Sunday, September 15, 2019

Woodpecker Meditation?

As though deep in a meditative trance or enthralled by the euphoria of a hot yoga session, this downy woodpecker seemed completely unphased by my quiet approach in order to capture this photo with my cell phone...but once I made a noise, off he scampered. Normally his flitting around the feeders is too fast for me to immortalize his presence on film (er, or via bits and bytes). So I was glad he was up for this quick photo session.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Meal No. 2443: Mexican Chicken and Rice

A long, long overdue first visit with the across-the-street neighbors finally happened tonight. Featured at dinnertime for Meal No. 2443: Mexican chicken and rice with white cheese dip and, as a starter, southwestern dip and tortilla chips. It was a super fun evening and the good food was a bonus.

"Mexican Chicken & Rice," in  Cuisine at Home, Issue No. 115 (January/February 2016), p. 10-11.

"The Best Mexican White Cheese Dip," from

"Southwestern Dip," in Betty Crocker Monthly Recipes, December 2001.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Meal No. 2442: Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Bourbon-Brown Sugar Glaze

On Friday night, the 13th of September, under a full harvest moon (well, micromoon, as this was an apogee event), I tried a new recipe for roasting a nice slab of salmon. This time it was first marinated in a bourbon-soy-garlic-brown sugar-maple mixture. I roasted it in my usual fashion in the oven but topped it with some roasted pecans and a nice glaze made from the unused portion of the marinade mixture. I also roasted broccoli florets that came out succulent and richly flavored.

"Bourbon Brown Sugar Salmon," by Becky Hardin of [Published 06 August 2019]

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Meal No. 2441: Cheeseburger Soup

When it was time to think about the meal to make yesterday evening, the hankering I had led me to seek out a new recipe: bacon cheeseburger soup. And it was wonderfully fantastic, so much so that yet again I ate beyond reason and common sense and found myself going to bed in a most uncomfortable state.

"Bacon Cheeseburger Soup," from Catalina Castravet and Holly Nilsson of [Published 01 March 2018]

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Caramel-Chai Oatmeal Cookies

After returning home from a mid-day movie this afternoon, I took advantage of the softened state of two sticks of butter I had set out beforehand...and produced in short order a particularly well-spiced version of caramel-chai oatmeal cookies. I had three of them.

Based on: "Caramel-Chai Oatmeal Cookies," in Cuisine at Home, September/October 2013, p. 47.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Dog Bowl Disasters

August 2019

The Roediger House does have its own logo'd stoneware, mostly coffee mugs but also pitchers and creamers and cereal bowls and coasters. And we used to have four beautiful Carolina blue dog food bowls...but thanks to loose grips and careless handling, only two remain!

January 2018

Monday, September 9, 2019

Meal No. 2440: Roasted Pork Tenderloin

The Sunday dinner foursome sat down to hoisin-roasted pork tenderloin, together with particularly pleasing peas and more of that super creamy mac-n-cheese.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Meal No. 2439: Baby Back Pork Ribs

It's perfectly all right to make a rack of ribs even if it's for a lonesome meal all by oneself on a September Saturday night, isn't it? And to go so far as to make a creamy brie four-cheese mac and cheese, to boot?

"How to Make Great Ribs in the Oven," by Emma Christensen. From The Kitchn. [Published 01 July 2017]

Barbecue Sauce adapted from "Crock Pot Ribs," from Christin Mahrlig of the Spicy Southern Kitchen blog. [Published 17 January 2019]

"Creamy Brie Four-Cheese Mac and Cheese," from Tieghan Girard of the Half-Baked Harvest blog. [Published 21 November 2013]

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Cap'n Crunch Cookies

There was just enough time on Thursday afternoon to whip up a quick double batch of Cap'n Crunch cookies, and they were really kind of remarkably on point.

"Cap'n Crunch Cookies," found online at The Capitol Baker, with credit going to The Sugar Plum Blog for inspiration and the source of the adapted recipe.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Meal No. 2438: Sweet Pork Pan Nachos Redux

Those delicious sweet pork pan nachos from Sunday night left me with some leftovers from the prep: a container of sweet Cafe Rio shredded pork, creamy queso, diced red onion, corn and black beans, and sour cream sauce. Seemed only logical that I should make up a fresh sheet pan of nachos, then, to save the aggravation of inspiration or creativity. That was the main meal on Wednesday.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Meal No. 2437: Baked Chicken Thighs

It seemed time for a fuller plate on Tuesday night, so I baked up some delicious seasoned chicken thighs, roasted broccoli, and added the easy finisher of stovetop stuffing. I scarfed that stuff down like it was going out of style.

Generally based on: "Baked Tender Chicken Thighs," from Valentina's Corner.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Fudgy Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce

Lord have mercy! That's how I felt both in the moment of and for several hours after the Sunday night dessert at the Roediger House: a fresh-made fudgy brownie, hot out of the oven, topped with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and a just-cooked hot fudge sauce. Mercy, I say...mercy!

"The Best Fudgy Brownies," from [Published 20 July 2018]

"Vanilla Ice Cream," from Bi-Rite Creamery's Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker, and Dabney Gough. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (2012), p. 35-36.

"Hot Fudge Sauce," a recipe shared with me by former neighbor Jessica Atkinson.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Meal No. 2436: Sweet Pork Sheet Pan Nachos

Was it too soon to have sheet pan nachos again? Not when it's a flavorful alternative take on them, featuring Cafe Rio sweet pork and loaded with a different mix of toppers. For the four of us coming together for dinner on Sunday night, this was a batch of Mexican goodness.

Shredded Pork based on "Cafe Rio Sweet Pork," from Holly of Life in the Lofthouse. [Published 30 October 2014] See also "Sweet Pork Nachos," from Holly as well. [Published 01 August 2017]

Sheet Pan Nachos based on "Loaded Sweet Pork Sheet Pan Nachos," from Elyse of Six Sisters Stuff. [Published 14 March 2018]

"The Best Mexican White Cheese Dip," from

"Lime Crema," also based on "Cilantro Cream Recipe" by Joshua Bousel of [Published 30 August 2018]

Monday, September 2, 2019

Meal No. 2435: Roasted Salmon over Greens

With more of my homemade creamy Caesar dressing still in the fridge, and trying to keep it light for Saturday night, I roasted another fillet of salmon to go on top of power greens. This healthier choice is good every time, even though at some point I worry I'll weary of it.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Meal No. 2434: Sheet Pan Beef Nachos

I was just kind of starving by Friday late afternoon and had to put together something to eat in about an hour. With a pound of ground beef in the fridge and not much imagination or inspiration, I reverted to an easy stand-by: sheet pan beef nachos. Don't misunderstand: they always hit the spot. Even when they're not my wisest meal choice.

Taco-Style Meat Based on "Crispy Beef Tacos," by Hilah Johnson. From

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Meal No. 2433: Pasta Alfredo with Grilled Chicken

It seems this week hasn't afforded me much time for meal prep and I've had to keep things simple, as happened Wednesday afternoon when I whipped up a poor version of alfredo sauce but still had some grilled chicken I could add to it.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Meal No. 2432: Grilled Chicken on Brioche Bun

Eh, a bit simple but when a hunger craving strikes with little time to prepare a substantive meal, sometimes a grilled chicken breast with Swiss cheese and Caesar dressing does the trick.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Meal No. 2431: Grilled Chicken on Creamy Caesar Salad

Tuesday's main mid-day meal included a seasoned grilled chicken breast, diced and placed atop power greens and dressed with more of my wonderfully garlicky homemade creamy Caesar dressing. No need to dirty an extra bowl...the amount of salad greens left in the clamshell container made for just the right serving portion and serving dish at the same time.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Meal No. 2430: Mushroom and Swiss Burgers

For the Monday night meal at the Roediger House, I adapted my basic burgers-on-the-grill recipe with a different mix of seasonings and also sautéed mushrooms in butter and Madeira...and then I put it all together as classic mushroom and Swiss burgers, and they were majorly awesome.

Based on "Grilled Juicy Burgers," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks recipe magazine.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Applebee's Maple Butter Walnut Blondies

Without knowing that part of the attraction to maple butter walnut blondies is because they're a much-loved dessert item at your local Applebee's, I just thought the recipe sounded compelling and had given the blondies a trial run just a few days before. So, a second pan of these amazing blondies was whipped up right on the heels of the maiden trial of them, and back on Sunday August 18th I topped 'em with a rich and deeply creamy homemade vanilla bean ice cream as well as an adapted version of sweet maple butter sauce. It was sort of outrageous and helps account for me going over my targeted maximum weight the next morning.

Based on "White Chocolate Walnut Blondies with Maple Cream Sauce," from Jillian Hatsumi of [Published 23 July 2018]

"Maple Butter Sauce," pulled from "Applebee's Copycat Maple Butter Blondies," from [Published 20 February 2016]

"Vanilla Ice Cream," from Bi-Rite Creamery's Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker, and Dabney Gough. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (2012), p. 35-36.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Meal No. 2428: Baked Spaghetti

Sunday a week ago, for four of us at the table, it was a very early dinner featuring the heaping piles of beefy tangy cheesy goodness known simply as "baked spaghetti." This source for it came to me over twenty years ago, thanks to my dear friend Cindy Coulson. I originally tracked this recipe down, though, because of how much I have always enjoyed the baked spaghetti served at our local favorite K & W Cafeteria. For the purposes of supper, just this on the plate was deemed sufficient, because of the over-the-top dessert that we were all saving room for. That's featured in tomorrow's blog post.

"Baked Spaghetti," by Margaret Coalson via Stick Coulson, 13 July 1997.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Cap'n Crunch Cookies

Back on Saturday August 17th, I dashed into the kitchen and an hour later had produced a fine plate of Cap'n Crunch cookies. This is an incredibly dependable recipe that produces really terrific cookies.

"Cap'n Crunch Cookies," found online at The Capitol Baker, with credit going to The Sugar Plum Blog for inspiration and the source of the adapted recipe.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Meal No. 2427: Tender Baked Chicken Thighs

Last Friday the main meal of the day was a filling feast of baked chicken thighs, together with roasted broccoli florets and roasted baby potatoes.

"Baked Tender Chicken Thighs," from Valentina's Corner.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

White Chocolate Walnut Blondies

At the end of the previous week, I piloted a new blondie recipe, a version that features white chocolate and walnuts that really combine quite nicely, and they were a definite hit.

With me, for sure. They were a definite hit with me.

And with others, presumably, according to the small bit of buzz I heard. But they were on the money for me whether anybody else cared for them or not.

Based on "White Chocolate Walnut Blondies with Maple Cream Sauce," from Jillian Hatsumi of [Published 23 July 2018]

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Meal No. 2426: Skillet Beef Stroganoff

Last Thursday's main meal of the day: skillet beef stroganoff. Full of flavor and belly-warmingly delicious!

Based on "Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Dinner in a Skillet," by Emeril Lagasse. Found online at The Food Network.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Red Velvet Cookies

I carved out a bit of leisurely kitchen time last Tuesday afternoon in order to bring back red velvet cookies with white chocolate morsels...something I hadn't made in over five years, for gosh sakes! And that's a silly long-term oversight, because these deceptively simple cookies are also quite good (especially hot out of the oven, of course).

"Red Velvet Cookies," in Cuisine at Home, September/October 2013, p. 46.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Meal No. 2425: Roasted Salmon over Caesar-Topped Greens

As a small squall passed through Winston last Tuesday, with its meager offering of rainwater, I roasted a delicious thick and sizable slab of salmon that was then served on power greens topped with generous dobs of homemade creamy Caesar dressing. Yet again, that salmon was perfectly cooked and moist and tender and flavorful.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Meal No. 2424: Pork Medallions with Ginger-Soy-Shiitake Cream Sauce

When Mookie and Kristen came for dinner last Sunday night, one might say the menu choice had a reasonable chance of being well-received...because the last time I made it was at Kristen's request for her birthday back in late winter. It all turned out pretty well again this time, with roasted broccoli florets being substituted for the Brussels sprout gratin I'd fixed back in March.

Cream Sauce based on "Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce," from The Bon Appétit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild, 2006, p. 398-399.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Meal No. 2423: A Brunch Quiche

Last Sunday offered an opportunity to get together again with Greensboro friends and colleagues Amy and Cile, with a simple homemade brunch as our focus. I made a bacon, Gruyère, and caramelized onion quiche and served it with fresh fruit and a swirled Bundt coffee cake.

For dessert, Amy brought an incredible croissant-and-caramel bread pudding that was all too tempting and all too delicious, together with some dulce de leche ice cream. It was such a great visit!

Recipe based on "Bacon and Caramelized Onion Quiche," from Mountain Mama Cooks.