October 31, 2013

Cucumber and lemon Green tea

So refreshing! Take your favorite green tea baggies (about 5), thinly sliced cucumber (about half of 1 medium cucumber) and half of a lemon (thinly sliced). That is about it. Brew the green tea and plop the cucumber and lemon in a plastic bottle and pour the green tea in. Shake, shake, shake. So good. And then if you like it sweeter just add 1-3 tablespoons of agave sweetener.

Baked Salmon

Baked Salmon

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes

Simply top a slab of Salmon with minced garlic, thinly sliced lemon, fresh parsley and small amount of butter or drizzle of olive oil.
Easy. Enjoy!

Stuffed Bacon Cheese Burgers

Top left: How to stuff burgers. Make a ball with you burger. The put a thumb hole half way through the ball. Then add your ingredients such as cheese and bacon bits.
Bottom left: Close the ball over the stuffing's and carefully flatten. Then add a small thumb print to the middle of the burger. Add a little Worcestershire sauce to the top. Then they are grill ready.
Top right: Yummy grilled stuffed bacon cheese burgers.
Bottom right: Two onions (white and red). Put a tablespoon of butter on top then add a beef bullion cube and wrap in foil. Through on the grill for about half an hour. Best onion for your burgers.

To the ground beef I added: chopped fresh cilantro and parsley, 1 packet of dry ranch dressing (this is the secret weapon), steak seasoning, pepper, grated onion (about 1 tablespoon).

What's on my wine rack...

Here are some new additions to my wine rack. I was intrigued by the Albarino because it is pretty close to my name (Albian). One great myth the wine industry has demolished for me is the idea that "pink" wine is super sweet and something my grandma June drinks. When you find a great dry (meaning not sweet) Rose it can rival almost any red on a nice fall day. This one from Quady North in Jacksonville, Oregon has a peachy character that I love. I absolutely love Eden Vale's Syrah 2003! It tastes like a "big bowl of bing cherries". I had this sweet carbonated wine at a friends house and for a little mix up it was great. The middle wine is from Kriselle cellars in Sams Valley, Oregon. It is called Di'tani (2010). It is a quite nice red blend but it is mostly Cab Franc.


 The beauty of a winery.
All the hard work pays off! An amazing glass of wine!

Harvest Time - Sorting

On this day of harvest we sorted Chardonnay grapes. This picture illustrates the steps to sorting. The bottom left picture shows the grape being dropped (by forklift) into the funnel to go onto the sorting table. The top right is the grapes coming onto the table to be sorted. The bottom picture is the huge bin of grapes we are going to sort. There can be anywhere from two to four people sorting depending how high the volume is.


 This is a Merlot grape. Certain grapes have certain shape to them. This cluster has a what is called a "wing". Most grapes very in shape and size. Some grapes are tightly clustered together, others are loose. Distinguishing marks can also be found in the clusters branches and the color of the branches.
I labeled these grapes for the tasting room. I went out to the vineyard and picked them. The idea was given to me by the wine maker herself. It was neat to pair the grape with the actual wine in the tasting room. Wine making is a beautiful art.

Harvest time - Big Equipment

Harvest time means using big equipment. Definitely need forklifts (top left)! The bottom left picture is a sorting table. The grapes get dropped down that funnel looking thing on to the belt. This is where the grapes are thoroughly sorted for all the best grapes. The picture on the right is sorted grapes going into the all powerful crusher to make the juice.

Wine Fun

Harvest Time at the winery is fun but super hard work! This is an idea...
This was a day where we sorted 10 tons of grapes such as Merlot, Malbec and Cab franc. These are Merlot grapes. So the grapes go from the large Tupperware looking containers which have been picked by hand from the vine. Then they make the journey across a sorting table where all the yucky stuff is picked out by hand. By yucky stuff I mean anything from leaves to spiders. Some grapes get de-stemmed such as. Then individual grapes get to be crushed to make the beautiful juice to make wine!

Let's be honest... The pioneer woman ROCKS!

 Baked Shrimps
BBQ Meatballs

I can not and will not take credit for how amazing these to recipes are. Why!?! Because these recipes are found on thepioneerwoman.com. I have been following here from the beginning. In some ways I can say she taught me how to cook. Whenever I am stumped or want an amazing recipe that will always turn out I check out what the pioneer woman has to say. I might be one of her biggest fans and foody clones. I give you endless THANK YOU'S Ree Drummond!

Root beer Pulled Pork

Root Beer Pulled Pork
Once upon a time I called pulled pork "pushed pork".... The End.



 1 Pork roast/pork butt
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 8oz can chipotle  peppers (I use the sauce and not the peppers because the peppers make it to spicy for my liking)
1 bottle of Root beer
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
Seasoning: The cowboy McCormick or steak seasoning, salt and pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp liquid smoke

~Preheat the crock pot to low
~ Rub the pork with the seasonings then in a large skillet brown the pork on all sides
~Put the BBQ sauce, chipotle sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke in the blender and puree... check the spicy to sweet ratio at this point and adjust the seasoning to your liking
~Put the browned pork in the crock pot with onions and garlic
~Pour BBQ sauce mixture over that and then top with root beer until the pork is completely covered
~Low and slow for 6-8 hours
~ shred up the pork about twenty minutes before serving and then place back into the crock pot with that yummy liquid.

I served it on Hawaiian rolls with coleslaw.

October 29, 2013

Mama Lou's Ribs

Who doesn't love a good rack of ribs?! Well.. minus vegans.
I do a dry rub which I change every time I make it. So the recipe is still evolving. But it always has brown sugar, cumin, smoked paprika, white pepper, onion/garlic powder and that's where I start it. I marinate the ribs for 8 hours/overnight.
The same goes for my BBQ sauce... But on these bad boys I started with a whole bottle of sweet baby rays BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup apricot preserves, couple drops of liquid smoke, 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar and a roasted jalapeno chopped up, half an onion sauteed, 3 tablespoons minced garlic PUT all of this in the blender and blend baby blend. Taste test and taste test until you love it!

After marinating ribs wrap them tightly in heavy duty foil. Put on them on a roasting pan. Place on middle rack in oven. Roast at 275 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Flip ribs half way through.
Take ribs out of the oven and finish on the grill (out of the tin foil). Low to medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes to get a nice smoky char flavor. Basting with the BBQ sauce.

I served the ribs for the premiere of the walking dead! Yum zombie ribs! No rib dinner is complete without baked beans and corn bread.

Papas con chorizo

Papas con Chorizo is one of my comfort foods.You can serve it so many ways like tacos or breakfast Tostada's. But this way is my favorite way... In a big bowl with cilantro and green onion on top and maybe some sour cream. I just toasted up a quick tostada under the broiler and added some Salsa Verde to the top.


4  medium potatoes - I used medium red potatoes, peeled
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 minced garlic cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper & 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
3/4 lbs Spanish Chorizo sausage, casings removed, cut in 1/4 inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Chipotle seasoning or blackened Cajan seasoning
fresh parsley, green onion, cilantro chopped
Side note: mix sour cream and franks hot sauce together for a topping... So good.

~ Boil potatoes for about 20-25 minutes, until fork tender
~Drain, cool a little bit and then cut into 1/4 inch slices.
~Heat frying pan- Saute garlic, onion, bell pepper until softened and add seasoning
~Add chorizo and cook for about 8 minutes or until chorizo is cooked through
~Add the potatoes without mushing them up.Taste to season to how you like the spice.
Top with: parsley or cilantro or green onion or all of them. Top with sour cream or franks hot sauce for extra yum.
That easy. So yum!

Some veggies get a bad rap...

 I could eat roasted Brussel sprouts every day. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. To prepare them just rinse and cut the steams off, then cut them in half and remove the top leaf. Spread them out in a glass pan drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your liking. Every time I mix up the seasonings so it is to your liking (try: Italian seasoning, rosemary or lemon pepper). I like to add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the Brussels the most. Then I top with Parmesan cheese when they come out of the oven.
 OH OH lemony parsley cauliflower roasted! That is pretty much it. Add the juice of a fresh lemon, 1 tablespoon of lemon pepper, some fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil (1-2 tablespoons). Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Edamame!! I just take the frozen ones and put a little microwave safe bowl , add a little water and cover. Microwave for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to your liking and maybe a little soy sauce. So good and simple. Better than pop corn!

Pasta e Fagioli

 The basic soilders you will need for this dish. Sausage, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese are missing in action, don't worry just for the picture.
 In action... Yum!


1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 package of hot Italian sausage
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery, chopped
1 carton of low sodium chicken broth
1 can of diced tomatoes or/and 1 cup of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup of uncooked seashell pasta
1/2 cup (or more) Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans of cannelloni beans drained and rinsed
fresh minced parsley

~In a large pot SAUTE onion, carrot, celery, garlic in olive oil until softened then add sausage to brown. ADD seasoning.
~Add broth and tomatoes/sauce to pot
~Stir in beans, 1/4 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
~Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked to your liking. I add some fresh parsley at this point.
~Sprinkle each serving with cheese and fresh parsley if you like. I do because I really like cheese and sparsely.
I serve this with a simple salad but this time I roasted some yummy Brussel sprouts. Oh and lots of french bread for dipping!

Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

I had two large butternut squashes just hanging out and I could not figure out what to do with them. I thought soup... Nah... I thought just roast the dang things... Yum, but not enough wow factor. Lasagna... Whoa, great idea. This recipe showed me that butternut squash and sausage should always be friends. The flavors complement each other so well. I topped it with a little Alfredo sauce to up the saucy factor. I like sauce! I served the lasagna with roasted carrots and a simple Caesar salad.
Roast the butternut squash for about 50 minutes at 400 degrees. I coated the squash in olive oil, flesh side up, sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic powder. I cut the squash in quarters. Try to take the skin off the squash before you roast it, I did not comply with this step and I wish I had. Then after the squash is roasted I plopped it in the food processor and pureed it (adding just a pinch more salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic powder). 


about 3-4 cups butternut squash puree
4 cloves of garlic, minced and divided
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
heaping 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/2 tsp Black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp thyme 
3/4 lbs mild Italian sausage - Pan fry with 1/2 chopped yellow onion and 1/2 minced garlic
whole box of lasagna noodles (12 ish)
fresh Sage

~MIX ricotta, cheese, garlic, rosemary, pepper, thyme and cinnamon
~Preheat oven to 400 degrees
~13x9 glass pan, spread a little puree on the bottom of the pan then MIX the cooked sausage into the butternut squash puree.
~Add four noodles to the bottom of the pan then ADD the butternut/sausage mixture on top of the noodles. Then ADD a layer of noodles. Then add the ricotta mixture (it was thick so I just dolloped and carefully spread over the noodles). The repeat this process. I topped the final layer of noodles with half a jar of Alfredo sauce and a handful (or two) of Parmesan cheese.
~BAKE for 45 minutes