Animal Alert: Brake for Turtles, Give Gators a Break, and BBQ Glaze a Pig

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This editorial appeared last week. While I don’t want to share my spot on the sandbar with a gator, they deserve to live their lives. You’ve probably noticed Mr. Mike and I are animal lovers. Six cats scrounge their food from us. We have birdfeeders, including a hummingbird feeder. It’s interesting to watch their social interactions while we sip a beer on the deck. We’re on the lookout for turtles on the road whenver we’re out, two wheels or four. This is the time of year they’re “trying to get to each other”, as a biker friend of mine once explained. He mounted a cardboard turtle transport box on his Triumph motorcycle. We’re not that elaborate. We just flip the flashers, pull over to the shoulder, scoop the turtle from the road and place him/her on the side of the road they pointed towards. They’re usually laying on the road with just their heads sticking out, a prime target for the cell phone talking driver in his monster manly truck going 70mph. One time Mr. Mike watched in horror as one of these huge pickups ran over a turtle, squashing it, before he could rescue it. Most of the turtles are box turtles, though we have encountered river cooters, map turtles, and yes, a snapping turtle. We didn’t pick him up, just “guided” him across the road with a stick, which he viciously bit if it got too close. But the most surprising discovery occurred last week when I had parked the car and was getting ready to climb the stairs to our house.

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A gopher tortoise! Their numbers are decreasing due to loss of habitat. They live in tunnels, sometimes over 40 feet long. Now I understood the purpose of that mysterious hole under the trees in our front yard. Note the large forelegs.

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Scrounge Cat #4 had to check it out. Turtles move slow, so there’s plenty of time to cook and observe. Try this BBQ Glazed Pork while watchin’ the wild things.

BBQ Glazed Pork
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp soy sauce (low sodium if you got it)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/5 tsp chili powder
Flake salt & pepper
1 lb pork tenderloin, loin roast, or boneless chops (I used chops cuz that’s all I had)
1 Tbsp oil

Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat skillet to med-high and add oil. Brown meat on all sides and then place in a slow cooker. Mix ketchup and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over meat, turning to cover. Cook on low until tender, 6-8 hours or according to your device’s performance. Shred the meat with two forks, tossing to coat with the sauce. Serve in toasted buns. Cole slaw is a good side. Try adding some to your sandwich. And of course, serve with beer & Lousiana hot sauce. Serves 4. Adapted from June 2013 Woman’s Day, pg 106.

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Try this scroungey riff on coleslaw:
4-6 cups shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste (a seasoned salt, like Lawry’s or Penzey’s Old World Seasoning works well)
1-2 Tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped into small pieces
Mix all together and let set 10-15 minutes before serving. Even better if you make it the night before, but who plans that far ahead?

One Small Win for Blood Type Diets While Rock Extracts Make Peace with Meat, Buttermilk Spice Cake and Food Scrounge News

Last week I turned the page on another year. Here is the cake to prove it. Buttermilk Spice Cake is very easy to make. Just dump all ingredients into a bowl, then mix to combine. I used an immersion blender instead of a stand or hand-held mixer. It worked fine with a whip attachment. Though I did have a Bass-o-Matic moment when I turned the thing on and wasn’t grasping the bowl. It slid radpidly to the edge of the sink but all turned out well. The last photo is dark, not the cake. When done it is a light golden brown. I added about 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Frosting isn’t necessary. Serve with whipped topping and vanilla ice cream.
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Memorial Day Signals Ground Beef’s Moment: Burgers and Sweet-and-Sour Sloppy Joes with Sesame Slaw

100_1720The weather on the Creek has been beautiful – warm, dry, dwindling mosquitos. The traditional Memorial Day also was my birthday (remember holidays before they all became Monday holidays?). In the 1960s, a parade would march down Main Street. Whenever the flag would go by, my father would make me stop leaning and stand up straight. At the time it was annoying but now I understand. Both my father and most of his generation are gone now. However, it is important to remember the day by flying the flag and standing up straight. Afterwards we’d have a backyard BBQ. Of course that meant burgers, corn on the cob, and watermelon. Mr. Mike and I had a creekside cookout:

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Mr. Mike had a momentary panic because he forgot to prep the grill, resulting in the torn burger. But once you slap the bun top on, it makes no difference. You may have some leftover uncooked ground beef and be short on time. The following recipes are tasty and easy. The recipe called for tomato paste, and fresh ginger, which I did not have so I scrounged. The recipes come from the May 2013 issue of Real Simple. You may be aware Martha Stewart played a big role in starting this magazine. The recipes bear some of her fingerprints. I took care of that.

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Sweet-and-sour sloppy Joes with sesame slaw (as decreed by Martha S.)
2 Tbsp Canola oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 pound ground beef
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp brown sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ small head cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 sesame hamburger buns, split
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and ginger and cook, tossing, until softened, 2-4 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 3-5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, sugar, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ½ cup water and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute more.
2. Toss together the cabbage, carrots, cilantro, lime juice, sesame oil, remaining tablespoon of canola oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Fill the buns with meat and serve with the slaw and lime wedges.
Now really. This is the kind of recipe that makes fussy assumptions about your cooking. But this is the Scroungelady, and I have 20 minutes to make this stuff because I have a conference call. Plus I hate unnecessary steps. Do this instead:
1. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat, adding no-stick spray if you like. Add the beef, onions, and ginger and cook until browned (a bit of crust is even better), about 5 minutes. If using regular ground beef, drain any excess fat. I recommend using ground chuck or round because the fat will be sufficient to cook the onions without having to drain any excess fat. Why use canola oil when the beef has all the fat needed? And why use scallions? The green parts will turn a nasty olive green if you cook it as the recipe describes. Just use regular onions, chopped (about ½ cup). The onions are supposed to turn brown and that’s fine. And what’s with slipping the water into the directions and not in the ingredient list? Actually, I doubt ½ cup water will be sufficient for the ¼ cup tomato paste. Use about ¾ cup tomato sauce instead. No need for water. If you don’t have fresh ginger, about 1 teaspoon ground ginger will get you by. The meat mixture thickened up in about 1 minute using the tomato sauce.
2. Proceed as directed, although giving specific amounts of vegetables ( i.e. 2 cups) would be helpful to the average person. One person’s 2 carrots could feed an army of rabbits while mine might be sufficient as scrounge cat toys.
3. Suggest toasting the buns.

Salty Spiders or Popcorn Coronaries? Try Mouse Melons and Waffle Tacos to Enhance Your Mood for Food Scrounge News

100_1601Shhhh…don’t tell anyone. Miss scrounge cat #2 is in a forbidden place.
100_1689There are several reports on dining habits in this week’s edition. Click the Food Scrounge News tab to access research and nonsense.

I generally don’t care for most recipes in fundraising church-type cookbooks, but these look worth trying.

The roadside markets are loaded with watermelons. The watermelon cooler would be perfect with some vodka added.

Take the Krill Oil Cinnamon Challenge While Gorging on Paleo Diet with Chicken Eggshells and Food Scrounge News

April 29 was Confederate Veteran Memorial Day. Local and state government offices were closed in observance of the holiday. While North and South may disagree on many issues, no one can dispute potato salad is the official warm weather salad. While you read Food Scrounge News, boil the potatoes for it using this recipe from Southern Living:

2 pounds red potatoes, peeled (russets can be used but will have a softer texture)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (light or regular)
1 1/2 teaspoon mustard (your choice: hot, mild, spicy etc)
2 hard cooked eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste (I used more)
1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender; drain and cool (ice water works well). Cut into one inch cubes
Grate hard cooked eggs using the large holes of a cheese grater into the potatoes. Mix mayo, mustard, salt and pepper together and stir gently into potato mixture. Serve immediately or cover and chill. 6-8 servings.
Options: add 2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickles; 1/4 cup each diced celery and onion.

I made this for the family reunion last week.

 

Several of Mr. Mike’s ancestors were Confederate veterans.

100_1493Potato salad and other goodies on the counter.

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Mmmm..Flexitarian Soup Society Promises Fatness to Badness in 140 Characters for Food Scrounge News

After dinner poses

Click on Food Scrounge News tab for nutrition news for 2020. Below is a photo of another online activity: my Etsy shop. I make notecards and message cards using watercolor marbled paper. Typical Gemini, I’m constantly pulled in two different directions.

 

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Tonight we’re having a stew made with bulk sausage, black eye peas, and collard greens. Brown 12-16 oz sausage with chopped onions, drain well. Dump the sausage, 1 pound frozen black eye peas, and a 1 lb package frozen chopped collard greens in a crock pot. Add 2 cups chicken broth, season to taste and let it go for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. The ingredients were scrounged from my freezer.  Substitute as you wish – pork, beans, and greens.  Finish off with bread and beer.

 

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Accept Your Addiction, Uncork Your Nose, Slim Down at High Altitude While Reading Food Scrounge News

Cocoa Fudge Cake

Cocoa Fudge Cake

Cake batter and recipe

Cake batter and recipe

From Eros with Love – Cocoa Fudge Cake

Eros, LA

Eros, LA

Mr. Mike and I stopped for this photo several years ago. He was riding his Guzzi Sport, I was on my Buell Lightning.  I made this cake to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the Mardi Gras floodwaters receding. A canoe is no longer necessary to reach the paved road (and mailbox!). The recipe is from my 1974 Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Yes, I know weighing is more accurate than measuring baking ingredients. But this was the early ’70s and Miss Betty didn’t do weights. Actually most Americans still don’t weigh ingredients. I like this recipe because it is forgiving – just dump, mix, and bake.

Cocoa Fudge Cake

1/2 cup margarine or shortening, softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

2/3 cup cocoa

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray no-stick spray a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pr two layer pans. Alternately you can grease and flour the pans (I hated doing that). Measure all ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Blend 30 seconds on low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix 3 minutes on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s). Bake oblong pan 35-40 minutes, layers 30 -35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack.  Frost, dust top with powdered sugar, or top with whipped cream when serving.

 

 

Floods, Chickpea Curry, and PO’d Cats.

03 Back Water Blues

Click on the link for high water mood music as you check out the photos. It is an MP3 file, ripped from Our New Orleans 2005.  It was produced to raise funds for Katrina victims, who are still dealing with flood damage. Also please make a contribution to the Sandy victims. They have a long way to go.

The crossways log is suspended about 10 feet from the creek bottom during normal flow. Well, what is normal anymore?

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The leaning, partly submerged tree sits on the creek bank edge during dry times.  You can see the water creeping towards our concrete pad under the house.

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Another view from the back deck.

Jan2013 flood steps

Mr. Mike dragged my plant supplies to the front entry just in case the water flooded beneath our house. The garden supplies are still a mess from Hurricane Isaac.

Catnap in Jan2013 flood

Scrounge Cat #1 slept through the whole thing – think he cares?

I scrounged dinner from supplies on hand and a recipe from January/February 2013 issue of Cooking Light, pg 26 for Chickpea Curry. This after cleaning up the mess from Scrounge Cat #2 pissing on one of the few pairs of pants I can wear with my Frankenboot. Cats are totally in the moment, and right now she is in her nasty phase of kitty menopause. I cut her a little bit of slack (after some bad language) because I stopped being girl a while ago and can relate. So, my Frankenbooted left leg life with floodwaters and pantry scrounging: Chickpea Curry. Another tune as you read the recipe:

16 Louisiana

Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

1 cup rice

2 cups water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala

2 15 oz cans chickpeas (garbonzo beans), rinsed and drained (I cooked 1 cup dry because I didn’t have canned; it did not take long)

1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (diced or stewed work fine too)

1 6 oz package fresh baby spinach (yeah, this is ideal. I used a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed)

1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogur (I used light sour cream)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper (fresh ground is great here)

1/4 cup chopped chilantro (I probably used more, don’t sweat it)

What you do:

1. Prepare rice using your normal method.

2. While rice cooks, add oil to a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat, swirl to coat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in garam masala, cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

3. Add chickpeas (cook first if using dry), tomatoes, and spinach. Cook 2 minutes until spinach wilts (if using fresh). It may take another 2 minutes or so if using frozen. If using diced or some “whole” type canned tomato, break up the tomato with a spoon as the mixture cooks.

4. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt (or sour cream). Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over rice. Serves 4

I’ve made this two ways and both came out fine. The alternative is to add the yogurt or sour cream on top of the chickpea mixture when serving. It separates the creamy flavor from the rest of the curry.

Enjoy!

Note: Louisiana 1927 is one of our fave slow dance songs.

Confession No. 72 – Like you’ve never been hungry?

The following link has a fabulous Buttermilk Pie recipe, which I used for Christmas dinner. Enjoy like cheesecake; it is very rich.  I recommend checking out his blog. Good recipes and “confessions”.

 

Confession No. 72 – Like you’ve never been hungry?.

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