Saturday, January 4, 2014

Great Music, The Man From Ravcon & Chili on a cold winter day


 In many parts of the US it is cold outside and we could all use a little warming up and some great music always makes for a better day. 

Awhile ago we were in our favorite record store in Charlotte, NC and became friends with one of the employees Mike Brown, or in the world of prog/surf/rock/pop/spaghetti western music, he is known as The Man From Ravcon.

Mike played in a Charlotte band for many years called The Ravelers but for the last few years he has been writing, recording and producing his own tunes as The Man From Ravcon.  Mike not only writes all the music but he plays all the instruments on every song and recently released his sixth album, Skyscraper.

My hubby Doug and I are always on the hunt for great music so when we discover something new and exciting we love to share, just click on any of the following links, enjoy the ride and don’t forget to buy….. (link for sampling all six releases and buying)

The Chili is simmering accompanied by the cool sounds from the The Man From Ravcon.
 Cheers! Kary

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sandy Shuman Jewelry - Nature inspired designs made from the heart….urban, earthy, bohemian, and eclectic

Today is  “Shop Local Saturday” and a perfect day to jump back into blogging and introduce to you a  Whimsically Artistic Jewelry Designer, Sandy Shuman .

Sandy’s shop is not a local brick and mortar store however several months ago Sandy launched her on-line small business .

Please stop in, take a look and  shop around!  

Sandy Shuman Jewelry -  Nature inspired designs made from the heart….urban, earthy, bohemian, and eclectic.  

My new favorite bracelet designed and created by my sister-in-law Sandy Shuman is a joy to behold with rustic blue/green turquoise joined together by artisan silver heart toggle.
I just love all the pieces in her collection!  

If you are shopping for unique one of a kind jewelry I have the shop for you!   

Just click on the link, Sandy has imagination, style and I just love her presentation of every piece of jewelry! 

Every piece of jewelry is a unique creation designed by Sandy.  Here are just a few…. 

Looking for a symbol of independence Steer Your Own Course Necklace by SandyShumanJewelry on Etsy 

Wear a little reminder of the sea with the

Enjoy the experience, you are just one click away! 

Cheers! Kary

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Avon Breast Cancer Walk- FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!

Please join me in our battle against Breast Cancer, FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!
I am walking for my Mom, Mother-in-law, All who have won the battle, for those still fighting and all of our loved ones that we have lost. I will be walking in the two day (24/14 miles) Avon Breast Cancer walk in Oct. Charlotte, NC. I am still working to reach my fund raising goal and every dollar counts! I Would love your support, please click on my link to donate today!
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Donate Today

Every dollar counts in the fight against Breast Cancer and your donation will make a difference. Please click on the link to donate. Thanks for your support! Hugs, Kar

$5, 10, 15, 20..... Whatever you can afford!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Flowers, Chocolates & Family, Happy Mothers Day!

The door bell rings and I can hear what sounds like a delivery truck pulling away to the next stop.

I open the front door and there sits a large box, which I pick up with a smile on my face and a wonderful feeling of anticipation.

As I open the box the smell of fresh cut flowers feels my senses and there is also a brown box filled with chocolates!

The flowers and chocolates have been sent to me from the best kids in the world for Mothers Day. The only thing that would be better would be to spend the day with them.

We will all get together soon and every day our family spends together is a celebration and this year my hubby Doug and I will be spending the day with his Mom, which is always filled with laughs, love and fun.

Happy Mothers Day to all! Make every day Mothers Day!

One of the great pleasures in life is to open the front door and find
that your children have sent you flowers.

Thank you Bren, Brad, Jake, Nate & Tinks!
Bren- you are the best mom ever!

Cheers! Hugs, Kar

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kentucky Derby Time Y'all!

For 139 years on the first Saturday of May, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky has been
the site to sip Mint Juleps, show-off your finest hat and watch the ponies run in the Kentucky Derby. 

When hosting a Derby party I usually serve pork rib sandwiches, homemade slaw and a variety of appetizers for the guest to snack on.

If you are looking for traditional Derby favorites check out Chef Nick Sundberg’s recipes: Mint Julep, Kentucky Hot Brown, Bread Pudding with Bourbon and many other traditional recipes which will set the mood for cheering on the ponies.

Here is Chef Nick Sunberg’s recipe for Mint Julep:

¼ cup fresh spearmint leaves
2 cups water, heated
2 cups sugar
A bucket of cracked ice and 32 ounces of bourbon 

In a large pitcher mix together the water and sugar. Add the crushed/cracked ice, pour in
the bourbon and stir in the mint leaves.

Oh and sip slowly….  

Pork rib recipe posted January 5, 2011, just add barbeque sauce, sandwich rolls and you have great pork sandwiches.

Slow Cooker

1 lb boneless pork ribs (ribs with the bone work just as well and add more flavor)

Defrost if frozen

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup of water

1 tsp powder garlic

1 tsp powder onion

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

1 apple peeled and sliced in quarters or ¼ cup of orange, apple or pineapple juice

 Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and add the pork ribs.

Add a tablespoon of Worcestershire to the water, mix and pour over the ribs

Season with the garlic, onion, thyme and oregano

Add the sliced apples to the pot

Cook on low for 8 hours, until the ribs are fork tender (cooking time can vary by crock pot, check your instructions for your slow cooker)

The sliced apple will cook down and add a sweet wonderful flavor to the ribs.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Corned Beef, A US Tradition

On Sunday March 17th in many countries the Irish and those who become Irish for a day will celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks, leprechauns, Celtic Irish Music, the wearing of green and of course Guinness are associated with Ireland and Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The Irish have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for over 1,000 years; however the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in NYC in 1848. The St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage is more of an American tradition.

Cabbage and root vegetables; carrots, potatoes and onion are a staple in Ireland along with Corned bacon. Over the years the Irish have raised cattle mostly for export to England and in the past when the English owned the lands in Ireland beef, although raised by the Irish was very expensive for them to purchase, pork was much less expensive than beef therefore pork was more of a staple in the Irish diet than beef.

According to history when the Irish immigrated to New York City they could not afford pork; however beef was readily available and inexpensive in the states. The Jewish immigrants introduced beef brisket to their new Irish neighbors and corned beef was substituted for Irish bacon.

Over the years corned beef has become a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition in the United States. It is served in Ireland, but mostly to please the tourists.

This time of year you can usually find a good price on Corned Beef with seasoning at your local market in the US. This version takes about three hours to cook so it is a good weekend recipe.

In the US tradition of Saint Patrick’s Day here is my recipe for Corned Beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots recipe. The simmering corned beef will fill your home with a fantastic aroma and the flavors from the meal will please the palate and have you coming back for seconds. Delicious! Cheers!

ST Patrick's Day Corned Beef Meal


3 to 4 lb packaged corned beef with seasoning packet
Most markets sell corned beef with the seasoning packet included
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into fourths
I use russet potatoes, however red, white or Yukon work just as well
6 carrots or 2 cups of pre-cut and peeled carrots
Peeled and cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces
1 head of cabbage
Rinsed and cut into wedges

How to prepare:
Rinse the corned beef, place in a large cooking pot, cover with water and empty seasoning package into the pot
Bring the water to a boil, turn down heat to simmer and cover
Simmer for approximately 3 hours, set timer for 2 ½ hours

The cooking instructions should be on the package
Peel the potatoes and cut into fourths
Peel and cut the carrots into 2 inch pieces
When the corned beef is fork tender remove from the pot, place on a serving plate and cover with foil
Remove ½ cup of the liquid to cook the cabbage in
Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot, you should have plenty of liquid from cooking the corned beef, if not add some more water. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes until the fork tender
Rinse and cut the cabbage into large wedges
While the potatoes and carrots are simmering, in a large skillet add ½ cup of the liquid from the corned beef
Add the cabbage to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes
I like my cooked cabbage to have a bit of a crunch to it You can cook the cabbage to your desired texture
Slice the corned beef, which should be really tender and add to the plate along with the cooked potatoes, carrots and cabbage

Are you cooking Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day?

Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mardi Gras, Gumbo & Good Times

Friday February 8, 2013 

Welcome to Mardi Gras season! This is my third year writing a post about one of my favorite cities so please join me in the celebration!  

My husband Doug and I love New Orleans, the delicious food, lively music, eclectic and friendly people. I don’t need a reason to cook up some great Cajun or Creole foods, but with Mardi Gras season upon us I usually find myself in the kitchen whipping up our favorite New Orleans cuisine and preparing to host a Mardi Gras party, usually the Saturday prior to Fat Tuesday.

This year I made Gumbo several weeks ago and I just pulled it out of the freezer to thaw for this Saturday’s celebration.
Gumbo & Mardi Gras Salad Yum!
I wrote my first Mardi Gras post at cookingwithkary.blogspot  on the Friday prior to
Ash Wednesday 2011 and that year we experienced a long cold winter in the Carolina’s. Last year in 2012 we had an usually warm winter and it was my first Mardi Gras post on BlogHer. As I write my post for 2013 the sun is shining in my part of the Carolina’s however snow is piling up in the Northeast; closing airports, stranding travelers and closing schools which the children love!

If you are preparing for the snow storm or enjoying a sun filled day it is always the perfect time to enjoy the great food of the Mardi Gras season! So take a look at my recipe’s or pull out your favorite New Orleans inspired recipes and come along with me to Mardi Gras!~
I was reviewing my past posts and decided to re-post my menu, that’s not cheating is it? 
It can be a little confusing trying to figure out when Ash Wednesday falls, so just to clarifyJ according to “Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter and Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Easter can fall on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25 with the exact date to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following a Spring Equinox! There you have it! Voila! 
For those of you preparing a Mardi Gras celebration or a New Orleans themed dinner here is my go to menu that is always a crowd pleaser. 
Mardi Gras Menu
Appetizers- Fresh vegetable platter with dip, smoked salmon spread with crackers
My friend Janet introduced me to the Mardi Gras salad, which is a festive salad incorporating the colors of Mardi Gras; purple (red) onion, slices of mandarin oranges and green spinach. The Mardi Gras Salad is a colorful salad that is one of my favorites which I prepare all year long, always pleasing to the palate. 
Whether you are entertaining a large crowd or preparing an intimate dinner this salad always delivers and is a great pairing with a spicy gumbo. 
I really love to prepare Gumbo on the stove, the aroma from the Gumbo always reminds me of a warm sultry night in the French Quarter of New Orleans, eating fresh steamed crawfish, savoring a bowl of Gumbo and listening to New Orleans jazz. 
Shrimp Etouffee
To satisfy the seafood lovers here is my Etouffee recipe for Mardi Gras or make this any time you are in the mood for a little something spicy. Traditionally Cajun Etouffee is tomato based, where as Creole Etouffee is roux based. Enjoy!
Seasoning: I make my own spicy seasoning which includes herbs, spices and dehydrated onion. So if you don’t have any Cajun or Creole seasoning in the house, here is my blend of what I call “New Orleans” style seasoning. If your want to test your tolerance to hot peppers you can add more cayenne or red pepper and heat up your taste buds! And remember, as you cook your Gumbo the hot peppers increase in intensity! 

         2 tablespoons dried minced onion
         2 tablespoons dried garlic powder
         1 tablespoon black pepper
         1 tablespoon dried oregano
The perfect bread to sop up your gumbo and etoffee! I usually purchase a fresh Baguette from my local bakery and one of these days I am going to try my hand at baking my own Baguette!
King Cake is a pastry style cake decorated with frosting in the colors of Mardi Gras; purple, green and gold. In New Orleans traditionally a small baby Jesus or trinket is inserted in the cake and whoever finds the trinket in their slice of King Cake hosts the next Mardi Gras party or brings the King Cake the next year. I have had the good fortune of finding the baby Jesus two years in a row.
Now that you have your menu for the Mardi Gras party, music is a must so don’t forget to have a great selection of Jazz, Zydeco and any of your party favorites ready to liven up the festivities. And do not forget the Mardi Gras beads, I usually purchase beads at my local party store, toss them in a bowl as gifts for my guests to wear.  
Always a good time to be had!!!!
If you are heading down to Nawlins steer clear of Bourbon Street and enjoy the festivities all over the city and in the parishes. “A time for Local Mardi Gras krewes who bring you the "Greatest Free Show on Earth" do not even parade through the Quarter. That is why you have never seen a parade filmed from a balcony in the Quarter -- you just see the crowds after the parades.”  As for me, I will be celebrating Mardi Gras from the comfort of my home, maybe one day I will attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Have you ever attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans? What is your favorite New Orleans style recipe?
Cook Something! Cheers!