Monday, November 20, 2017

Lots of travels and no time to blog!

The past two years have found me working and fact, I pretty much work to travel.
I just returned from an exciting trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca and can't wait to share my pictures and travel notes.

Doesn't this photo say it all? 
Every man dies, but not every man LIVES!

So live and enjoy life as if it's your last day!

Stay tuned for more......

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What are the chances?


I entered a give-away and actually won these lovely handmade soaps from Rain, NYC.
Our Daily Green: Rain Africa: created for living (product review & giveaway)


As you can see, each artisan signs their work and I can't wait to use these lovely soaps.
In fact, I'm going to put these in my guest bath 
so friends and family will be able to pamper themselves as well.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My friend's recent post about Rain Africa's beauty products and their business profile made me think back to my visit a few years ago to South Africa.

Truly I had never imagined it to be a country of such incredible diversity.  Humid tropics to the east, mountainous areas that almost rival the Alps, stunning coastal regions, rolling hills covered in vineyards....but the people, their smiles and easygoing nature are what I remember the most...and sadly, the incredible poverty of the cities. Most people just want to have the opportunity to work.

Hout Bay is a small fishing village south of Cape Town.  Jill Heyes, a transplanted Brit, witnessed the poverty and sense of hopelessness in the surrounding area. Understanding the people's desire to work, she along with the help of a local decoupage artist Christine Sadler, were able to turn used tea bags into works of art. Now Jill, known as the t-bag lady, runs a company employing local women and men all involved in a labor of love.

"An environment that has thrived on determination, co-operation, give and take, support and friendship, has created in reality confidence, pride, responsibility and perseverance where it previously didn’t exist. Lives have been picked up and nurtured, each one an asset and contribution to the success of T-Bag Designs today.  As each tea – leaf is crucial to a perfect brew, so each individual at Original T-Bag Deisigns is indispensable to a business that has become a family."

Time didn't allow me and my family to actually tour their workshop, but I purchased many of their products as gifts to bring back to the States.

They make the most unique Christmas ornaments as well as wall plaques, note cards, etc.

If you are interested in purchasing any of their items, and helping this community, check out their website:


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Did I mention you can also make ramp vinegar?
The small little bit of pink near the neck of the ramp creates the loveliest pale pink vinegar.

Enjoy ramp vinegar in 
salad dressings, 
over grits (the yummiest yet), 
sprinkled over hot german potato salad...
the list can be endless.

Splendid Fare's RampItUp Vinegar is ready
contact us for ordering!

Ramps can be added to any mustard..but our Sweet & Hot is the best!

It's Ramp Season...Y'all!

...........and I am doing a happy dance!

I really look forward to spring for many reasons. 
Longer days...Warmer weather...And...ramps!

One of the first greens to pop their little leaves up, ramps have been a source of sustenance for years for people in the southern mountains of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and lucky for me...Ohio!  A cross somewhere between garlic and spring onions (scallions), ramps have their own much so that nothing else really tastes like a ramp.  

I crave them.

Ramps were well known in all the mountains communities but have, in the past few years, been "found out" by chefs on both coasts and in between. They are now, seemingly, everywhere.  So much so, that our national parks and forests have banned the harvesting of ramps.  So I have my own little patch I've been nurturing for years. Just enough to keep me in ramp butter all year long.  I dole it out in the most parsimonious way...if I like you, you just might get a taste!

Ramps come out of the ground with dirt clinging to their roots and little papery bits protecting the lovely white bulb.  And that means cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.

One of my most favorite ways to eat ramps is with potatoes. Fried potatoes and ramps is just about heaven.  Add some eggs, and here comes breakfast, lunch and/or dinner!

I will share with you my pictorial recipe for making a quick, easy and delicious meal

Fry up a mess of potatoes and add chopped ramps. 
For one person 1 large potato and 5 ramps, including both the green and white parts.

Add 2 scrambled eggs to the pan and let set over low heat.

                      Allow the eggs to set into large curds and then scramble it all together
until it looks like 



Our Daily Green: Rain Africa: created for living (product review & giveaway)

Our Daily Green: Rain Africa: created for living (product review & giveaway)

Visiting my BIL's relatives in Africa, I can say how much these small businesses are vital to pulling people out of poverty. So many people live desperate lives and companies like this one are a win/win. Allowing people the dignity of honest work and creating such lovely, organic products. I'm in

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Can you tell it's been a busy year? I don't know how this blog fell by the wayside, but it did.  And what's really sad is, I love doing this.  It soothes my need to do something creative other than cooking!!!  So I promise to keep you all enthralled on a more regular basis.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to create a feeling of well-being and for those of you in the frozen North craving comfort food, I present the ultimate in winter comfort food:


This is pretty much all you need to create a delicious paprikash.  I normally use bone in chicken thighs, however I was making this for a picky person who only eats boneless chicken breasts.  Know that you will have a greater depth of chickeney-ness if you use bone-in, dark meat..and of course, you can remove the skin if you are concerned with the fat content.  
Do not throw out your chicken skin.See schmaltz comment below.

 Start with a good amount of onions, the more the better. In fact, I like almost equal parts of onion and chicken.  I use whatever oil I have on hand...hopefully schmaltz. That wonderful fat that is rendered from chicken skin.  So if you decide to purchase skin-on chicken pieces, remove the fat and place it in a skillet. Slowly, slowly, SLOWLY over very low heat, take that chicken skin and render all the fat out of it. It is truly the original "Liquid Gold". 
Use this as the fat to cook the onions down until they look like this.
While your onions are slowing cooking, start to season your chicken.  I use kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and the best Hungarian Paprika I can purchase.  Please do not buy the large jar for .99 at the discount store for this recipe.  The flavor comes from the paprika.  I also use some smoked paprika just because I like it.  I'm not sure you can actually use too much paprika.  Start with what you think is right and then double it!

Remove the onions from the pot and add your seasoned chicken in one layer.  Yes, I know this pot will probably give my family cancer as all the Teflon has come off throughout the years, but this is THE paprikash pot and who am I to defy tradition?  When all the chicken has been browned, remove it to a platter. 

                                                What you will have left is called THE FOND.  
                                    Those crunchy, browned little bits that are bursting with flavor.  
                                                  Do not ever throw this away.  EVER.
                           This is what creates the basis for such delicious, flavorful broths/gravies.  

At this point, slowly add your chicken broth. Yes, canned is okay.  Homemade stock would be ever so much better, but I want you to have this on the table in under an hour.  Scrape up all THE FOND until is becomes one with the chicken stock.  Add your onions and chicken back to the pot and you will have something that looks like this. Use enough chicken broth to just cover the chicken..more than what is shown in this picture.

You can also add some garlic.  I like to add one green, medium-heat, whole  Hungarian pepper. If I don't have that sometimes I add just a pinch of dried, red pepper flakes.  This isn't rocket science. There are probably thousands of variations of paprikash and you have the opportunity to create another one!

Simmer until the chicken is tender..which shouldn't be more than 30 minutes for boneless chicken breasts.

I like to serve the paprikash with Sophie's Choice Spaetzle:

One of the perks of living near a large Hungarian population is being able to purchase ready made spaetzle.  This is almost as good as homemade and I didn't have to make it!

I am thrilled you enjoy your paprikash with sour cream, tomatoes, sour cream, peppers, etc.
That's what makes the world interesting.