Where there is a will, there is a way! We wanted lights around the garage door since we don’t often see the lights that were installed to outline the front of the house! Since we enter thru the garage in back, we followed several of our neighbors who have put lights up around their garage doors. Dresses up the ally! So because Randy is no longer able to get up and down a ladder or a step stool, we worked as a team! I climbed on the step stool and glued the lights up one by one! In order for me to balance getting up and down each few feet I used a walker to balance myself. We started laughing thinking how hilarious we looked with a walker rt beside the ladder with me using it to steady myself climbing up and down! I told Randy we would probably win some money on AFV for that sight! But we got the job done and tonight when we drive back in from having Mexican food for dinner, beautiful white lights will welcome us back in the door guiding me into the kitchen to once again find the Advil for all the aches from stretching and climbing! Chocolatecastles.com
Last evening we were having friends over for dinner. A few weeks ago I had experimented with pork tenderloin and thought that was what I had taken out of the freezer to make again for dinner last night. The loin had turned out so good when I made it the first time, that I figured I would try it again and because it is so easy, I could serve it with rice pilaf, cashew salad (what we call Rita salad because Rita gave me the recipe and we LOVE it!) and hot rolls! About 3:00 when I undid the meat out of the paper, I discovered that instead of finding a pork loin staring back at me, I was looking down at a pork roast. Well, I didn’t have time to run to the store because I still had to make the pie and clean house, so I decided to just cut the roast up in pieces, trimming off any fat and cook it the same way I had done with the loin! When our friends walked in the door at 6 sharp, I quickly told them my story and if it didn’t turn out because it was too tough to chew, we would send the guys out for Whataburger! When I uncovered the dish of the roast, I kept praying “Lord, let it be tender”. Well answer He did! It was so tender you could cut it with a fork! It was delicious. The only thing different from when I made the pork loin, was this time around I layered thinly sliced onion before pouring the gravy over it to bake. This is such a great and different way to make pork and one that should be in your recipe keep file! We served it with the salad, rice pilaf and had some Trader Joe’s orange cranberry sauce! It was a delicious dinner. Ended our night with pecan cream cheese pie! Also started with our new tradition since we did this with all our kids last year, that anyone who comes in our house during the holidays has to take an “Elfie” picture. Janet and Gary, not only were you our Guinea pigs for two new recipes, you are the first non family member to take an “Elfie” for us! Happy Thanksgiving and since y’all have a million recipes of traditional thanksgiving recipes I thought I would give you a new recipe that gets your mind off turkey and onto the pig!!!
One pork loin or roast! Trim any fat off! Not your body, the roast!) If using the loin, slice into 1” slices if using pork roast, cut in to slices or chunks that can be dipped to fry. Remember this is like chicken fried steak only pork so that is the goal: chicken fried pork covered and baked i n gravy!
In a small bowl, combine 1 egg with 1 cup of milk
Mix and dip each piece In the milk/egg mixture and then dip wet slice into a bowl of flour that you have added some seasoning to (like salt, pepper, garlic, lemon pepper whatever you like)
In a frying pan, heat about 2/3 cup oil. Heat the oil and fry each meat piece until it is lightly browned on each side. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little thyme while meat is frying. You don’t need to worry that pork isn’t complete done. It will also be baked throughly while it is baked. Layer slices/chunks of meat in a Pyrex baking dish (you have greased first) or Dutch oven. Thinly slice an onion over the meat using about 1/3 of a small onion. Pour some of the gravy over this and then Repeat the layers until all meat is used. Top with the gravy. Cover well with foil or lid and Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about an hour to an hr and a half. Depends on how many layers you have of the meat. After an hour check to see if you need to add any gravy or water to the dish so it is not dry. Serve with rice pilaf and any side dish you like.
I had bought a Pioneer packet of brown gravy! I followed the directions on the back and set it aside while I made some gravy to add to it. in the same skillet I fried the pork, I simply added some flour to the left over drippings to create a roux stirring constantly over medium heat. As soon as the roux began to lightly brown, I added about 1 cup of milk, salt and pepper stirring constantly with a whisk to not allow it to get lumps from the flour. Then I added the gravy from the packet to this gravy. And stirred until they were combined. If you don’t like to make gravy simply use the packet of brown gravy and use cream of mushroom soup! Pour the soup into the frying pan with the drippings! (Most of the grease you used to fry the pork will have been soaked up in the meat so you shouldn’t have but a couple tables of grease left in frying pan) Stir in about a 1/2 cup of water. Then add the brown gravy packet to the soup mixture and you are good to go. I think I’ll make a video tomorrow of the gravy so you can watch it be made. Will make it come to life!!! We are having 3 couples over for dinner tomorrow night so will make a new batch of this using the pork loin this time!!! Plus corn casserole and they are bring the rest. Would be a great evening.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all and to all a Great Meal!
This precious little cookbook was bought in 1997 in Lake City, CO when Randy and I were driving with his parents on a day trip while visiting them in South Fork, CO. His parents spent about 25 years going to SF in an 5th wheel where they stayed from May thru Sept. We loved our time with them there and learned about biscuit bakes and microwave divinity. The nights spent gathered around a camp fire would be the highlight for me as we would sit with blankets wrapped around us on cold evenings in lawn chairs and visit with the 50 or so people who gathered around the fire. I loved that. People who came to SF every year knew the peoples families. They heard about grandbabies being born or relatives who died and the friends who went thru cancer or other health issues. It was a campground that formed friendships that lasted for years. Each year when I bring out this little book, it brings back so many wonderful memories which still brings a smile to my heart.
Coming home from Phoenix Tuesday night, we were tired and ready to be home. The plane was late and I couldn’t wait to take off and read a new book I had downloaded. We had had such a great time with our kids but…..we were exhausted and ready to go home to our own bed! As soon as Randy and I had settled into our seats, we smiled thinking that maybe just maybe , we would not have anyone come and ask, “is that seat taken!” So here we are up 36,000 feet in the air when the lady sitting next to me begins to share her visit to her 80 year old mom in CA and all the festivities that they had planned to celebrate her birthday! We then began to talk about food (is this a surprise to anyone that I would talk about food?)
She shared a recipe with me that she said sounded weird but promised me that it was the best spaghetti sauce and her mom had been making it for years. When I ask her if she would please share it with me, she gladly did! Well, last night I got some grape jelly and made it. It was indeed very very good and was so glad I had not stuck my nose in a book and ignore this sweet lady! Thank you Sabrina for sharing your treasured old recipe with me! It is delicious and is now a very sweet memory of our plane trip home! I’m posting the picture she sent to me that shows it was written on an old piece of paper! Those recipes seem to always be the good ones!!!
While in Corpus for a few days last week, we indulged in our favorite TexMex restaurant 3 out of 4 days. In the last morning before heading out, we decided to stop one more time at Kikos for breakfast. The Owner Grace Barrera (actually their son Marcus bought it from them but you still see Grace and Kiko there going in and out of the kitchen. When Grace walked by she remembered me as our boys hung out together many years ago. As we began to visit she ask if I minded if she sat down and had breakfast with us! What a delightful breakfast as we talked about our kids and of course Mexican food! I ask her about the mushrooms they serve with chile con queso and she told me the story! They got the recipe from a restaurant in San Antonio and knew that they had to start serving them at Kikos. I was so pleasantly surprised when Grace told me how they make them! Well, I just made them and ate 8 of them. They are so delicious and so easy. The batter stays on them and are crunchy and just wish I had some of her queso to dip them in! But for tonight. They were scarfed down all by themselves with sea salt sprinkled over them. You will be amazing at the ease and flavor!
1 package of white button mushrooms, wiped clean and dry
1 package of Any brand of white gravy mix. (I prefer Pioneer peppered gravy but only had this one tonight)
Oil for deep frying
Salt, Pepper and Garlic powder to taste
1/4 cup self rising flour
Mix the white gravy mix with about 3/4 cup water (her recipe called for beer but didn’t have any)
Mix in the self rising flour and spices! Whisk until smooth. Dip mushrooms in batter and drop in the hot oil. Fry until both sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
Isn’t it amazing how our thoughts and motives change as the years go by? When Randy and I married almost 27 years ago, we committed our home (so many years, so many homes, 12 to be exact) to the Lord for Him to use! At the time I felt that for it to be used, meant having church events or ladies events, lunches, dinners and allowing church leaders to use our home for any event they needed. And the memories we have from thinking back over the years bring such joy to our hearts praying that the Lord was glorified and honored each time. As time goes on (sounds like a soap opera title) we have noticed that the way the Lord uses our home looks a little different now! We don’t have the large houses that we once did. I don’t have the energy to cook for 30 people or make 100 casseroles to sell at Mistletoe Market! But the Lord doesnt need square footage, or the stamina of a 45 year old! He just needs a heart that wants to serve. We still committed our 1700 sq foot home when we moved in two years ago and have been so blessed to have get togethers, with old and new friends! Bible studies, Ladies Teas and of course family dinners! But last evening we did something that got us out of our comfort zone. We carved a pumpkin with a precious little girl that needed some smiles! As in Life, some plans just do not turn out as expected. For this sweet young lady we have grown to love, she was expecting someone she cares deeply for, to come carve her pumpkin with her! But when that didn’t happen, my sweet husband told them to grab the pumpkin and come on over! As i watched randys hand hold the knife (even with Parkinson’s he did a great job) and try to cut on the lines Sloane had drawn, it made me realize that God was using, once again our home for something that may seem small, but to this young girl, it was certainly an important night to her. Her laughter and smiles were such a blessing to us. We pray that it honored the Lord. All this to say, never cheat yourself out of a blessing by sharing your home with others! It might not be a dinner or party for 30 but the joy that you give from opening up your home even for 1 or 2 is priceless! And may God continue to use our home for His glory!
If you have ever watched an episode of Duck Dynasty, you have probably heard Willy (holding his jar of iced tea) repeat one of his favorite lines “happy happy happy”.
A month or so ago, Randy and I was listening to a service from our church and in so doing, found out that a certain man from our church was a Duck Dynasty fan. When the program was over, Randy said “we should look and see if we could order him a Willy mug and give it to him since he likes them so much”. So that’s exactly what we did. As soon as it arrived, I packed it in a sack and carried it to church with a note telling him how much we had enjoyed hearing him speak. Three or four weeks passed and each Sunday I took it with us knowing that sooner or later we would see him! But God…..one Wednesday while meeting a dear friend of mine for lunch I walked into the restaurant to wait for her and walking in the door right behind me was the man and his sweet wife! I introduced myself and told him I had something in the car for him. (Yes I had been leaving it in the car so I would remember to take it with us on Sundays until we were able to give it to him! He probably thought “on my goodness a crazy lady is stalking us!”I had never met he or his wife and here I am telling him I have a present in the car for him. So I went and got it and handed it to him. Then I went about ordering my cholesterol loaded pizza and went to visit with my friend. That was a couple of weeks ago. Today as Randy and I entered the sanctuary, there standing by a lady (who she and I always talk baking ) was our new Willy tea jar friend. I introduced him to Randy! What is amazing is this ! He stood there and told us that the day I ran into him at lunch had been a really hard day and the gift of that glass just made his day. He couldn’t believe that someone had gone out of their way to do that and he was so grateful for the act of kindness. As we walked away to go sit down, it just made me realize that God knows our days and our hearts and when we need some encouragement! That gift wasn’t needed the 2-3 weeks I carried it to church. It was needed that certain Wednesday at lunch when God put us at the same place at the same time! Only God could orchestrate the timing and the meeting. That I had left it in the car all that time is unusual for me to do. But it blessed our hearts that something so small could have such a sweet impact and gave him encouragement in a week that had been tough. Never dismiss those little “ thoughts” that come to us to do something for someone. We never know what it may mean to them. And the blessing we get from being used….nothing quite like it! To God be the glory
Two days ago our grandson Sevy texted me a recipe he had found for sugar cookies. It was suppose to be a link to a copycat recipe for Crumble Cookies sugar cookie. I have no idea what Crumble Cookies taste like as I have never had one but these cookies are SO good. Very soft and with the almond flavor, they are such a great cookie. The first batch was so good, gave them away so have already made a second batch. Video of making them is in YouTube Sassy Southern!
Stir 3 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teas salt together, set aside. *if using salted butter omit salt
Beat 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature) 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 room temperature large eggs, 1 teas vanilla, 1 1/2 teas almond extract and beat well. Add flour mixture. Mix until well combined.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using 1/4 cup (I used an ice cream scoop which holds 1/2 cup so filled it 1/2 full) of batter. Roll into a ball and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Flatten with bottom of glass and place in oven. Bake for about 9-10 min. (Depends on your oven). I baked mine 9 min. Cool and frost.
3 cups powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted room temperature butter
1 1/2 teas almond extraction
Milk or Half & Half to get to spreading consistency
Color with gel coloring of your choice
Beat all ingredients until well blended and no lumps remain.
This is a favorite of mine as well as several friends who have tasted it! It is the perfect time of the year to make it and certainly the perfext time of year to eat it! Grab a pumpkins spice latte and a piece of this amazing flavorful biscotti
Welcome to Chocolate Castles, a blog about food, family and stories that hopefully will bring a smile to your heart.
Thanks for reading chocolate castles and may the recipes and stories help bring your family and friends a little closer around the table!
Remember that Princess On The Porch is still available on Amazon! Makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen and needs a little laughter in their lives.
How to cake decoating — cake decorating, Fondant, Buttercream recipe, butter cream recipe, Gum Paste, Recipes, cookie cuttes, molds, wilton food color, Ameri food color rolling pins, matts, boards, cake drums, making boards, sculpting animals, how to make boxed cake taste homemade, what you can add to differnt cake flavor, Tips, Tricks & Techniques Cake Decrating.