Monday, May 2, 2016

Cooking with Kary: Cinco De Mayo

Do you know why we celebrate Cinco De Mayo? Read on....

Cooking with Kary: Cinco De Mayo: Viva Cinco De Mayo~ I wrote this post in 2011 and in 2016 it is still one of my favorites which I just updated. Chicken Enchiladas Read...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen, Book Club & Enchilada's

Book Club: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and Elaine's Famous Chicken Enchiladas~

“When you’re happy for yourself, it fills you.
When you’re happy for someone else, it pours over.”

Where did the time go, a year ago Elaine along with adorable Chloe hosted book club and we were back at Elaine’s last March where she whipped up her famous Enchiladas’, served with a tossed green salad and of course chips and salsa! Hey when you have a winning recipe we all agree that you should stick with it!

And for dessert…Lemon Balm Pudding Cake, well not sure if Elaine actually infused the cake with Crushed Violets but it was delicious!

Elaine also greeted us with a surprise, her husband John usually creates a presentation on their TV with great photos of the book and a welcome greeting, which always makes us feel special. Well this month John outdid himself! He created a booklet which included Elaine’s menu for the evening, the book club questions, a list of Sarah’s other books and a description of the magical effect of Claire’s plants, you will just have to read the book to get the list!

I first read Garden Spells back in 2008 and fell in love with the Waverly women; Claire, Sydney, Bay and Evanelle. When Ann suggested this book I thought it would be fun to read it again. Who doesn’t’ love a book about a mysterious apple tree, magical plants and recipes, secrets, love and family. A story of unusual women that are quirky, secretive and just plain fun to spend time with.

Claire and Sydney are sisters who each have a particular gift, some might call it intuition, others hmmm maybe a little magic. Bay is Sydney’s daughter, who has a particular talent for making sure everything has a place and Evanelle is just plain fun and we all agreed she is our favorite character. Toss in a little mystery, a dash of romance, family love, friends lost and found, magic and you have the perfect recipe for a great book.

One of the book club questions asked “If you possessed magical powers what would you do?” My response without even thinking was cure cancer, we all agreed that was a good one. My Mom, Mother-in-law and so many of my friends are breast cancer survivors and we have lost too many to cancer. My Dad is a colon cancer survivor, need I say more.

As always we shared laughs, a little bit of our inner thoughts, opinions, yes we all have those and just had fun!
If you haven’t read any of Sarah Addison Allen’s novels spring is here and a perfect time to spend time with some of Sarah’s great characters. What books are you reading, we love suggestions!

Just cook something! Oh and read something! Cheers! Kary~

 Elaine’s Famously Delicious Enchiladas

4 cups boiled chicken breast cut in cubes
1 can mild enchilada sauce
1 small onion diced
16 oz. sour cream
4 cups four blend shredded Mexican cheeses
1 can minced green chilies
12 tortilla shells, Flour, wheat or corn- My favorite is corn tortillas, that said Elaine's are my favorite with flour!

Pre-heat the oven to 350 decrees.
Place the chicken breasts in a sauce pan and cover with water, about 1-inch-high, bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes. Watch closely, when the chicken is fork tender it is done.

Mix chicken, sour cream, 2 cups of cheese, minced green chilies and onion in a large bowl. Dip the tortilla shells into the enchilada sauce and fill with a spoon full of the chicken/cheese mixture, roll with the seam side down. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the rolled up enchiladas and bake 30 minutes @350 decrees.
It’s that simple, now enjoy!

And for a side dish, a green salad, black beans & corn or Spanish rice well do nicely.  Oh don’t forget the tortilla chips and salsa!

Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~

2016 Selections:
Month       Book                                           Author
February      Garden Spells                                         Sarah Addison Allen           
March           The Hummingbird                                                 Stephen Kiernan      
April              Rogue Lawyer                                                       John Grisham           
May               Maybe in another life                                         Taylor Jenkins Reid 
June~August                         Summer Break                                  
September   Comfort and Joy                                                   Kristen Hannah
October       Marriage of Opposites                                         Alice Hoffman         
November    The Nightingale                                                     Kristen Hannah
December      Christmas Party and Book Selection for 2017 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Raisin Bread Homemade Bread Machine

This one is for my Sissy Deb, finally got around to finishing this post!

Perfection, Finally!
How hard could it be to bake a loaf of Raisin Bread? Everyone in our family loves Raisin Bread and one of my local markets use to sell fresh baked raisin bread, which was delicious!  However, they no longer bake your basic raisin bread, they are offering raisin pecan or some other variation.
Sliced & Perfect!
In my quest to find a great loaf of raisin bread I found fresh baked loafs at my local organic bakery but at $6.50 or more for a loaf of bread I decided to learn how to bake my own raisin bread. How difficult can that be? Well, like anything that is done well practice, practice and more practice produces a good loaf of bread. I searched for healthy raisin bread recipes on the web and I found several that sounded pretty easy to make, however most of the recipes were for bread makers.
Finally Perfection!
I began experimenting with making the bread dough, the first loaf tasted really great but did not rise like it should, I think the water was too warm and the yeast did not react as it should. Ok cooler water next time and I think I punched down the dough too aggressively, it was slow to rise.
Finally after several attempts the dough was rising like I thought it should, still a lot of work and not the perfect loaf but the wonderful aroma of fresh bread baking filled our home, pure heaven and the Raisin Bread was simply yummy! 
The Bread Maker!
Just as I was perfecting my bread baking skills it seems that overnight we went from spring to summer. Ugh, way too warm to heat up the kitchen. I was sharing my story with my friend Patti. Pattie told me she had a bread maker which had traveled the world with her and she was going to loan it to me indefinitely, she had no intention of ever using the bread maker again. I was excited to try out the new to me bread machine.
Hmmm ok so how difficult could it be to make bread in a bread machine…Well it smelled like baked bread but when I opened the bread maker it looked more like a volcano than a perfect loaf of bread. Good news was that it tasted like raisin bread should taste, yum yum come get you some!
Next up was mastering the bread machine, or not……After surfing the web and reading many blogs I learned that it was possible that I was adding too much water. What? I followed the instruction in the booklet that came with the bread maker. As many cooks say “a recipe is a suggestion” however for me baking bread is a chemistry experiment. So many variables to consider; water temperature, weather- yes weather, too hot, too cold, too humid, no humidity, less yeast, more yeast, room temperature yeast…Ugh this is why I so admire bakers, it is a craft and I have more respect than ever for those who bake.
Through trial and error over the last several years here is my mostly perfect Raisin Bread recipe for the Bread Maker, of course depending on the weather:  
For a 1.5 lbs Loaf
My Recipe                                                                  Recipe in the book
10 ounces       Water –Room Temperature                        11 ounces Water
1 and ½ cups  Wheat Flour                                      3 cups Bread Flour
1 and ½ cups  Unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon, sometimes a dash more
1 Tablespoon Sugar                                                  1 ½ tablespoon Sugar
½ Teaspoon    Salt                                                     1 ½ teaspoons Salt
1 ½ Tablespoon Coconut Oil or Butter                   1 ½ tablespoons Butter
Do not use and no substitute for this                              1 ½ tablespoon Dry Skim Milk
½ cup of Raisins                                                        3 ounces of Raisins
1 ½ Teaspoons Yeast                                                            2 teaspoons yeast
Add the ingredients to the bread case in the order it is listed, very important!
Water first, Flour: I add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of each cup of flour.
Next Sugar, Salt, Coconut Oil or Butter, Raisins and finally the yeast.
Plug in Mister Loaf Model HB-210-215, adjust the settings and let it do all the work, about 2 ½ hours. Don’t leave this model alone, it only buzzes once when the bread is ready. Immediacy turn off the bread maker and using hand mitts remove the pan, cool bread on a rack and BE careful not to burn yourself!
Now, smell that wonderful aroma only fresh baked bread has and enjoy!
I would love to hear your baking stories, please share! Just cook something! Cheers~ Kary ~
Additional notes:
Water temperature: no notes in the instruction booklet, it just seemed to make sense that the water should be room temperature.  
Flour notes: I did not taste or see a difference using the following: 3 cups of Bread Flour or 3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour works. I have not tried to make it with 3 cups of Wheat Flour.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cooking with Kary: Cooking School Italy, Where would you go and what ...

Flash back Thursday...Cooking with Kary: Cooking School Italy, Where would you go and what ...: My hubby and I love to travel and what we really enjoy is meeting the locals. We have traveled across the pond where they speak the Queens...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Shrimp, Safe Haven and Southport NC,

Crab cakes and shrimp Yacht Basin Provision CO.
Safe Haven”, Southport, Movie Making, Shrimp and Crab Cakes
Have you ever been to Southport, NC? I started writing this post several years ago and never got around to finish writing. With rolling spring breaks getting ready to start I thought it would be a good time to finish this post and share one of my visits to Southport, NC. And by the way this is a great destination for Spring break or any time, just south of Wilmington, NC, another seaport village that I love!
Flash back to August 2012, when my previous job took me to Southport, NC and it just so happened that the crew was still filming “Safe Haven”. Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel are the stars along with the location. I had a lunch appointment with Margret and she suggested that we dine at one of her favorite local restaurants, The Yacht Basin Provision Co.  
Southport NC
Years ago my hubby Doug and I spent some time in Southport, NC and we considered moving to this beautiful seaside community; we did not make the move but love visiting every chance we get. When I had the opportunity to visit Southport, NC it was my pleasure to load up my mini cooper and make the 4 hour drive to the coast for business meetings.
Southport, NC where the book “Safe Haven” by Nicholas Sparks is set is a thriving & quaint seaside beach town that is located near Wilmington, NC and where the movie “Safe Haven” was filmed. 
As Margaret and I arrived at the restaurant we were surrounded by the film crew that was setting up their equipment right next to our lunch for the days shoot.
As we were waiting for our lunch there was commotion from some of the young girls on the patio screaming “We love you Josh” as in Josh Duhamel starring in “Safe Haven”, the crew was filming a scene at the restaurant next door, he waved and he was just as adorable in person as on film, I snapped a picture and of course I know it’s him, but can you tell?

The crowd settled down and our meal was served. Seafood of course is on the menu and I ordered the fresh crab cakes, shrimp and cucumber salad with of course chilled ice tea. The temperature was wavering around 85 decrees with a not so cool ocean breeze and fans on the patio making every attempt to keep us cool, if that’s possible in the middle of a hot summer day. My new favorite restaurant in Southport, fresh sea food, great company and the warm ocean breeze, just another day at work…
After my visit to Southport I downloaded the book Safe Haven from my local library, if you do not have the overdrive app, download it now! I love the app and Safe Haven is now one of me favorite Nicholas Sparks books. Sun, surf, romance and toss in a magical

Check back for couple of my favorite recipes for crab cakes and shrimp.

Shrimp Grilled Shrimp Pasta Salad Shrimp Marinated Shrimp with onions on the Grill 

Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Annie Forman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral, Have you read the Book, Book Club

January's Have you read the book, book club was Annie Forman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral   by   Kris Radish

Have you thought about planning your own funeral, ok not a happy thought but after reading Annie Forman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral you might think differently.

Our first book for 2016 was a roll-over from 2015, recommended by Karen who was our January hostess. Usually we take turns hosting our book club at one of our homes; however we are very flexible, after all we are called “have you read the book, book club”. Our hostess Karen really wanted to try a fairly new restaurant Black Chicken in Waxhaw, NC and we all agreed to give it a try. Kind of fitting for our book Annie Forman’s trying new things and tossing out routine.

Karen ordered several types of flat breads and pimento cheese spread made by a local in Waxhaw, you have never tasted real pimento cheese spread until a local southern lady has made it for you, sooo delicious with flat bread chips.

If you haven’t read Annie Forman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral  we highly recommend that you read it. A great adventure filled with laughs, fun, food, wine, more wine and the women; Annie Freeman’s friends who opened their hearts and minds to everything and everyone they met along the way. Touching and changing so many lives, the funeral is really about the living and celebrating the one who leaves us behind, right? As we discussed the book we found ourselves wondering how many of our friends would attend a traveling funeral if we arranged it?

The author  Kris Radish is another great writer who transports us with her writing. Imagining ourselves in Key West watching the sun set and feeling the warm salt air on our skins, to a posh hotel in NYC and then on a small plane bouncing around in the air heading for the shores of a secluded lake in Minnesota. Opening our minds and hearts to a journey of loss, love, forgiveness; mostly self forgiveness and letting go of what we don’t need and embracing what we really want from life. 

Put on your favorite pair of fun sneakers, you’ll know what I mean when you read the book, Annie’s were red and enjoy the ride.

Do you have any flat bread recipes? Here are a couple of my pizza recipes that can be used with flat bread: Ground Chicken Pizza and Pesto Chicken Pizza.

February's book is Garden Spells  by Sarah Addison Allen   from one of my favorite authors and I love the way Sarah weaves her magical tales. What are you reading? 
Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~ 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dolphin Swim Worldstrides Spring Break Trip Day 5

Join Molly on her Spring Bread Adventure; Day 1, Day 2, Day 3,  Day 4

Day 5 The final day of Molly's Spring Break Adventure. 

 We woke up at around five in the morning for our last big adventure, swimming with the dolphins! We arrive very excited, hearing the clicks and chatters of the angels of the sea. First, we have a lesson on how to train a dolphin and the different commands and tricks they teach them. Then we got to put on our bathing suits and get into groups. I was in a group with Courtney, my friend Athena and a boy named Evan. (who later became Athena’s boyfriend, Florida is magical right?)   The two dolphins we swam with were named Alfonz and Lucy. They were the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen. We got to make them do tricks, make cute sounds and I even got to have my first kiss with Alfonz. Who knew dolphins could kiss so well?

A photographer took at least fifty pictures of each of us to print out later. I bought a seal stuffed animal at the gift shop and a bracelet. On our way back to the airport with all our things, we had an hour and a half of time to waste. But our time definitely wasn’t wasted. We went to an old, local, fresh food market called “Robert Is Here”. It is known for their signature milkshakes, fresh fruit, and different varieties of homemade honey. But another attraction they had was a mini petting zoo. They had llamas, alpacas, donkeys, pigs and even hippos. We were there for about an hour, enjoying the last big breath of Florida air that I would have for the next few years.

All of us boarded the bus, most of us charging our phones and iPods. Some people watching Nemo on the mini TVs and others passed out from exhaustion or ate food to keep the fear of flying off their minds. I’m excited to go on a plane again but I really do not want to leave Florida. We pulled up at the airport, thanked the bus driver for putting up with our teenage weirdness and said goodbye to our tour guide. All of us slowly strolled through security and to our gate. As I board the plane and hear the engine start, I know I will never ever forget the wonderful, magical five day vacation I took to Florida. 

Travel, Cook Something and Enjoy Every Day....
Where are you going for spring break? Cheers! Kary~

Account Manager blog for WorldStrives

Part 2 

Dolphin Cove

Curry Hammock State Park

Turtle Hospital 

Pennenkamp Coral Reef Park

Island Dolphin Care