Remembering Ghost

Today we had to put Ghost to sleep. We were lucky enough to have him as part of the family for the last 4 years. Before then, he was just a stray that was starting to hang around the house. We thought, “What is a pretty boy like you doing out on the streets?”. He was always kind of dirty when he showed up but we could see how beautiful he was. Over the course of the next 6 months or so, we slowly gained his trust. It was wonderful when he decided to trust us. We were doing yard work and he kept following us around, shortly thereafter we got him neutered and he became part of the inside family. At first he didn’t seem to know what to do with being inside. He didn’t know how to play with toys and was leery of being too close to the other cats. After a couple of weeks, he adjust to this new way of life and started to relax. He was almost always a sweet boy and he got along well with every cat except one. When we would come home, he’d love to greet us at the door and do stallion rears so we would pet him, he was always affectionate with us. He gave us almost 4 years of wonderful memories and for that we are grateful. We’ll never know how old he was but we hope that these last 4 years were the best years of his life. Here are some of our favorite pictures of him:

Smoky Marinade

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari (we used reduced-sodium tamari)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. liquid smoke (optional) (we used hickory liquid smoke)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil (we used extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Take a medium-sized bowl out and mix all the ingredients together in it. This can be used right away or stored in the fridge for up to five days. You can also freeze the marinade for up to a month.

You can taste the sweetness in this as well as the smokiness. We like using this to marinate tofu in (as seen in the second picture).

We got this recipe from the “The Edgy Veg” cookbook.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote The Edgy Veg cookbook.

Take care everybody !

Easy Sesame-Hoisin Salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (we used light brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2  tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 4 (6-oz.) salmon fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced green onions

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take a baking dish (we used a 13- x 9-inch baking dish) and spray the inside of it with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients together until combined. Place the salmon in the baking dish (we put ours in skin-side down), sprinkling the salt over the fillets afterwards. Pour the sauce over the salmon and stick the dish in the oven for 15 minutes, basting occasionally (we basted around every 5 minutes). Sprinkle the green onions over the salmon and eat right away.

This really is an easy dish to make. It’s sweet and has some heat to it. We didn’t taste the sesame oil really but we enjoyed the other flavors a lot !

We got this recipe from Cooking Light.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cooking Light.

Take care everybody !

Fresh Blackberry Granita

Ingredients

  • 2 (6-ounce each) containers fresh blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place the blackberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan, turning the heat up to medium-high. Once boiling, turn the heat down low enough so that it’s simmering for 10 to 15 minutes or until the blackberries have softened. Take the saucepan off the heat and lightly mash the blackberries until they’re broken down.
  2. Take a fine-mesh sieve and place it over a large bowl. Pour the blackberry mixture through the sieve, throwing away any solids. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining water. Take a metal 13 x 9-inch baking pan and pour the mixture into it, placing the pan in the freezer afterwards. Scrape the surface and edges with a fork every 45 minutes for 3 to 4 hours or until the mixture is completely frozen and there’s no liquid left. Garnish each portion with a lemon peel if you want to.

This is such a nice treat to enjoy in the summer. It’s sweet but not overly sweet and you can taste a little bit of the lemon juice at the end of the bite. It’s a very eye-catching dessert. A nice treat to have while the blackberries are still in season !

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Spicy Cola Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 (2 ½-pound) racks baby back ribs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 (12-ounce) can cola (we used caffeine-free coca-cola)
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup, divided
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 teaspoons hot sauce, divided (we used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Take a 6-quart slow cooker out and spray the inside of it with cooking spray.
  2. Take a sharp knife and pierce the thin membrane found on the back of the ribs, peeling it away to remove and throw away afterwards. Cut each rack in half. Brush the ribs with 2 tablespoons of the oil, seasoning them with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
  3. Take a cast-iron skillet or grill pan (we used a 12-inch skillet) and brush the inside of it with the last of the oil, preheating the skillet over medium-high heat afterwards. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the ribs in batches for 3 minutes per side or until browned all over (we did one rack at a time). The original recipe says you may or may not need to adjust the heat while browning. Once browned, stack the ribs in the slow cooker.
  4. Take a medium-sized mixing bowl out and whisk together the following ingredients until combined: the cola, 1 cup ketchup, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce. Measure out 1 cup of the cola sauce and leave it off to the side for now. Pour what’s left of the sauce over the ribs, turning them so all of them get coated all over. Put a lid on the slow cooker and let it cook for 3 ½ hours on HIGH or 7 hours on LOW or until the ribs are tender (we cooked ours on LOW), rearranging the ribs halfway through the cook time (we switched the top and bottom pieces and switched places with the middle two).
  5. Take the ribs out of the slow cooker and place them on a cutting board. Measure out 1 cup of the cooking liquid for the next step.
  6. Take a large saucepan out and add to it the 1 cup of cooking liquid, that 1 cup of cola sauce you reserved, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, remaining ½ cup ketchup, remaining 2 teaspoons hot sauce, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Turn the heat up to medium-high and wait for it to come to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down so it’s simmering for 5 minutes. Serve on or with the ribs.

Serves 4.

These were so tender ! If you don’t like your ribs that saucy then these still taste good just from cooking in the slow cooker, they have a little sweetness to them thanks to the cola sauce. If you use the sauce at the end though, it really takes the flavor up a notch ! It turns it into a “lick your fingers clean” type of goodness ! The sauce is sweet and tangy and has just a little bit of heat at the end. It’s nice having a recipe for ribs that you can enjoy even when the weather’s crappy.

We got this recipe from Taste of the South.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Coca-Cola, Frank’s Red Hot or Taste of  the South.

Take care everybody !

Fire And Ice Pickles

Ingredients

  • 1 quart dill pickle chips (we used a 32 oz. jar of Heinz Hamburger Dill Chips)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup hot sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot)  (we used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Measure out 1 cup of the pickle juice from the jar, putting it off to the side for now. Discard any remaining juice. Place the pickle chips in a colander and drain them, rinsing them afterwards with cold water 3 times.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir the sugar, hot sauce, garlic, cayenne pepper, and the 1 cup of pickle juice together until combined. Place the pickle chips back in their original jar, pouring the sugar mixture over the pickles afterwards. Put the lid back on the jar, and let it chill for 3 days before serving.

Oh my god these are some of the best pickle chips you’ll ever have. These are so delicious you’ll want to eat them like potato chips ! You got spiciness, acidity which gives it that wonderful tang, and there’s some sweetness and it’s wonderful having the heat while the chips are still cold. The garlic is a nice background flavor. Perhaps the only downside is that the flavors are muted when combined with a burger. Perhaps it’s best you put a portion on your plate and put the jar away before you start eating them, otherwise you’ll probably have people mad at you for eating half the jar !

This recipe came from “the South’s Best Butts”.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Frank’s Red Hot, Heinz or “the South’s Best Butts”.

Take care everybody !

Key Lime Slab Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Key lime zest
  • 1 ½ cups fresh lime juice (we used Key lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed (we used Cool-Whip)
  • Garnish: lime slices

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Take a large mixing bowl out and mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in it until thoroughly combined. Take a rimmed 15 x 10-inch baking sheet out and press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides.
  3. Stick the sheet in the oven to bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Let cool completely.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the following ingredients until combined: condensed milk, eggs, lime zest, lime juice, vanilla and salt. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes (it’ll start to thicken during this time). Pour the mixture into the crust, spreading it out evenly.
  5. Stick the pan back in the oven for 10 minutes or until the mixture sets. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Loosely cover the dish and place it in the fridge so it’ll be cold before serving, anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days. Just before you’re ready to eat, spread the whipped topping on and garnish with a lime if you want.

A great dessert but can’t eat a lot at one time. It’s tart (pucker power !) and sweet at the same time. It’s nice to have the contrasting textures of the smooth filling and crunchy crust. We used Key lime juice to keep the pie true to its name. We never timed it, but by the time we got the juice needed from the Key limes, mommy and I had swimmers fingers, they were so wrinkled up ! We suppose you could use regular limes to speed up the process of getting the juice.

This recipe came from Cooking With Paula Deen.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cool-Whip or Cooking With Paula Deen.

Take care everybody !