn't pulled my project apart or that the wind had not come up and blown it all a rye.  All was as I had left it but when I turned.  OUCH!  Somehow I had twisted my foot and a pain shot from my big toe through the arch of my foot.  So I hobbled back upstairs as quietly as I could as not to wake my sleeping husband.

These are Virginia Bluebells in bloom.

Even after reluctantly taking one of the pain pills prescribed for knee pain the pain did not leave me and I didn't sleep all night.  The next morning I found there was no swelling or discoloration and thought I must be a big wimp!  Surly it was not broken as there were no sign.  So.....I pulled out my big clunky walking shoes with the RX prosthetic inserts and there was no pain!  I could walk just fine.  Away I went!  The bank, gas station, grocery, and post office were all on my route.


 All was well until I removed the shoe then OUCH.

I just love these Virginia Bluebells!

Happily I had an easy soup supper planned and could just prop up my foot.  By this morning things are improved and I think if I take it easy today I might well have seen the worst of it.

The candy and baskets have already been gotten down and await me on the bed in the rear bedroom. A  quick visit to Harry Brown the egg man on Monday netted me an additional 5 dozen eggs.  I held back 3 dozen from my last purchase to hard cook for Easter as they will peel easier if the are not just laid.

Molly is checking out the fish pond.

But as I look out on such a lovely day I am certain I will enjoy sitting outside with Molly a good bit today.

The egg colors and a fresh bottle of white vinegar await me.  I am also contemplating an Easter Bunny cake.  More to follow on that one!  Happy Easter everyone.






4/15/14

New "OLD COOKBOOK" a Gift from Aunt Betty


My husband brought home a pleasant surprise last night.  He had lunch with his Uncle Gene.  His wife,  Aunt Betty (Yes, the famous Aunt Betty of the 1-2-3 Cake fame!) sent me a vintage cookbook from the Washington, Indiana Conservation Club.


She knew I was looking for ice cream recipes and shared some very special ones from this book with me.  So. here is a big THANK YOU  shout out to both of them for their thoughtfulness and generosity.  Something that not only flourishes but abounds here in Indiana!


Not only are there ice cream recipes but a really good looking one for French dressing, just what I have been looking for!  Plus I came across several for cooking squirrel, rabbits, and venison.  All of which I have cooked at one time or another but none of which I make on a regular basis!  I always am intrigued by these recipes and these types of cook books!  I find them fascinating.


4/14/14

Chicken Taco Salad with Fresh Corn and Ranch Dressing (Dinner Salad for Six)



Fresh corn, tomatoes, peppers all abound at our local market!  I have never tried chicken a chicken taco salad made at home so today is the day!  I am pulling out the stops with a fresh an tasty salad Sunday dinner.  We have spent Saturday working outside and a fresh and  easy meal for Sunday is just the ticket!

Ingredients for Taco Chicken Salad with Fresh Corn and Ranch Dressing:

6 fresh boneless skinless chicken breast halves (3 whole)
6 ears fresh corn (leave in the husks)
4 tomatoes, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
corn chips
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
taco seasoning
ranch dressing or other dressing you prefer
2 T. canola or olive oil
2 T. butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

When the oven is hot place the corn in the husks directly on the center rack of the oven and leave for 10-12 minutes.  Next start the chicken.


I like to split the chicken breasts in half longways to make them thinner by placing the palm of one hand on top of the breast to hold it firm and using a filet knife to slice the thickness into two thinner filets.  Do this slowly until you get the hang of it.  OR buy smaller chicken breasts and you will not need to bother.  These are so large!  They are at least a pound for a whole one!

Season the pieces of chicken well on both sides with Taco Seasoning.  Here is the link to my recipe for making your own Taco Seasoning.    thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2012/10/turkey-bean-burritos-with-homemade.html

Melt the butter and add the oil to the skillet and brown the chicken filets over medium high heat until done.  About 4-6 minutes a side.  

Meanwhile the timer should go off for the corn.  Pull the ears out and place them aside covered with a kitchen towel until the chicken is done.  CHANGE THE OVEN SETTING TO 175 to 200 degrees
F and leave it to preheat.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and keep warm in a covered pan or casserole dish in a 175-200 degree F warm oven until you are ready to slice.

Remove the husks from the corn.

Place a smaller bowl upside down inside a much larger ovenproof bowl to form a platform to place one end of the corn onto.  Place one end of the shucked corn atop the inverted smaller bowl and slice from the top down rotating the ears.  Slice the kernels from the six ears of corn.  Fish out the small bowl and cover the larger bowl of corn either with a lid or foil.  Place the corn in the warm oven with the chicken and hold them while you cut the vegetables.  Pull out the chicken and slice it across the grain about 1/4" in thickness, place back into the warm oven covered.


To assemble the salad place a bed of corn chips on individual plates or a very large platter.  Next scatter the chips with shredded cheese then the warm sliced chicken.  Sprinkle generously with the warm corn kernels, lettuce, tomato, and onion.  Top with ranch or your favorite dressing and serve.

Here are two links for making your own ranch dressing recipes that we especially like.  One is made with all fresh herbs and the other with dried herbs and seasonings.     thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-best-homemade-ranch-dressing-recipe.html     or      thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2011/05/salads-with-ranch-and-thousand-island.html   

I hope you enjoy these.  This salad yielded 6 man-sized portions.