Friday, July 31, 2009

Backyard Creatures

We were out watering flowers after dinner (all-American burgers with bacon, lettuce, onion, tomato and cheese and fresh cuke salad) when I came across this little praying mantis. He was a fast one, but I got a few shots of him.

Fascinating little creature.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Warm Glow Candle Outlet Store and Webb's Antique Mall

A couple of weeks ago we took a day trip to Centerville to the Warm Glow Candle Outlet Store.

They have really nice candles and lots of other stuff such as wreaths, seasonal items, dishes, and every candle fragrance you can imagine. I bought some faux pumpkins (fall is my favorite season), some candles and a candle holder.

After that we drove to Webb's Antique Mall.

I found a bear that I used to have as a kid! I had to buy it! I wonder if it's mine from when I was little? I've never seen one of these in all of my years of antiquing. Isn't he cute?

Besides collecting Fiestaware, I also collect little porcelain dogs made in Japan from the 50s and 60s. I found this nice set for a bargain price of $4.95. I usually don't find them with the little dogs still attached to the larger dog. I love the thrill of the hunt! I'm definitely a junker:)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Dad's Sweet Corn

My Dad's Sweet Corn comes from a farm in nearby Tipton County, Indiana. They always have the best sweet corn around. We picked up a baker's dozen last Saturday at the Binford Farmer's Market.

For $6 you get about 15 or 17 or so ears, depending on the size of the ears. This last week's crop was the best so far this year.

I usually grill a few of them fresh. I take the kernels off the rest and freeze them for winter. Nothing beats local sweet corn when there's snow on the ground. It reminds you of summer!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Shrimp Creole and Black Beans

Boy, this was sooooo good. I could have thirds right now without hesitation.

Printable Recipe

For the creole shrimp:

  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 green pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vino seco or dry white wine
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed olives
  • 3 lbs large shrimp, shelled and deveined

1. In a small bowl, whisk the tomato sauce, salt, oregano, and cumin.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add garlic and green pepper. Stir, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

4. Deglaze using vino seco, stirring gently.

5. Add the tomato sauce mixture, bring to a summer, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add olive and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

6. Add the shrimp and cook for 5-6 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through, stirring occassionally and flipping shrimp halfway through.

7. Serve with sauce over rice.

For the black beans:

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, 4 of them crushed
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 t oregano
  • salt to taste
  • cumin to taste
  • 1/2 cup vino seco or dry white wine
  • 2 T red wine vinegar (optional)

1. Rinse the beans thoroughly and place in large covered pot. Add the water, cover, and let sit overnight or at least 6 hours.

2. Set stove to medium high and bring the beans to a boil. Add the green pepper half and onion half, and a whole garlic clove. Cover and reduce heat to low, and cook for 45-60 minutes or until beans have become tender.

3. In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onions and crushed garlic and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add chopped green pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.

5. Fold the onion/garlic/pepper mix into the beans and add oregano, bay leaf, salt, wine and cumin powder.

6. Cover and cook for another 30-45 minutes. If desired stir in vinegar late 10-15 minutes.

7. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve hot over rice

Oscar Meyer Wienermobile

Well, you just can't pass up the opportunity to see the wienermobile when it's in town.

The little fellow on the left was there getting his picture taken with a big ole dog. He also got a wiener whistle.

All I got was this picture, a peek inside, and an entry in their sweepstakes. If I win (and I will), the wienermobile will come park at our house on Labor Day and feed the whole block. That'd be alright by me!

PS: Anita rolled her eyes and called me nuts when I told her I was going to see the wienermobile.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Crabmeat Salad Sandwiches with Kicked Up Coleslaw

Even though these two recipes look similar when done, the tastes and textures are totally different. These are great summer dishes.

Both need to sit in the fridge before serving.

Printable Recipe

Crabmeat Salad Sandwich:

  • 1 lb crabmeat, flaked
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups mayo
  • 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • S & P

1. In a large bowl, combine the onion, green pepper, celery and crabmeat.

2. Mix well making sure the crabmeat is well flaked.

3. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, mayo, salad dressing, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper.

4. Pour the dressing mixture into the crab mix and toss lightly to combine. Note: I only added about 3/4 of the dressing, as the mix was the right consistency I was looking for. You may want to add a little at a time and taste to see if you should add more dressing or not.

5. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving on lightly toasted buns. You can also eat it as a salad.

Kicked Up Coleslaw:

  • 16 oz packaged shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 2 T sour cream
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • Hot sauce
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t celery salt
  • Pinch salt

1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.

2. Allow to sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Also great on burgers or BBQ sandwiches!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

When Life Gives You Blackberries...

We went to the Farmer's Market this morning and I picked up some beautiful blackberries. I made blackberry cobbler for tonight's dessert. It's an easy recipe and doesn't take long to make.

Easy Blackberry Cobbler:

  • 2T cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • Topping (see recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine water, sugar cornstarch, cinnamon and blackberries.

3. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Pour into casserole dish and cover with topping.


  • 1 cup homemade Bisquick (recipe below)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2T butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
1. Mix homemade Bisquick, sugar, butter and milk.

2. Spread out on floured board and put on top of the blackberry mixture.

3. Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Homemade Bisquick:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T shortening

1. Mix all ingredients.

2. Blend until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cucumber Salad

Nothing beats a really cold, fresh cucumber salad. We picked up a few fresh cukes at the farmer's market and sliced them on the new mandolin we bought a few weeks ago. That sure made it easier.

Printable Recipe

You'll need:

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 t vinegar
  • 1/2 t dill weed
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 medium cucumbers
  • 3 green onions, chopped

1. In a large bowl, combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt. Mix well.

2. Peel and slice cucumbers thin.

3. Chop green onions, stalks and all.

4. Add to bowl and toss.

5. Cover and chill at least one hour before serving.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brown County Historical Museum, Nashville, Indiana

Last time we were in Nashville, Indiana, we walked over to the Brown County History Museum, located on Old School Lane, near the courthouse.

The museum consists of 5 very old buildings, beginning with the Dog Trot Barn. Some of the logs used to make the barn are over 60 feet long.

One portion of the barn houses a loom room, where a nice lady showed us how they used to spin and weave.

Next we went to an old log cabin.

The blacksmith was quite entertaining. He showed us just how it used to be done!

Next, we went to an 1898 doctor's office that has been left just as it was the last day it was used.

Finally, we went to the old jail, which was really, really claustrophobic. The ceiling must have been only 4' high. There was also a jail on the second floor, along with a two-headed calf!

For $1.50, it was worth going thru the old buildings. The people that were there from the Brown County Historical Society were very nice and informative.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scrambled Eggs over Asparagus

At first this may seem like an odd combination, but slow scrambled eggs and roasted asparagus go very well together.

Printable Recipe

You'll need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t sea salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 T milk
  • 2 T butter

1. Preheat your oven to 425° F.

2. Lay the asparagus out on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes or until tips are browned and starting to crisp.

4. In a bowl, mix 6 eggs with milk and season with S & P. Beat mixture with whisk until well blended.

5. Melt butter in nonstick pan then add eggs and cook over low heat, stirring gently and constantly. Cook for about 20 minutes, always stirring.

6. To serve, lay asparagus out on plate and top with eggs.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Po Boy's BBQ Sauce

Good friend of mine sent me a bottle of Po Boy's sauce. Last Sunday, when I smoked up a bunch of chicken breasts, I decided to take one and dunk it in a bowl of the sauce.

Boy, was it good! Nice mustardy, vinegary sauce with a kick! Next time I smoke some wings, they're getting a good dose of Po Boys, along with my other favorite, Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce.

The boys that make it don't have a website just yet, but they included a pamphlet with the sauce that I've scanned in. Click on the images for a larger view. Ordering information is on either page.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hearts of Palm Salad

It was a great day here in Indy. The weather was perfect, mid 70s. Unusual for mid-July.

I fired up the smoker this morning. I put on 4 racks of spare ribs I trimmed to St. Louis style last night. I rubbed half of them down with some Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust and the other half with Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express. The first two racks were for our neighbors.

The rest of the space on the smoker went to 16 split chicken breasts I picked up on sale this morning. I rubbed them with some Dizzy Pig Jamaican Firewalk.

After about 2 hours (when they hit 165°) I took the chicken off the smoker to rest. We pulled the chicken meat and ground it slightly for smoked chicken salad sandwiches later this week. In the place of the chicken I put 3 Old Folks sausages. We ate a little sausage with dinner and froze the rest for use on nachos or omelets.

At the six hour mark I sauced the ribs. The neighbor's ribs were sauced with Stubb's Original and Texas Rib Rangers Spicy Sauce. Our ribs got slathered with Russ & Frank's Fiery and some Russ & Frank's Sassy sauce. I also put 2 cobs of My Dad's Sweet Corn on the Weber grill, in the husk.

The neighbor's girls came over and picked up their ribs. I then put together a simple side salad to have with our ribs and corn.

Printable Recipe

  • 1 14 oz can (or better, fresh) of hearts of palm, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 Haas avocado, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T fresh orange juice
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • S & P
Note: Cut the hearts of palm on a bias for a little better presentation.

1. Arrange the hearts of palm, tomato and avocado on a platter.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Dinner was great. The ribs were so juicy and tender, they melted in our mouths. The corn was so good, so sweet, and the salad was cold and refreshing.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

We made this last night and it really came out good. It was a cool summer evening here, down into the 50s, so this hit the spot.

Printable Recipe


  • 3-4 chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t thyme
  • S & P
  • 16 oz potato gnocchi
  • 1 T cornstarch (optional)

1. Saute the onion, celery, garlic and carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.

2. Add chicken, chicken stock, half and half, salt and pepper and thyme. Heat to boiling then add gnocchi. Gently boil for 4 minutes, then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.

4. Optional: Heat to boiling and add cornstarch dissolved in 1-2 T water at this point if you want a thicker soup.

5. Serve!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jungle Jim's International Market, Fairfield, Ohio

Although it's about an hour and a half drive, we love going to Jungle Jim's. They are located on the north side of Cincinnati. They have an amazing selection of international foods, produce, cheeses, and meats... everything imaginable. According to their website they have over 150,000 products from over 75 countries, all in a 300,000 square foot building. It really is awesome if you're a foodie!

How can you go wrong with a grocery store that has concrete giraffes and rhinos out front? Unfortunately, Jungle Jim's doesn't allow picture taking inside, so I had to link to some of their published photos.

This is the Indian food section, which is one of the largest.

You'll find interesting characters everywhere. This is the British food section.

One of my favorite sections is the hot sauce area. They have over 1400 hot sauces. Here's the owner standing by the display, appropriately topped with an old fire engine.

Whatever you could want, they have it, including an amazing fresh produce area that had many things we'd never seen before.

If you're near Cincinnati, you have to stop by Jungle Jim's. And make sure you go in their famous bathrooms!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Andouille corndogs with hot and spicy hush puppies

It was brown food night last night, and boy was it good! Sometimes you just have to be bad!

We made some andouille corndogs and hot and spicy hush puppies that were just out of this world. And even better, they were super easy to make!

Printable Recipe

Andouille Corndogs

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t Creole seasoning
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 T vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 8 andouille (or smoked) sausages
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 8 thick wooden skewers
  • 3/4 cup Creole mustard, for dipping

1. In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, Creole seasoning and cayenne.

2. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and 2 tablespoons of the oil and stir to combine. The batter will be lumpy.

3. In a large pot, add enough oil for deep frying and heat to 360 degrees.

4. Place cornstarch in a shallow pan and dredge andouille, rolling to coat. Spear the links with the skewers lengthwise and dip into batter, rolling to coat evenly.

5. Slip in the coated corndogs into the heated oil slowly. Allow to cook 3-5 minutes, turning often. Drain on paper towels.

6. Serve hot with Creole mustard for dipping.

Hot and Spicy Hush Puppies

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat deep fryer or oil to 375 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl to form a thick batter.

3. Dip a tablespoon into water and then into the batter. Scoop up the batter and slowly drop into the hot oil. Work in batches, with just a few hush puppies cooking at a time (make sure they do not touch). Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, turning often.

4. Remove cooked hush puppies and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Backyard Critters

Look who visited tonight! He found the cat food Mike dumped in the yard. There were two of them, but the other one ran into the woods. I was surprised to find them together since foxes are usually solitary animals. Enjoy the pics!

Sweet Potato and Nut Chips

I'm not sure I'd call these chips since they don't crisp up (they are fork tender), but they are still good. I just realized my camera has been on the wrong setting so the picture didn't come out well. That at least explains why my last few pics have been blurry. Doh!

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and partially cooked
  • 8 T (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup honey-roasted peanuts, chopped
  • Salt
1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Line large baking sheets with foil; lightly grease.

3. Slice potatoes to 1/4" thickness. Dip in melted butter and arrange on baking sheet so that the chips do not overlap. Sprinkle with peanuts.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Note: The picture above was after 20 minutes. Some of the nuts started to blacken. You may want to check the chips every minute after 15 minutes has elapsed to make sure you don't overcook them as I did.

5. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fiesty Hot Dog with Chipotle Potato Salad

Oh, my was this good! Too bad the picture didn't come out as great as the food.

Printable Recipe

The hot dog is your usual grilled beef frank, but it is topped with an awesome, but simple, relish.
  • 2 Kosher dill pickles, chopped (we used homemade dills)
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 T chopped onion
  • 2 T yellow mustard (or slightly less depending on your tastes)
1. Mix all ingredients.

2. Grill hot dogs and top with mixture.

3. Can be made ahead of time. Refrigerate.

The potato salad is kicked up with chipotles and black beans. It is a nice change to your standard potato salad recipe.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 T fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2-4 chipotle chiles in adobo, (deseeded if you wish) and diced finely
  • 1 T sugar
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked very crisp. Reserve 1 slice for garnish
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 8 medium red potatoes, cooked, cooled and diced
  • S & P
1. Mix first 7 ingredients (red bell pepper thru sugar) together.

2. Toss in remaining ingredients except bacon garnish and S & P.

3. Mix well.

4. Add S & P to taste.

5. Top with reserved bacon. Chill and serve.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chili Rice

This recipe is somewhat like a dirty rice. It is very good, and leaves the house smelling great for hours!

Printable Recipe

  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 2 T garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, dices
  • 3/4 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 8 oz kidney beans (I used a 15.5 oz can)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 3 T green onion, sliced, for garnish

1. In medium stock pock over medium heat, add oil, onions and peppers and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, tomatoes and ground beef. Cook until meat is browned.

2. Add rice to the mixture and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, coating rice with the oils from the pan. Add beans, chicken stock, water and seasonings, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.

3. Fluff with fork and garnish with green onions.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Brown County Winery, Nashville, Indiana

Whenever we are in Brown County, we always stop by the Brown County Winery.

They have two locations: one in downtown Nashville, Indiana and one on highway 46 in between Nashville and Columbus, Indiana. When on 46, the winery is easy to find. Their downtown Nashville location is east on Main Street, off of Van Buren.

We stopped in for a few tastings, and as always ended up buying several bottles. We tend to prefer drier wines, so we bought some Chambourcin, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Autumn Red. My favorite has always been their Seyval Blanc, but I have several bottles of it still left from our last trip so I didn't need any more. They do offer multiple bottle and case discounts.

Next time we go we'll take a tour of the wine making facility, which is at the highway 46 location.

On the way out of the winery and on to Nashville, we passed this great sign for a wedding nearby.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nashville, Indiana

Last week we were in Nashville, Indiana for a few days of relaxation and shopping. My folks drove up from Augusta, Georgia and stayed with us at the Brown County Inn.

Nashville is a great little place with lots of quaint little shops.

We have our favorites, like the sock store, popcorn store, the glass blowers, or the handmade ice cream shop.

The town has done a good job of keeping the shopping district rustic. The place is usually packed on weekends.

You can find pretty much anything you're looking for.

S & H Green Stamps... do those still exist? I remember those from years and years ago.

Nashville is about 1 hour out of Indy. Always worth the drive. During the fall the place is wall-to-wall people coming to town to enjoy the changing leaves.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

This is a great summer salad. Serve cold, and make sure to let it marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours before serving.

Printable Recipe

  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 2 T chopped green onions
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 t sugar (or Splenda)
  • S & P
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained
1. Combine the first 6 ingredients and peas in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.

3. Pour liquid mixture over peas and stir.

4. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brown County Inn, Nashville, Indiana

We recently returned from a vacation to Nashville, Indiana. It is our favorite spot in the state. We usually go there 5-6 times a year. We've always stayed in the Brown County Inn.

The Brown County Inn is an older, rustic hotel. The grounds are well-maintained. The inn is about a block from downtown Nashville, an artist's colony. Nashville has several hundred little shops, many containing artwork from local artists.

There are several good restaurants in town, but we often end up eating at the hotel. They have decent food, although it is a little pricey. Sunday morning they have an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet that is usually pretty good.

The inn is close enough to town that you could walk, or you can catch the 'train' (really a bus) to town.

They have a big indoor pool that we love. There is also a small game room. They have one of those games where you use a claw to pick up toys. We are crazy nuts about it. This is the only place we play it. We have hundreds of toys from it. This year we will bag them all up and donate them to local kids for the holidays.

Besides the pool and arcade they have shuffleboard, horseshoes, miniature golf and a playground.

The 9-hole putt-putt course is a favorite of ours. It is nothing fancy, but several of the holes are very challenging. It doesn't hurt that the bar/lounge is nearby. Drinks are allowed outside in plastic cups.

There are 99 rooms at the inn. They could use a little updating, but only if they were to keep the rustic feel. They do have free wireless internet access in most areas.

We've been pondering staying elsewhere, like maybe renting a cabin in the woods, but we always end up at the Brown County Inn. The pool, the restaurant, the location and the games just keep bringing us back.

Brown County Inn
51 St. Rd. 46 E.
Nashville, IN 47448