31 December 2008

Recipe: Seafood Stuffed Bell Peppers

Here's another typical Louisiana favorite comfort food dish. This recipe comes from the famous restaurant of Mike Anderson's in Baton Rouge.

Seafood-Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 6 - 8.


3 - 4 green bell peppers, whole

3/4 cup chopped yellow onions

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 Tablespoons minced fresh garlic

2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter/margarine

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 pound crawfish tails, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup cooked white rice

2 1/2 Tablespoons chopped green onions


Grated Parmesan cheese


Cut bell peppers in half, removing seeds.

Boil until slightly tender. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, slowly saute yellow onions, celery and garlic in butter.

Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes over low heat. Stir frequently.

Add salt and pepper. Stir.

Add mushroom soup and crawfish tails.

Cook 8 minutes or until creamy.

Add rice and green onions. Stir well.

Fill each pepper half with stuffing.

Sprinkle paprika and Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake 20 minutes at 450 degree F., serving hot! Enjoy!

Note: If you are in a part of America or another country where crawfish tails cannot be easily found, maybe too expensive, just substitute small shrimp - equally tasty!

Photo by turtlemom4bacon @ flickr of a stuffed bell pepper with ground meat

Note: For other recipes visit my other fun blog –
Romancing The Chocolate

30 December 2008

Recipe: Turnip Greens Casserole

Southerners have a love affair with greens! It's no wonder since greens contain a lot of minerals and are HIGH in calcium. Turnip greens are quite good if they are cooked with a smokey meat as flavoring. That leftover Christmas ham or ham bone is a good candidate for cooking greens, especially fresh greens when you can find them.

This recipe uses canned turnip greens. A wonderful brand - if it is in your area - is the Glory brand. Around our house we jokingly call it the Hallelujah! brand. These people know what they are doing as anything by them is awesome straight out of the can; you don't have to doctor a thing as there is plenty of good seasoning. Try looking on the internet for a source if you can't find this brand. It really is awesome and they do many kinds of vegetables besides greens.

Eating greens are done for good luck in the New Year. Why not add another version in the form of an easy casserole to your recipe box?

Turnip Greens Casserole

Serves 4 to 6.

From - Shall We Gather: Recipes & Remembrances of a River Town


2 large (14 oz.) cans turnip greens or kale

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 eggs beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 to 1 cup saltine cracker crumbs

1 cup (4 ozs.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese


Combine the turnip greens, soup, mayonnaise, vinegar, horseradish, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.

Spoon the turnip greens mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle with the cracker crumbs and cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer or until the cheese melts.

Note: You may substitute 4 cups drained cooked FRESH turnip greens for the canned ones.

For your copy of this cookbook, Shall We Gather: Recipes & Remembrances of a River Town, go to http://www.trinitywetumpka.org/cookbook.

Or you can call (334) 567 - 7534.

Cost is $26.95, which includes postage and handling.

Published by Trinity Episcopal Church
5375 U. S. 231
Wetumpka, Alabama 36092-3168

Note: For other recipes visit my other fun blog –
Romancing The Chocolate

29 December 2008

Recipe: Country Captain - chicken

This dish has remained popular in Louisiana since the 1940's when then President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced it was his most favorite dish after having tasted it while traveling in the South, notably Columbus, Georgia. It was developed by the cook, Arie Mullins, for the physician who hosted the President.

FDR often went to The Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia for treatments for his polio and as a general retreat. When we lived in Georgia my husband and I visited this Warm Springs site; the small scale of the place as well as the humble cabins is quite surprising considering the dignataries who joined him.

For those who don't know this dish is basically a very glorified chicken stew with curry seasoning. “Country-captain” is an expression in Bengal, the name of a particular dry kind of curry, often served as a breakfast dish. We might imagine it was a favorite dish at the table of the skippers of ‘country ships,’ and they in turn were called ‘country captains.’ Legend has it that the dish was brought to Georgia by a British sea captain who had once served in the Bengal area of India.

Country Captain

Serves 8 - 10

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons, salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 (3-1/2 lbs.) chickens, cut into serving pieces

3 Tablespoons oil (I prefer canola oil)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2 cups chopped red Bermuda or Vidalia sweet onions

2 cups chopped green/red/yellow bell pepper (all are good!)

1 cup chopped celery

1 bay leaf

1 Tablespoon curry powder (I like Sharwood's brand, the mild curry version)

1/2 teaspoon ground dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes/cayenne pepper powder (we like the cayenne pepper)

1 Tablespoon minced garlic (I usually triple the garlic amount)

6 cups canned, whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed with their juice
(Plunge into a huge bowl of these tomatoes and squeeze and crush with your hands. Keep your hands under the juice level and it won't squirt all over you! Definitely a messy process!)

1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 cup dried currants

Steamed brown or white rice for serving (we like brown rice)

6 ounces toasted slivered almonds for garnish

Combine the flour, paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper in large, shallow dish and stir to blend. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, coating evenly. Shake off any excess. Set aside.

Heat the oil and 1 Tablespoon butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in batches until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain. Set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon butter to the saucepan and add the onions, bell peppers, celery, bay leaf, curry powder, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, chickenn stock, brown sugar and the remaining teaspoon salt. Stir to blend, then reduce heat to medium. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, but not falling off the bones, about 50 minutes. Add the currants and cook 10 minutes longer. Serve over steamed rice. Garnish with toasted almonds. Yum!

Note: For other recipes visit my other fun blog –
Romancing The Chocolate

Photo by Bill Feig

28 December 2008

Recipe: New Year's Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

Looking for an interesting soup to cook on New Year's Day? From our friends over at Whole Foods Market comes this New Year's Day special soup that tradition believes brings good luck in the new year to us!

Serves 6

This hearty soup combines two lucky foods, black-eyed peas and collard greens, with vegetables and smoky ham. Enjoy on New Year's Day, or any day, for a satisfying, warming meal. Serve with thick slices of toasted crusty bread. When reheating the soup, add additional broth if needed to obtain desired consistency.


2 cups dried black-eyed peas

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you could use canola oil)

1 large onion, chopped (give me a sweet onion any day!)

2 cloves minced fresh garlic (more is always better!)

1/2 pound slab cooked all-natural Black Forest ham or smoked turkey breast, diced (try using Richard's Turkey sausage, it's awesome!)

2 stalks celery, chopped (I like 4 stalks celery as celery is a digestive that keeps down the gas.)

6 cups gluten-free chicken broth

Sea salt and black pepper

Cayenne pepper, to taste (try 1/4 teaspoon at first, especially if you use Louisiana sausage as it already has spicy heat!)

4 cups packed thinly sliced collard greens, leaves only, stems discarded

4 medium carrots, chopped (you can always get a package of those small sweet baby carrots, easier and tastier)


Soak black-eyed peas in water for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, ham and celery.

Cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent.

Add drained peas, broth, salt, pepper and cayenne. Simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes or until peas are tender. For a thicker consistency, smash some of the cooked peas against the side of the pan and blend them into the broth.

Add greens and carrots. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until collard greens are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.


Per serving (18oz/532g-wt.): 310 calories (150 from fat), 16g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 17g protein, 27g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 20mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium

Note: For other recipes visit my other fun blog –
Romancing The Chocolate

27 December 2008

Recipe: Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Enjoy these little gems! They bake up easy and store in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 6 months. And true to Louisiana tradition, we are quick to find or create recipes that taste great AND are easy on the wallet. Especially after the holiday season it's nice to know there is something we can bake up that's right at our fingertips without resorting to prepared mixes with all those unhealthy preservatives.

The link takes you to my chocolate blog, Romancing The Chocolate, where the recipe is given in detail. Enjoy! Let me know how things are going for you!

Photo by Betty Crocker

22 December 2008

Recipe: Cajun Spice Mix

Cajun Spice Mix

Sometimes you run out of your favorite store blend. Why not try your hand at making your own blend? Start with this basic one and start creating from there!

*** Takes about 10 minutes to make.


1/3 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup chili powder (here's where you can get inventive)

1/4 cup Hungarian paprika

1 Tablespoon onion powder

1 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper (could choose other varieties like green peppercorns)

1 Tablespoon dried basil

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper


Combine salt, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, basil, oregano, coriander, cayenne pepper, thyme, cumin and white pepper until well mixed.

Place the spice mix in a glass jar and seal tightly. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.

This can be used for blackened fish, chicken, soups, sauces, ribs, blackened steaks, blackened chicken, even blackened pastas! Wow!

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups

Note: For other recipes visit my other fun blog –
Romancing The Chocolate

20 December 2008

Slap That Cold Silly with Food as Medicine

Slap That Cold Silly with Food as Medicine - Utilize spices in your food to give healing support to that cold or flu. Here’s an easy exotic and delicious soup recipe when you are feeling miserable. Soup recipe included.

Let's face it. Living in Louisiana we are also living with hundreds of chemical plants and some oil refineries. The end result is really bad pollution. There are often chemical releases the public is never told about. It becomes evident when suddenly there are huge numbers of people running to their doctors for meds to treat sinus infections.

Warding off sinus infections before they begin or healing them in the early stages can save us a trip to the doctor. Taking care of your sinuses, lungs and colon - since they are all related affecting one another - through smart foods and spices is paramount for your health in a polluted part of the country.

Try something different and incorporate the forgotten foods into your diet: spices!

Photo by meaduva @ flickr

13 December 2008

Pet Storytelling Relieves Stress (like good food!)

Pet Storytelling Relieves Stress: "Storytelling is a great stress reliever. People love to tell pet stories. We all have one. What’s yours?"

Storytellers and their gregarious storytelling are popular pastimes in Louisiana. The more outrageous the better: swamp dragons are alligators and ghosts are, well, ghosts but of spectacular proportions.

Leonardo kitty is caught in mid-air rolling over - still sound asleep on the couch. He loves the famous Louisiana saying, Let the good times roll!

Photo by Denny Lyon - Leonardo the Love Bandit, a Louisiana cat celebrity, featured in the article. Get your paw print now! Only 6 million available and going fast! grin

08 December 2008

We Believe In Santa

We Believe In Santa

1,300 views of all the many photos here and counting!

Over 50 photos of Santa's believers and Santa sightings! Do you believe in Santa? Do you believe in spreading goodwill? Join us this season to gift others with more than mall presents.

Photo by Weaselmcfee @ flickr

06 December 2008

Poem by CJ Beige

Photo by Jerry @ flickr

Since it's the Christmas season and I absolutely LOVE the holiday season - here's a lovely poem by a friend of mine. He is a trucker who travels America.

While he's driving he composes wonderful poetry in his head, most of it is love poetry to his beautiful wife. What woman would not love to be immortalized in poetry?

After reading my article We Believe In Santa he was inspired to write his answer in poetry form. My fellow poets are such fun!


Santa's Love

Santa's like the wise men,
He's dad and mother too,
He's your friend and neighbor,
And someone that's there for you.

He's your pal and buddy,
And your confidante you see,
He's on every corner,
Every home is where he'll be.

He wants to see you happy,
‘Cause he gives the gift of love,
He gives it from his heart of gold,
And from the Lord above.

Three wise men honored Jesus,
The night that was His birth,
They honored Him with gifts because
The wise men knew His worth.

Santa's truly in our heart,
With every gift we give,
Santa's love just like the Lord’s,
Forever they will live.

C.J. Beige (John)
Copyright 26 November 2008
All Rights Reserved

04 December 2008

Video - Christmas lights!

Photo by maxedaperture @ flickr

Lights Before Christmas

Frisco Christmas lights -


In Louisiana just outside of Baton Rouge -


03 December 2008


"Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway." - Mother Theresa

Photo by Weaselmcfee @ flickr

01 December 2008


"If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway." - Mother Theresa

Photo by Axel Bührmann @ flickr
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