31 August 2009

When Graphic Artists Get Bored

This is so great! The art of illusion, imagination and "what were they thinking"!

30 August 2009

4 Videos: Funny Speakers at Kennedys Irish Wake

From Denny: The highlight of dreary funerals is when people get to tell the funny stories about you and Kennedy was no exception. In fact he wanted people to tell their opinions and observations about him if only to prove just how human he really was in life. Kennedy's life was an exercise in trials, sorrows, screw-ups and redemption. He was an inspiration to many of us who think our screw-ups are beyond redemption and our sorrows too great to heal. Listen to several relatives and, most of all, even his Republican friends talk about their relationships with the beloved, and often annoying, Ted Kennedy. He was fun to the end.

Caroline Kennedy whom he fathered after the assassination of her father President John F. Kennedy:

Close friend Vice President Joe Biden whom Ted mentored in the Senate when Biden was very young and "very green" when it came to real world politics - and suggested as Vice President for Obama:

Former Senator John Culver, D-Iowa, a best friend from college who played football with Ted, brought the house down with his recounting of a harrowing sailing experience with Ted:

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a close friend of Ted's for over 30 years in the Senate and the two were like oil and water, never mixing well, yet a real love fest that lasted in spite of political differences:

4 Videos: More Funny Speakers at Kennedys Wake

Senator John Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, recalls Kennedy's booming personality that was like a force of nature. He also recounts how Kennedy never left his side during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, recounts his funny and downright annoying experiences with Kennedy. He also declared just how much he loved Ted and how much he misses him already. McCain was so overcome with emotion that after his speech he abruptly left the stage with welling tears in his eyes. Truly that was a close relationship in spite of political wrangling.

Governor Deval L. Patrick, Massachusets, recalls his time with Kennedy and his impressions of him:

Senator Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, recalls how Kennedy, who was more ill than Dodd, called Dodd to see how he was doing. That really touched Dodd's heart. They, too, were life long friends.

Joseph P. Kennedy II, talks about his favorite uncle who helped father him and his siblings after his father, Robert, was also assassinated on the presidential trail in 1968. You really have to ask yourself "What is wrong with the Republicans who are willing to kill politicians in this great country called America? Who are these people who are so willing to kill a fellow American?":

29 August 2009

Funny Ted Kennedy Quote

Ted Kennedy, middle, with brothers Bobby and John photo by BL1961 @ flickr - thanks for releasing this into Creative Commons, much appreciated!

With his usual Irish self-deprecating humor he said to his son and nephew one day as they were serving in Congress with him, making it three Kennedys in national politics: "When I hear someone complain, 'Who does that damn Kennedy think he is?' Well, now I know there's only a one in three chance they are actually talking about me!"

Ah, nothing like the ironic truth spoken with a twinkle in your Irish eye, Ted. God Bless.

28 August 2009

Recipes: Easy Fast Pizzas for Labor Day or Football Tailgating!

Easy double-crusted meaty filling pizza!

From Denny: Just finished watching this Casino Night episode on Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee on the Food Network and let me tell you the woman knows how to take shortcuts and still make it tasty and easy!

Meaty Stuffed Pizza

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


2 (6.5-ounce) packages pizza crust mix (recommended: Betty Crocker)

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (recommended: McCormick's)

1 cup hot water

For the Filling:

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 (2.5-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained (recommended: Green Giant)

1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained (recommended: Early California)

2 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided (recommended: Prego)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (recommended: Kraft)

Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Oil grate when ready to start cooking.

For the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine pizza crust mixes, Italian seasoning, and hot water. Stir about 20 times until a ball forms. Split ball in half and cover each with plastic wrap; set aside.

For the filling:

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and cook ground beef and sausage, stirring frequently to break up clumps. Cook until no longer pink but not totally cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mushrooms, olives, cheese and 1 cup of the marinara sauce; set aside.

Unwrap dough and put onto 2 parchment lined baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Press out into 2 (12-inch) circles about 1/4-thick; pinch together any holes. Spoon the meat mixture into center of each dough round. Slide the second dough circle off the parchment to top the meat mixture. Crimp the edges together. Gently pat entire surface of pizza until flat. Slide pizza onto hot oiled grill. Cook, covered, for about 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Warm the remaining marinara sauce in the microwave. Spoon some sauce on the plate and serve a hot slice of pizza on top.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Prepare stuffed pizza as directed. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Chicken Caesar Pizza

This chicken pizza idea was so fast using chicken tenders that she quickly doused in caesar salad dressing and then straight into the saute pan. Nothing could be faster. What this woman can do with just one bottle of salad dressing. :) She even used the dressing to brush on the baked pizza shell before applying the cheese and then the cooked chicken tenders. The salad is applied after all is baked and the cheese delightfully melted.

Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


3/4 pound chicken tenders

1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing, plus 2 tablespoons (recommended: Wishbone)

1 (12-inch) thin pizza crust (recommended: Boboli)

1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella and asiago cheese (recommended: Sargento)

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (recommended: Kraft)


For Salad Topping:

4 cups hearts of romaine, shredded (recommended: Ready Pac)

1 tablespoon lemon juice (recommended: ReaLemon)

1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing (recommended: Wishbone)

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (recommended: Kraft)

1 cup seasoned croutons (recommended: Marie Callender's)

Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Oil grate when ready to start cooking.

In a bowl, combine chicken tenders with 1/2 cup salad dressing; set aside. Brush pizza crust with remaining 2 tablespoons of dressing and top with cheeses; set aside.

Remove chicken from marinade and cook on hot oiled grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until just done. Remove from grill and place on top of pizza.

Slide pizza onto grill and cook, covered, 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and begun to bubble.

For the topping:

While pizza is cooking, toss shredded romaine with lemon juice. Add 1/4 cup dressing and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Toss and set aside.

Remove pizza from grill and cut into wedges. Top with salad and garnish with croutons. Serve immediately.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Complete step 2 as directed. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. When oil is hot, saute chicken strips for 4 to 6 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from pan; place on top of pizza. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and begun to bubble. Complete pizza as directed.


Grilled Fruit Pizza

Then for dessert is this awesome, easy recipe that is so delicious!
I'll have to wing this one from memory as it wasn't available on the site. It's too easy.

Get a pizza dough from the can, flatten out on a baking sheet. Brush with some honey and water mixture. Bake according to directions on the can for the dough.

Then take 1 stick of butter, some (about 8 oz.) cream cheese and powdered sugar to get a thick creamy spread and lather up the pizza bread. Then sprinkle with mixed berries of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. You can use fresh or do like Sandra did and thaw out frozen ones, drained and then placed on top. The thick spread holds them in place and the heavy pizza bread is strong enough to hold all those berries and spread! Delicious!

Note: As to the spread, if you want fewer calories and oil you could substitute that butter for no fat or low fat sour cream and no fat cream cheese. You might have to thin a bit with a little milk to get your spreadability (it looks like thick Greek yogurt).

27 August 2009

How Senator Ted Kennedy Affected Your Life in America

From Denny: Did you know that Ted Kennedy passed over 300 bills during his tenure in the Senate? He also co-authored another 550!

“Ted Kennedy changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans,” VP Biden.

How did he affect our lives today? How does that translate into your everyday life that this generation may take for granted was always there?

Here are just a few examples that make life easier for so many to live well:

Wheelchair ramps:
wheelchair access in public places; those are thanks to Ted Kennedy.

Minimum wage: you earn more thanks to Kennedy

Children’s Health Insurance: he went to bat for the most vulnerable members of our society – children

Kennedy was the driving force behind COBRA - for people in need of health insurance when just fired from a job.

He developed personal relationships with people like a 6 year old child suffering from diabetes who could have benefited from stem cell research. He didn’t just use her in front of the cameras for politics. She first wrote him a letter asking for his help on pushing for stem cell research; he read that letter on the Senate floor. For years he privately corresponded with Lauren Stanford, thanking her for her help and encouraging her in her fight with juvenile diabetes. The public never knew about that.

Christi Coombs, September 11th widow: Kennedy wrote her every year on the anniversary of her husband’s death. She recognized he truly did know what loss she was feeling as he had experienced so much loss in his life. The public never knew about that either.

Ted Kennedy at the Democratic Convention in 2008 - Photo (Mike Segar / Reuters)

Senator Kennedy, kicks off the Democratic Party's national convention Aug. 25, 2008, his was a performance that galvanized the audience, producing a roaring frenzy. The crowd cheered, then wiped away tears for several minutes, then cheered again. They knew Ted was thhe last living Kennedy brother.

He smiled and declared loudly, "My fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here." He was alluding to news reports hinting his doctors were hesitant to allow him to travel to the Denver convention.

The Senator continued, "Nothing, nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight. I have come here tonight to stand with you, to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama President of the United States."

Take a look at his long list of accomplishments that affect our lives to the postive!

The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act
The Fair Housing Act
No Child Left Behind Act
AMBER Alert Notification Systems Funding
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The Meals on Wheels Act (elderly)
The Economic Opportunity Act
The Occupational Health and Safety Act
The National Community Health Center Program
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act
The Bilingual Education Act
The Older American Community Service Employment Act
The Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program
Title IX of the Education Amendments (female athletes)
Individuals with Disabilities Education
Civil Rights Commission Act Amendments
Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act
Comprehensive Crime Control Act
1985 Anti-Apartheid Act
Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act
The Handicapped Children’s Protection Act
The Fair Housing Act Amendments
The National Military Child Care Act
The 1980 Refuge Act
The Job Training Partnership Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
Summer Jobs for Youth Program
The Mammography Quality Standards Act
The National and Community Service Trust Act (created AmeriCorps)
The School-to-Work Opportunities Act
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Children’s Health Insurance Program
Work Incentives Improvement Act
The Minority Health and Disparities Research and Education Act
2002 Bioterrorism Preparedness Act
The Pediatric Graduate Medical Education Act
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act
The Project Bioshield Act
The Family Opportunity Act
The Ryan White Care Act (for AIDS patients)
The Higher Education Opportunity Act
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

In honor of Ted Kennedy, President Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill April 21, 2009.

The bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act strives to open up new service opportunities for millions of Americans, tripling the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years.

"I'm asking you to stand up and play your part," said the president. Kennedy championed the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Photo (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Senator "Ted" Kennedy changed history in America. He fought against racism and sexism. He championed the poor for equal opportunities for jobs, homes and being able to go to college.

Too many middle class Republican families who foolishly denounce Ted Kennedy do so without full knowledge of how he has benefited their lives. They have been the direct beneficiaries of his humanity.

Among many fights for the middle class, it was Ted Kennedy who fought hard to provide college grant money to middle income families, not just the poor. This generation owes a lot of their successful lifestyle to his endeavors to make America a better country and a better society. Let not his humanity fall on deaf ears to the next generation...

Barack Obama, Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrats, diabetes, Politics, September 11th, America

26 August 2009

Funny Illusion Photo: The Art of Hiding Well

From Denny: This funny photo showed up on Digg yesterday so I'm passing it forward for the rest of the world to enjoy! This is truly the art of hiding well. Look closely... Don't you just love the art of illusion? Especially when it is right in front of you and in real life! :)

Quote: "This demonstrates the value of not being seen." - British comedian John Cleese

odd photos, funny photos, Digg, animals, pets, humor, dogs, monkeys

25 August 2009

2 Recipes: Easy Awesome Chicken Fricasse

Photo by Heather McClelland @ 2theadvocate.com

From Denny: Chicken fricassee, for the uninitiated, is just chicken stew. What makes this favorite comfort food so wonderful is the cooking time that allows all the flavors to meld together into one delicious dish! One reason we enjoy these comfort foods is that the longer foods cook to blend these spices and flavors it actually becomes easier to digest. So, it tastes good AND your stomach thanks you! :)

What is the definition of "fricassee"? Fricassee is all about that beautiful combination of meat and vegetables simmering together in happy harmony in some type of liquid, like just plain water or chicken stock. Long and slow cooking is how it used to be done before society sped up and the recipes had to speed up with it or be lost forever so people have invented shortcuts for wonderful recipes like this.

Shortcuts to save time are using chicken pieces already cut up from the grocery store instead of taking the time to cut up a whole chicken on your own which can use up a good 30 minutes just for that operation.

Available are good jarred or powdered in a package roux products so you don't have to take the time to make your own roux, standing over the stove for another 30 to 45 minutes for that step. Of course, around here a lot of Louisiana people just make up a large amount of roux and then stash it in the refrigerator, pulling out a little at a time as they need it for a dish.

You can also save time by purchasing seasoning vegetables already diced or cut up for you in packages at the produce department of your grocery store, shaving another 30 minutes off this old-fashioned recipe.

Chicken stew (fricassee) is served over rice in this state rather than in a bowl like a soup, gumbo or stew. Then side dishes are added like spring green peas, potato salad or fresh sliced beets, sometimes pickled beets.


Chicken Fricassee

From: “Pointe Coupee Kitchen Capers” - To benefit the American Cancer Society in 1970 this recipe booklet was compiled for the Pointe Coupee Antique Show. People still make this simple favorite recipe exactly the same to this day.

Serves: 10


1 large hen or chicken, cut up and skin removed

1/2 cup vegetable oil (today we use canola oil)

1/2 cup flour

2 small to medium onions, chopped (we like sweet or purple onions)

1/2 small bell pepper, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
(Today we use prepared Cajun seasoning in place of these spices)

2 (4 ounces each) cans sliced mushrooms (or equivalent of fresh)

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 Tablespoons chopped or sliced green onions

Cooked rice


1. Prepare hen or chicken.

2. Use prepared roux in a jar or powdered in a package or you can make up your own roux fresh for this dish. To make your own roux: In large, heavy pot, make roux with oil and flour. Stir until it is a dark chocolate brown (about 30 minutes). Add onions, bell pepper, celery. Cook until vegetables are tender.

3. Add chicken and mushrooms (with liquid), salt and pepper to taste. Stir until chicken is coated with roux. Cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 2-2-1/2 hours for a hen or until meat is very tender. A fryer chicken like what most grocery stores carry will only take about an hour to cook. You could also place this in a slow cooker while you are away at work, coming home to some awesome smells from your kitchen! Check your slow cooker's directions to know how much time to allow for the cooking.

4. Check occasionally to be sure chicken is not sticking, but as the chicken cooks, the meat will throw off its juices forming the gravy. If you want more or if the gravy is too thick, add more water.

5. Right before serving, add fresh minced parsley and sliced green onions.


From Denny: Here's a really easy even faster version of this chicken stew for busy moms on the go! Her 3 boys enjoy this dish so much it is the most requested one she does for them.

Jessica Cuba’s Quick Chicken Stew

From: Jessica Cuba

Serves: 6


1 chicken, cut up, or chicken pieces to the equivalent

2-2-1/2 pounds chicken thighs

Salt and pepper to your taste

1 large onion, chopped

Olive oil

1 (10-3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

2 Tablespoons Tony’s (Tony Chachere's brand) powdered roux


2 (4 ounce) cans sliced mushrooms

Cooked rice


1. Wash and dry chicken. Remove skin. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Meanwhile in large skillet or pot, sauté onions in olive oil on medium heat until onions are soft.

3. Add cream of mushroom soup and then add 2 tablespoons dry roux to 1 can of water. Add chicken and mushrooms to soup mixture.

4. Cook for about 1 hour or until chicken is falling off the bones. Serve over hot cooked rice.

***** And a side dish to serve with your awesome chicken fricasse!

Simple Pickled Beets

From: Rose Lorio

Serves: 4 to 6


2 (15-oz. cans) sliced or whole beets; remove about half of the juice from cans

2-4 Tablespoons olive oil

1/3-1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 to 1 thinly sliced small onion, white or red

1 teaspoons of sugar

Salt and black pepper, to taste


1. If using whole beets, quarter or slice them.

2. Empty beets into a glass bowl. Discard about half of the beet juice from the can.

3. Add olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Allow to marinate for about 2 hours before serving. Every now and
then stir beets around in juice.

4. Taste and if necessary add another pinch of sugar. After serving, refrigerate leftovers.


Thanks for visiting, everyone!

chicken, chicken stew, chicken fricasse, Cajun, soups and stews, society and culture, home, cooking, comfort food

24 August 2009

Video: Learn Easy Pickling of Fresh Veggies to Help Your Wallet

From Denny: Looks like grandma's pickling of bountiful summer's produce is back in fashion with today's economy. Chef Tyler Florence of Food Network shows us how it's great fun easy to do! Beautiful little food gifts you can give at Christmas time too. Get ready for Christmas in August - now that's planning ahead. :)

22 August 2009

Video: Fast and Easy Jamaican Jerk Steak

From Denny: Here's a fast and easy little meal for the weekend you can whip up in just minutes. Remember two things: don't overcook this cut of meat as it will be tough, so about 3 to 4 minutes per side on the stove top grill. Then slice thinly at a 45 degree angle for tender slices, enjoy!

21 August 2009

Recipe: Simple Authentic Cajun Shrimp Creole

Dishes typical of w:Louisiana Creole cuisine.Assortment of famous Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish bisque and more Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: Cajun cooking has evolved over 244 years since the first Acadian settlers arrived in Louisiana. They were originally deported by the English from Nova Scotia and it was ten years later they migrated to Louisiana. For generations the French and English have carried on a cultural clash and divide so this deportation came as no surprise even in the New World. It did bring terrible hardships to the Acadians as they strove to develop a new life in an inhospitable environment.

The lines between Cajun and Creole cuisine have blurred over the past few decades ever since Justin Wilson popularized Louisiana cuisine back in the 1970's with what was locally known as "good hunting and fishing camp food." Wilson also was a fan of hot sauces and so the idea of Cajun food as "hot and spicy" stuck in the national mind ever since. The reality is that Cajun did not originate as one with fiery pepper sauces, cayenne pepper and spices but rather, to this day with the oldest generation, was a savory and flavorful cuisine style.

The authors of this regional cookbook offer up insight into the subtle differences from region to region in Louisiana because Louisiana is a lot like France in that respect. The 22 counties considered as Cajun Country (which includes some of the state of Texas), known as parishes here, are divided into cultural regions: Acadian Coast, The Wetlands, Upper Prairie, Lower Prairie, the Bayou Region, Southwest Louisiana and the Marshes and Coast.

French onion soupFrench Onion Soup Image via Wikipedia

This regional, simple, 100 recipe cookbook (lots of illustrations but without photos) offers recipes from each region, so you get a look at six different versions of the celebrated and widely known gumbo dish. They include side dishes, traditional French soups like Belle Rose French Onion Soup and then on to desserts too, one known as Dark Sugar Pralines.

The cookbook has lots of great Cajun resources like listings for food festival events, Cajun web sites for food and events and tourism.

What this cookbook is all about is easy comfort food made by real people for home style cooking. It's also an easy pleasurable way to learn about a different culture through food!


Photo by afagen @ flickr

Lily B's Shrimp Creole

From:Cooking in Cajun Country” new cookbook by Karl Breaux with Cheré Dastugue Coen (Gibbs Smith, $16.99, paperback)

My Amazon store has the book for $12.74 and available for free shipping too! Check it out, go here.

Serves: 4


4 Tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp. dried basil

2 cups chopped tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined or 2 cups frozen shrimp*

(* Health Warning: try to buy Louisiana or American shrimp as Chinese and other Asian shrimp lives in heavily polluted waters, polluted with heavy metals! Check your package for country of origin before purchase.)

1/2 to 1 cup water

Cajun/Creole seasoning, to taste

2 cups cooked Louisiana rice


1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, celery and bell pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté 5 minutes more.

2. Add salt, pepper, basil and tomatoes and stir; add shrimp. If using frozen shrimp, add 1/2 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes. If using fresh shrimp, add shrimp and 1 cup water and simmer until shrimp turn bright pink, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overcook.

3. Add Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste.

4. Serve over 1/2 cup cooked rice per serving.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and thanks for visiting! Good eating!

Cajun, Creole, Louisiana, shrimp creole, Society and Culture, Soups and Stews, Justin Wilson, Acadian, Cajun cuisine, Nova Scotia, Cook, Home

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20 August 2009

Video: Making the Best Burger from the 21 Clubs Famous Chef

From Denny: It's still summer and Labor Day weekend is coming up quickly! Take some tips from this famous chef at the 21 Club about their famous burgers. And invite me over to your place, pahleez! :)

19 August 2009

Video: 3 Favorite Family Easy Dessert Recipes

From Denny: The Today Show had hundreds of entries for this competition! They were looking for family recipes handed down through the generations and found some good ones that will appeal to a lot of people. These are also fast easy recipes, enjoy! Wait until you see the last one with chocolate, easiest one of all.

desserts, dessert recipes, recipes, chocolate, baking and confections

18 August 2009

Recipe: Oreo Cookie and Chocolate Ice Cream Calypso Pie

oreosOreo Cookies Image: Ah, childhood pleasures of licking the filling off the cookie and then dunking it in a cold glass of milk... by penguincakes via Flickr

From Denny: Severe thunderstorms in my area today and had to stop posting for the day. Apologies for getting this out so late at night...

This recipe is quite the calorie buster and a definite show-off for the holidays or entertaining! It comes from the Southern Recipe Restoration Project that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is sponsoring. There are a lot of interesting easy recipes you can do with Oreo cookies and this cookie crust for this intriguing special pie is just one of many.

From: Ashley Leckey, a Tallahassee native and University of Georgia graduate who has lived in Atlanta since 2004. This recipe comes from her jack-of-all-trades grandmother, Cele Marcoux, who was an editor at a newspaper, had a line of luxury ties, worked in a dental lab and was even a nurse in the Army. Now that's job experience!

Marcoux often flavored this recipe with her own homemade liqueur and used the sauce recipes supplied below too.

Hands on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
Serves: 12


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), divided

18 Oreo cookies, crushed

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1 quart coffee ice cream (or 1 quart vanilla bean ice cream plus coffee-flavored liqueur to taste; see link below to separate recipe)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans


Melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter. Mix crushed cookies with melted butter; press into bottom and up sides of a 10-inch pie plate and chill.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and remaining butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and salt. Add the evaporated milk gradually, blending well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and almond extracts.

Set aside to cool to room temperature. When the shell is chilled and the sauce has cooled, set out the ice cream to soften slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Fill the pie shell with the ice cream. Put the pie in the freezer until ice cream is firm again.

In the meantime, beat the whipping cream until it just holds a peak. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Spread the fudge sauce over the ice cream layer, then mound the top with whipped cream and sprinkle with pecans. Store in the freezer until ready to serve. Remove and let sit a few minutes before slicing.


Per serving:
482 calories (percent of calories from fat, 63), 5 grams protein, 42 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 35 grams fat (17 grams saturated), 72 milligrams cholesterol, 261 milligrams sodium.

Coffee-flavored Liqueur

Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: Makes 1 gallon


4 cups granulated sugar

6 1/2 cups water, divided

1 cup instant coffee

1 (375 milliliter) bottle 190-proof grain alcohol, such as Everclear (some of us might prefer a better quality vodka)

2 vanilla beans


In a saucepan, combine sugar and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; simmer for 20 minutes. Cool. Meanwhile, mix instant coffee with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Cool. Combine both mixtures; add alcohol and remaining 2 cups water. Pour into four 16-ounce bottles and add 1/2 vanilla bean to each.


Per ounce: 48 calories (no calories from fat), trace protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, no fat, no cholesterol, 1 milligram sodium.

Copycat Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Hands on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Serves: Makes 1 1/4 cups


1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a heavy saucepan, stir together sugar and cocoa. Add milk and syrup and stir until blended. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil; continue stirring and boiling for 8 minutes. Remove from heat; add chocolate and butter and stir until melted, then add the cream. Return to the heat and boil an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cool; store in the refrigerator in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. To serve, uncover and heat the jar in a saucepan of warm water for a few minutes (or in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds).


Per tablespoon:
73 calories (percent of calories from fat, 45), trace protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 4 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 9 milligrams cholesterol, 21 milligrams sodium.

Thanks for visiting Comfort Food From Louisiana!

chocolate dessert, coffee liqueur, Copycat Chocolate Fudge Sauce, ice cream pie, oreo cookies, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cook, University of Georgia, baking and confections, home, easy recipes, ice cream

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17 August 2009

Video: How to Pair Beer with Your Foods

From Denny: Food and Wine Magazine gives us tips on how to pair which foods with which beers. There is a wide range of assortment to suit your tastes too. Great advice!

beer and wine, gourmet tips, Food and Wine Magazine, Today Show, NBC, food

14 August 2009

Recipe: Slow Cooker Shrimp Creole

shrimp creoleImage by billmichalski via Flickr

From Denny: You are in a rush but want to eat something simply divine and are craving seafood. This recipe is the answer to your food prayers! Cook everything but the shrimp the night before or if you work part time cook it right before you get home. If you are out for the afternoon running errands and playing school taxi for the kids then this recipe is tailored for you. Cook the shrimp the last hour before dinner when you are home to tend it.

Normally, when cooking on the stove top you add the shrimp at the last minute before serving as it cooks up in 30 seconds to 2 minutes. With the slow cooker it is a much slower process. Cooking the sauce is the secret to any meal and the slow cooker specializes in that perfect slow blending of flavors we love so well in Louisiana!

Dedicating this awesome and easy recipe to the shrimp fishermen down Lafayette way who bring us these tasty crustaceans. The annual Shrimp Festival is going on right now and this weekend in Delcambre, Louisiana - make sure you pay them a visit!

From: Julie Kay @ 2theadvocate.com

Serves: 6 to 8


1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup flour

1 onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 (10-ounce) can Ro-tel brand tomatoes, mild

1 cup water

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 1/2 pounds raw, peeled shrimp

Hot cooked rice


1. Put flour and oil in microwave dish and microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes until light brown in color. Add in onions, bell pepper, garlic and Creole seasoning and microwave on HIGH for 2 additional minutes.

2. Transfer to slow cooker and add in Ro-tel tomatoes, water, green onions and parsley. Cook on LOW for 5 hours.

3. Add in shrimp and turn cooker to HIGH. Cook another hour, until shrimp are pink.

4. Spoon shrimp over hot cooked rice to serve. Enjoy!

Slow cooker, shrimp creole, Shrimp Festival, Baton Rouge Louisiana, Cajun, Creole

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13 August 2009

Shrimp Festival: In Delcambre, Louisiana Starts on August 12

Shrimp Festival is from August 12th to 16th outside Lafayette

From Denny: Looking for more Louisiana Bloggers. One new blogger friend posted up today on one of my blogs. She had a problem being able to leave a comment - turns out Blogger now knows about the issue. Same goes for the Followers from Blogger widget acting weird and not showing your friends and links to their blogs.

Anyway, put Marguerite on my blog list so you can visit her blog, Cajun Delights. She lives in Lafayette, about a 45 minute drive from Baton Rouge. That's the beauty of south Louisiana for a tourist: you can fly into New Orleans, drive to the capital city Baton Rouge (Red Stick)in an hour 15 minutes, stay over a day or so and visit various attractions and eat well, then take a day drive to Lafayette in 45 minutes and definitely eat well when you arrive there! :)

Delcambre Shrimp Festival, go here. Delcambre is about 20 miles outside Lafayette where this time of year they perform the annual blessing of the ever so productive shrimp fleet. Many other attractions like yummy cook-offs (there goes my diet: again...) and as is typical in Cajun Country there is fun toe-tapping live music the whole family can enjoy!

12 August 2009

Recipe: Eula Mae's Cajun Seafood Gumbo

Jacqueline's seafood gumboImage by Southern Foodways Alliance via Flickr

From Denny: Just loading this recipe into the online editor is making my mouth water! This version of famous Cajun gumbo has shrimp and lump crabmeat in it. We love Honey-Baked Ham brand in our house as the smoky and sweet flavors go so well as a flavoring for seafood dishes. Cajun tasso is wonderful too - just use a lot less of that as it is salty like Virginia cured ham or country ham as some people know it.

Make sure you have some file powder on hand to sprinkle on your gumbo after you ladle it over the hot cooked rice in the bowl as you serve it. File powder is ground sassafras root which acts as a digestive. File came to us from the Choctaw Indians when the Cajuns settled south Louisiana. In fact, if it weren't for the Choctaw the early settlers would never have been able to navigate the natural winding and twisting bayous to discover Baton Rouge, the capital city! The Choctaw did a lot to help develop this area and food culture.

From: THE TABASCO® COOKBOOK 1993 by Paul McIlhenny with Barbara Hunter. The McIlhenny family are the original founders and creators of Tabasco sauce from Avery Island where there is the salt mine and bird sanctuary.

Serves: 12 to 16


3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

2 pounds fresh okra, or 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen okra, thawed
and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

4 quarts water

2 pounds cubed cooked ham (about 6 cups)

3 large onions, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 head garlic, cloves peeled but left whole

1 green pepper, diced

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 pounds lump crab meat, picked over

1 1/2 tablespoons Original TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce

6 cups cooked rice


Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large skillet (not cast iron) over medium heat. Add okra and cook, stirring frequently, until no longer ropy, about 30 minutes. Add vinegar; cook and stir another 10 minutes, until okra takes on a brownish color and is reduced to about a quarter of its original volume. Spoon okra into a bowl and set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Meanwhile, add remaining 1/4 cup oil to skillet over medium-high heat; add ham and sauté 10 minutes or until lightly browned. With slotted spoon, remove ham to stockpot. In same skillet, combine onions, celery, garlic, and green pepper and cook, 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring constantly; add to stockpot along with okra and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to very low, add shrimp, and simmer 10 minutes. Add crab meat and TABASCO® Sauce; simmer 5 to 10 minutes longer. Serve gumbo in soup bowls with mounds of rice.

Note: This recipe is HIGH in sodium so if you have a health issue take time to look at the recipe to cut the salt level. Remember, Louisiana in the summer time is a hot and humid climate where a high salt diet can be tolerated if there is no air conditioning.

Nutritional information per serving: 597 Calories (and worth every calorie!), 58g protein, 42g carbohydrate, 21g fat, 244mg cholesterol, 1799mg sodium

Avery Island, Cajun, gumbo, seafood gumbo, Tabasco, TABASCO Sauce, Fruit and Vegetable, Home, Okra, Cooking, Gumbo, Louisiana, soups and stews

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11 August 2009

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

From Denny: Use a larger slow cooker for this recipe, a 5 to 6 quart size is better as anything smaller is filled to the brim and may bubble over! Before you know the cats may be jumping up on the counter to lick up all the gumbo goodness... :)

From: Delicious Tabasco Recipes for your Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Serves: 8 to 10


1 cup onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup celery, coarsely chopped

1 cup green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts

1/2 pound andouille sausage or kielbasa sausage, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons Tabasco brand pepper sauce, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 quarts water

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Hot cooked rice


Classic Tabasco red pepper sauceImage via Wikipedia

1. Add onion, celery, green bell pepper and garlic to bottom of stoneware. In skillet, over medium-high heat, brown chicken pieces in 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil until almost golden. Add sausage to skillet and continue cooking meat until chicken is golden brown.

2. Add all browned meat and poultry to stoneware on top of the vegetables. Add parsley, bay leaves, thyme, Tabasco pepper sauce, salt and pepper to stoneware. Pour water over all. Cover and cook on Low 5 to 7 hours or on High 2 to 4 hours.

3. In skillet, over medium heat, mex flour with the remaining 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil and cook, stirring constantly until the roux is dark brown. Add 1 cup of hot liquid from the slow-cooker mixture to the roux, a little at a time, stirring until smooth.

4. Stir roux mixture into stoneware, cover and finish cooking, 1 1/2 hours on Low or 1 hour on High. Add green onions at end of cooking time and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Remove chicken bones and skin before serving, if desired.

5. Remove from heat and stir in green onion and parsley; adjust seasoning if needed. Let gumbo stand 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, mound about 1/3 cup rice in each soup bowl, then ladle about 1 cup gumbo around rice.

Note: Leave yourself a little time for deboning and removing the skin from the chicken meat, adding to the overall time to prepare this slow cooking dish.

chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, Soups and Stews, gumbo, Slow cooker, slow cooking, Tabasco sauce, Cook, Home, Tabasco, Chicken, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, Cajun and Creole, Baton Rouge Louisiana, New Orleans

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10 August 2009

Recipe: Super Easy Key Lime Cake Goes Well With Seafood

Unripened key limes growing in a backyard. Tak...Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: Since we love seafood so much in the South, well, you need something citrusy to chase the garlic taste. Another food popular in Louisiana is cream cheese icing and this cake has a cream-cheese key lime icing. Key limes from Florida are awesome! This simple recipe is just the ticket, enjoy!

From: Mae Hogg


1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (I like canola as it is a neutral oil that doesn't influence other flavors)

4 eggs

3/4 cup orange juice

1 (3 ounce) package lime Jell-O

1 (1 pound) package plus 1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

8 ounces cream cheese

3 Tablespoons lime juice


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, orange juice and lime Jell-O. Pour into 3 greased and floured (8-inch) cake pans.

2. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F. oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

3. Let cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans. Let cool completely.

4. To make icing, combine powderedsugar, butter, cream cheese and key lime juice.

5. Ice between layers and on top and sides of cake. Enjoy!

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09 August 2009

Recipe: Easy Oven Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

slow cooker barbecue ribsImage by maggiephotos via Flickr

From Denny: Who doesn't want easy? Who doesn't like ribs? This recipe was put out by a local charity in their cookbook and published in our local newspaper back in 2006. It's still an easy recipe! :) This is one of those recipes you could marinate and cook the first three hours on Sunday afternoon while you snooze for your nap and bake the last half hour on Monday when you get home from work. Or better yet, marinate on Saturday, cook extra on Sunday, warm it up in the oven on Monday and an extra day of the work week. Yeah, now we're talking!

Oven Barbecued Ribs

From: "The View From Our Kitchen" by the Baton Rouge Eye Bank Auxiliary

Serves: 6 to 8


3 or 4 spans of baby back ribs

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

Kitchen Bouquet

Meat tenderizer, unseasoned

garlic powder (not garlic salt)

Tony Chachere's Original (Cajun) Seasoning

black pepper


1 stick butter or margarine, melted

1/2 onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 (36 ounce) bottle ketchup

1 Tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

5 dashes Tabasco sauce


1. Using a brush, coat the meaty sides of the ribs with Worcestershire and Kitchen Bouquet. After coating, liberally sprinkle with meat tenderizer, garlic powder, Tony's Seasoning and black pepper.

2. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator until ready to cook. This can be done a day or two in advance of cooking.

3. To make sauce, saute onion and celery in melted butter until soft. Add brown sugar and stir until blended. Add ketchup, Lea & Perrins, garlic and Tabasco and stir well.

4. Cook on medium heat until bubbly, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook for 2 hours stirring frequently. Sauce will thicken and turn darker. It may be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

5. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a pan/pans with a rack, cook marinated ribs, covered for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove from oven, drain juice and remove rack/racks.

6. Liberally brush on barbecue sauce, cover and lower heat to 300 degrees F. Cook for 1 more hour. Turn oven off, uncover ribs and allow to sit in the warm oven for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with warm barbecue sauce to spoon over the ribs if desired.

Barbecue, barbecue ribs, oven barbecue, Cook, Home, Lea & Perrins, Tony Chachere, Barbecue sauce, Garlic, Pork ribs

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08 August 2009

Common Edible Wild Plants - Part II

Common Edible Wild Plants - Part II

by Jerilee Wei @ HubPages

From Denny: Learn about edible goodies in the wild, where to find them, how to cook them, recipes provided, cultural history and several good videos about medicinal uses for the plants.

Jerilee Wei grew up Cajun with training as a traiteuse (healer). Just click on this link to take you to her article.

jerilee wei, hubpages, cajun culture

07 August 2009

Recipe: Boston Butt Braised in Coke

Boston buttAnother version of Boston Butt - Image by leshoward via Flickr

From Denny: This is one of those super easy slow-cooking recipes people just love, both for the ease of cooking and it's a crowd pleaser. That and I'm getting hungry just loading this recipe into the online editor! :) (Shameless, I know...)

People in Louisiana love to cook with soft drinks, usually it's Dr. Pepper or Coke, used for meats that smoke or slow-cooking like this in the oven or a slow cooker. Dr. Pepper is a popular favorite when it's Thanksgiving time to smoke a turkey for 12 hours. There is something about the dark syrup soft drinks that makes magic for meat dishes. It could be the high fructose corn syrup that tenderizes the meat and sweetens the taste. Whatever it is the taste is divine! The ultimate is cooking a dish that is low maintenance in labor and is a big hit at the table. Works for me!

Boston Butt Braised in Coke

From: John Kessler, published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Serves: 6-8

Note from John: The biggest investment in this delicious dish is time. To prepare a Boston butt for dinner, you'll have to start soon after lunch. You need only sear in oil, put in a pot with a little liquid in the bottom, cover it tightly and let it simmer for hours, turning every now and then. This recipe is similar to one I published once before but much, much better. That can of Coke — a new addition — does strange wonders for the flavor.

Hands on time: 14 minutes
Total time: 4 hours and 15 minutes


4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt

Salt and pepper

1 Tablespoon cooking oil

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced thinly

1 (12-ounce) bottle or can of Coke

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 ounce fresh ginger, scrubbed and cut into thick coins

2 pieces star anise

1 green onion, thinly sliced, for garnish


Trim thick fat from the pork and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven with a heavy fitted lid, and brown meat on all sides, finally turning so the fat side is down. Spoon out any excess grease.

Fry onion in bottom of pot until it wilts, then add the Coke and soy sauce, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Add the ginger and star anise. Bring to a simmer and cover.

Braise meat until very tender, about 4 to 4 1/2 hours, turning occasionally. Remove meat to a heated serving platter. Collect braising liquid in a measuring cup and spoon off fat. Press juice and soft onion through a strainer over meat, and discard the spices that collect in the strainer. Garnish with green onion.

Notes: To make the meal, serve with rice, noodles or potatoes

Per serving (based on 6, using boneless pork shoulder): 298 calories (percent of calories from fat, 40), 34 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 13 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 110 milligrams cholesterol, 829 milligrams sodium.

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06 August 2009

Recipe: Fast Easy Barbecue Bacon Chicken Breast

From Denny: How many times have we all wished for a wonderful meal in just minutes from ingredients already in the house? I've made this same recipe many times and loved it both for its simplicity, ease of making and speed to the table.

Barbecue Bacon Chicken Breast

From: Jeanne Besser

Note from Jeanne Besser: Crystal Ellis of Marietta writes, "Here's a great-tasting easy main dish created from my refrigerator. Kids love it!" This is truly a meal most of us can cull from our reserves, but that still makes a substantial dinner. I added the step of crisping the bacon under the broiler, but if you like softer bacon, you could skip this.

Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


1 (1 1/2-pound) package boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 strips thin bacon, cut in half

9 ounces ( 1/2 bottle) honey barbecue sauce (or your favorite flavor)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with foil. Sprinkle chicken breasts with pepper to taste. Place 2 bacon strip halves horizontally to cover chicken breasts. Top with barbecue sauce and fold foil over to make a packet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is just done. Increase heat to broil. Open foil and broil until bacon crisps, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with cheese. Put back in oven and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until cheese melts.


Per serving: 420 calories (percent of calories from fat, 34), 43 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, 16 grams fat, 128 milligrams cholesterol, 952 milligrams sodium.

Barbecue sauce, easy recipe, quick recipe, kid friendly recipes, Cook, Cheese, Home, Cheddar cheese, Barbecue, Bacon, Chicken

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