This year in Aruba we have multiple guests arriving. I guess we talked about it so much they finally bit the bullet and said yes.
Two of them are terrified of flying. It should be interesting to get them back on the ground. Hopefully all will go well and they will have a great flight.
The guys all love to fish so I know a fishing trip is planned. Sounds like the girls wanted to be part of it too. As for me, poolside is fine. It’s a definite that we go island exploring. So many things to see, the natural bridge, the tidal pool, Casibari Rock, and the many beaches. Beach time is always great here; the beaches are magnificent.
Over the next month I want to highlight the restaurants here and show you the sights. This may be a place you love. It might be a place you’ve yet to visit. We can’t say enough about how wonderful Aruba and it’s people are. You don’t have to take my word for it. COME TO ARUBA!!!!!!
Til next time,
Vacationing for an extended period? Renting a home? Get tired of eating out? Here’s a quick and inexpensive meal, that is full of flavor. It’s not just for vacation. It’s also a great meal when you get home from work. I know the feeling. All you want to do is relax and get dinner over with. Right???!!!
We immediately went to the grocery when we arrived in Aruba. The food and restaurants here are amazing. Everything edible is treated with such reverence. I must admit though, there are times when I just want to cook and stay in. Chicken is so versatile and affordable. This is actually all done on a sheet pan. All you have to do is prep the veggies, throw them onto the pan. Top the vegies with chicken and roast.
I used boneless, skinless, chicken legs cut into large pieces. While I’m not usually a leg fan, this was pretty darn good. I would have preferred boneless skinless thighs. Alas, none were to be found in the grocery we were in. I used red skinned potatoes, carrots, chopped garlic and green onions for my vegetables. Everything was heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. I used olive oil to help with the roasting. I also added some white wine for flavor.
My husband kept saying “oh my” and eating all the while. To say the least, it was a warm, comforting, meal. So easy to fix while on vacation or at home. Use any chicken parts you like. You could also use any combination of vegetables. Sweet potatoes are particularly good in this dish. In fact, root vegetables in general are excellent.
You don’t have to wait for vacation to enjoy this one; it’s good any time. It’s a great, easy, meal for company or guests as well.
OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN AND VEGGIES
- Potatoes, cut in half, large slices
- Carrots, peeled and slice on the diagonal about 2 inches
- Green onions, large slices cut on the diagonal (you can use any amount)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, large dice
- Boneless, skinless, chicken parts (any amount needed)
- 1/4 to 1/2 C white wine
- Olive oil, enough to drizzle over the veggies and chicken to aid in roasting
- 1 Tbsp dried rosemary, can use fresh as well to taste
- Generous amounts of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Set the oven to 375.
- Prepare all the vegetables and place them on a sheet pan.
- Generously salt and pepper and sprinkle over the rosemary. Drizzle olive oil all over and the white wine. Using your hands toss until everything is well coated.
- Clean your chicken pieces and generously salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over the pieces and rub in with your hands. Put on top of the vegetables.
- Bake in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is completely cooked.
- To serve, place a good amount of vegetables on your dish and top with the chicken.
Til next time
Well…..I find myself in sunny Aruba again. This is where ATBB first started 2 years ago. Football playoffs are on so we are hanging out at the old hacienda today.
I’m not as enthused with Football as my husband. The Baltimore Ravens made it; they are playing the Chargers today. So in support of our local team I am logging a little bit of time. Since the TV is in the kitchen / sitting area I decided to bake and watch.
I am a big fan of my Kitchen-Aide mixer when it comes to making dough. Unfortunately, there isn’t one here. So what’s a baker to do??? Make it by hand of course. Yes, old school, kneading from beginning to end. It was actually kind of fun. It yields 2 loaves so I will have one for our guests arrival.
It has basic ingredients. All purpose flour, yeast, salt, water, oil, and a sweetener. I love using honey in bread. It gives it a nice mellow sweetness. You could use sugar if you like. Just remember, yeast loves sugar. Sweet is essential for the rising process to occur. I used olive oil because that’s what I had. You could use vegetable or canola or any oil of your choice. They all work!
The first rise takes place in a greased bowl. The dough is then divided in half and shaped into a loaf. The second rise takes place in two greased loaf pans. I put it in the oven with the oven light on. Cover it with a lint free towel. Dough loves warm places, free of drafts.
Once the loaves have doubled in bulk it’s time to bake them. Bake for 30-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. When done they should sound hollow when tapped with your finger and golden in color.
That’s it! Go bake some bread. The biggest challenge will be waiting long enough to let it cool to eat. You’ll be tempted to never buy store-bought bread again.
BASIC WHITE BREAD
- 2 1/4 C warm water (110-115 degrees) if you aren’t sure use a thermometer
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp honey, or sugar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt, or sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, or oil of choice
- 6-7 C of all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. (if if is too hot it will kill the yeast. It can be cooler, it will just take longer for it to bloom.)
- With a wooden spoon add 3 C of flour the sugar, and the salt. Beat well until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour a cup at a time until if forms a soft dough.
- Flour a surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour if it is sticky. Continue to knead until it is no longer sticky and when you poke the dough and make an indent it should spring back immediately. Form into a ball and place into a well-greased bowl, turning over once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
- Once doubled, punch straight down into the center of the dough with your fist. Turn out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each into a loaf and place each in a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with a lint free towel and let rise until doubled again, about 40-50 minutes.
- Bake the loaves at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves from the pans to a wire rack to cool.
This also freezes well. Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again in aluminum foil. When ready to use just remove it from the freezer and let it thaw to room temperature in the wrapping.
Til next time
A new year is before us. There are endless opportunities and possibilities and a fresh start! I’m sure most of you have traditions for the day; I certainly do. For me it’s a time of reflection and the memories made. It’s being thankful for what I have. It’s about the people in my life that matter. I want to spend my time wisely and not worry about the things I can not change. I want to be worthy of the life I have been given.
We are once again going to Aruba in January. It’s our favorite place to be. This year we have some new travelers coming to stay with us. We truly will be spending the New Year with the people we love, the people who matter most. Family and good friends, I can’t think of a better way to start 2019. Before we go, there are other traditions that need attention.
Once the New Year rings in I turn off the lights on my Christmas trees. They are dismantled in the morning and put away until next Christmas. A daunting chore but necessary. I am reminded by each ornament of time gone by. Some remind me of happy times. Some remind me of people who are no longer here. They are like a picture album full of memories. I cherish each and every one.
I also make a pot of black-eyed pea soup and some homemade bread. Black-eyed peas are said to bring good luck when eaten New Years Day. Who am I to argue?? My Grandmothers and my Mother always made it. It’s a tradition I like to carry on. It’s also pretty tasty and healthy.
I like to make mine in the Crock-Pot. You can easily convert it to your Instant Pot or stove-top. If you use the Crock-Pot or IP you don’t have to soak the beans. Just rinse and sort them to make sure they are free of any stone or debris. The stove-top requires soaking them in water over-night.
I always have a fresh ham on Christmas. I save the bone and put that in the pot with the beans. It gives it a nice flavor. You could use bacon, a beef bone, chopped ham, or leave it out all together. I like to live by the “waste not, want not” theory. So in the pot the ham bone goes. You can also add chopped tomatoes and kale. It’s soup; make it yours!
[recipe title = “BLACK EYED PEA SOUP” serving = “6-8” time = “8 hours” difficulty = “easy”]
- 72.5 oz chicken broth
- 16 oz package of dry black-eyed peas
- 1 ham bone (optional) (can use diced ham or other meat of choice if desired)
- 4 medium carrots, 1 inch dice
- 2 stalks celery, 1 inch dice
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- OPTIONAL: chopped kale, canned tomatoes. (If using tomatoes, add them to the pot the last 15 minutes of cooking)
- Place all the ingredients in your Crock-Pot except for the tomatoes if using.
- Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.
NOTE: if using canned tomatoes, (I like fire roasted), add them to the pot 15 minutes before the cooking time is up. Give it a good stir.
Whatever your traditions are I wish you Happy New Year. Thanks for reading my thoughts and leaving comments. It’s nice to know someone is out there. Have a wonderful 2019.
Til next time
Well, another Christmas has come and gone. It is my favorite time of year. I’m always a little sad when it ends. I truly love everything about it.
We had a lot of events to attend this year. My birthday is in December and I got treated to a Transiberian Concert in Hershey, PA.; it was amazing. We always have an annual Christmas party at our house. There is a dirty Santa ornament exchange that can get pretty intense, but lots of fun. There are multiple parties to go to as well. It all happens and ends too fast for me!
We attended our last party on the 23rd at a friend’s house. Lots of great food, including oysters, smoked duck, and all kinds of goodies. My contribution was potato, sausage, and kale soup. I also made some homemade bread. EGG BREAD or CHALLAH
This recipe came about because of a soup my husband had at Olive Garden, Zuppa Toscana. He asked me to come up with a recipe for it; so I did. I have to admit, it went over very well at the party. I was asked to give out the recipe and I’m happy to oblige.
Give this one a try. You’ll be glad you did. If you’re a Weight Watcher this soup comes in at 4 PP per 1 cup serving.
POTATO, SAUSAGE, AND KALE SOUP
- 8 oz lean Italian turkey sausage, removed from the casing
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 medium onion, fine dice
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 slice bacon, diced
- 4 C fat-free milk, reserve 1 C to the side
- 2 C water
- 2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
- 8 oz red skin potato, sliced thin (I use a mandolin)
- 2 C kale, cleaned, medium chop
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Splash of Sherry
- salt and pepper to taste
- nutmeg, freshly grated
- In a 5-6 quart soup pot brown the turkey sausage, breaking it up as it cooks with a spoon or spatula. Drain and remove it from the pan, and place it on paper towels to remove any excess grease. Wipe the pan with a paper towel.
- Add the canola oil to the same pan. Saute the onions and bacon. Cook until the onion is softened and the bacon is cooked.
- Add the grated garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Pour 3 cups of the milk and 2 cups of water into the pan. Add the chicken bouillon granules and bring to a simmer. (DO NOT BOIL) Add the potatoes and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- With the remaining cup of flour, add the flour and whisk, set aside.
- Add the sausage back to the pot and the kale and continue to simmer another 10 minutes.
- Add the milk and flour mixture and continue to cook until it is slightly thickened.
- Add the splash of Sherry
- Taste and season with salt and pepper
- Grate a small amount of fresh nutmeg, be careful not to add too much it can over power your soup. It will enhance the flavor of the kale.
- Serve immediately. Very good with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Til next time
When exploring healthy options and lower carbohydrate recipes I discovered radishes. Yes, that’s correct, radishes. I only used to use them for color in my fresh salads and a little heated bite. I’ve made radish roses for decoration on a crudite’ plate. I never thought of cooking them and using them as a potato substitute.
The French use them as a nibble with sweet butter and salt and a nice baguette. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has a recipe you can find on the web. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/radishes-with-butter-and-salt-recipe2-1945613. While I like them this way, cooking them has been a revelation.
My dear friend at http://thecoastalcrushstyle.com/ sent me an article about weight gain. It got me thinking about carbs and how I could eliminate them. The article was actually very good. You should give it a read! Check it out on Instagram. (see references below)
I love hash browns. Who am I kidding; I love potatoes. One of my favorite breakfast meals is a frittata. I use Ore Ida’s Potatoes O’Brien for that dish and it’s amazing. That is actually where I got this idea from. I must admit, it made me very happy this morning.
I took a large bag of radishes and peeled them. Then I boiled them until they were just easily pierced with a knife. I strained them and returned to the hot pan, off the burner so it would help absorb the moisture. Once they were cooled I diced them into a small dice. I added some banana peppers from our garden and a bit of diced onion. So this morning Radish Browns were born.
You will want to make sure your diced radishes are dry. The drier they are the less time it will take to brown them. Keep an eye on them and turn them several times to prevent burning and sticking. The end result is wonderful.
I topped mine with some cracked eggs and stuck the pan under the broiler. I broiled it until the egg whites were set and the yolks were still slightly runny. Watch it carefully, it only takes a few seconds. Of course if you don’t like runny eggs, leave it under the broiler until they suit you.
When radishes are cooked they take on a potato flavor. You can also roast or bake them. It’s one of those vegies that has a surprising flavor when they are prepared differently. Don’t take my word for it; give this one a try!
RADISH BROWNS AND OVEN BAKED EGGS
- 16 oz whole radishes, peeled
- 4-5 banana peppers, seeded and sliced (can use any type pepper you like)
- 1/4 medium onion, large dice
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 4 eggs
- Boil the peeled radishes for about 5-8 minutes or until a knife inserted pierces the flesh easily.
- Drain and return to the hot pan off the burner to absorb some of the moisture.
- Let cool and dice into cubes, as for hash browns.
- In a medium skillet that is oven-proof, add the olive oil and heat over med-high heat.
- Add the radishes, peppers, and onions and cook until the radishes begin to brown. Turn occasionally so they don’t burn and brown throughout.
- Once browned, season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the mixture flat and crack 4 eggs in different areas over the top.
- Place under the broiler until the eggs are set to the desired doneness.
Note: you can also, whip the eggs and add a bit of milk, and cheese and pour over the top instead of the cracked eggs.
A bit of fresh chopped basil would be good on top with any style egg.
Til next time,