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Cherokee – A Sentimental Place

Do you remember in the fall of last year when there were so many fires burning in Western North Carolina?  It was a scary time and I thought of the many places that were effected by the fires.  Mr. D and I took a road trip to Cherokee in November and I wanted to share it with you.  So as you look at the pictures you will see fall leaves and I just think it makes the pictures even brighter.

We did see smoke and a haze over the mountains and it was alarming.  We visited Cherokee before the horrible fires in Gatlinburg.  If it would have been a normal time I would have just shared with you how my family went to the Cherokee area of Western North Carolina for our annual vacation.  I can remember the excitement of my Mother and Daddy as they prepared for an entire week without having to work.  I also remember how much they loved the Maggie Valley and Cherokee area of western North Carolina.

It amazed me to go back to a place I visited so long ago and to see some landmarks that are still there.  Even though I am more of a beach girl, I do have an appreciation for the native Americans of our country and what they must have endured with the invasion of the immigrants.

The pictures I am sharing with you are of downtown Cherokee.  There is a beautiful park across the street from Harrah’s Casino.  The shops that lined the main street of downtown Cherokee haven’t changed much but I was amazed to see such a beautiful park.  I am also glad the Casino is there to help the people of the community to have year round employment.  I think it is a great boost for the community.

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The picture below is of a tree at the park and I am sharing it because I really liked this tree for some reason.

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The following pictures are different views of the park.

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The picture below is of a tree in the park and I like the way it turned out.

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More park pictures and there are lots of walking trails in the park.

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If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am always motivated by food.  We decided to visit the Waynesville/Cherokee area after seeing a picture of a restaurant we visited over 25 years ago named Clyde’s.  It is in Waynesville and the food was wonderful.  We decided to give it another try.

img_20161112_121736541We were not disappointed and we loved the rolls and cornbread.

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Mr. D had fried pork chops with green beans, potatoes and fried okra.  He said it was delicious.

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I had fried chicken that I would say is real close to the quality of Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah.  The okra, apples and macaroni and cheese was good.  The vegetables were seasoned well and not greasy.

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The dessert of the day at Clyde’s was strawberry cobbler.  We decided to order one serving to go.  The waitress came back to the table and said, “Shhhh!  I gave you two servings because I wanted you to have enough for both of you.”  Needless to say, we had a large portion of strawberry cobbler later and it was delicious too.

As I became a teenager, it was hard for me to understand why we had to go to the mountains every year.  After leaving home, my parents went to the mountains every year until they were not able to visit the area anymore.  Now, I do understand that as we have our annual visit to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  That is our happy place and the mountains were my parents happy place.

I will admit I do not have much of a desire to visit the mountains and I do believe it is because I had to go so much when I was young.

Thanks for stopping by.

Marinated Chicken Wings – Our Super Bowl Choice

As I have been shopping in the grocery stores over the past week, I have been amazed at all the party food that is available for the Super Bowl.  It has truly become an event that includes food and it includes some of our favorite appetizers and fun time foods. I  I think by now many of us have broken all of our New Year’s resolutions and are ready for a special treat.

We will have the usual of chip and dip, cheese and crackers and the marinated chicken wings I am sharing with you today.  This recipe was sent to me by my California cousin and it seems to be a good one and easy to make.

Marinated Chicken Wings

20 whole chicken wings (about 4 lbs.)

1 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tbsp sugar

2 garlic cloves/minced

1 tsp ground ginger.

Cut chicken wings into 3 sections and discard the wing tips.  Put wings in large resealable plastic bag.

In small bowl whisk the remaining ingredients until blended

Add to chicken wings, seal bag and turn to coat – refrigerate overnight

Transfer chicken and marinade to slow cooker.  Cook covered on low for 3 to 4 hours until tender.

Using tongs transfer to plate and serve.

I love buffalo wings but sometimes they are just too hot and spicy.  This seems to be a a great alternative.

I hope you are planning a great Super Bowl Sunday with special friends and family.  We aren’t big sports fans anymore but we do love the food that goes along with the game.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Lasagna Soup

Here in the foothills of North Carolina, we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather.  Last week I decided I wanted to make this soup and when I did my menu planning it was cold enough for soup.  On the day we planned to have it, it was close to 70 degrees.  I felt like turning on the air conditioner to let it get a little cooler so we could enjoy the soup.  However, the heartiness of the soup along with the pasta helped to make it very enjoyable even in warmer weather.

This is the first time I have made this soup and it was sent to me by my California cousin.  I used the whole wheat penne pasta in for the pasta and it has such a good rich flavor and you could imagine eating something italian while consuming it.  One of my favorite things about the soup is the fact that you don’t have to peel and chop lots of vegetables and most of us would have the ingredients in our kitchen.

 

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Lasagna Soup

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 large green pepper chopped

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

2 14 ½ ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained

2 14 ½ ounce cans of beef broth

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 cup frozen corn

¼ cup tomato paste

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 ½ cups uncooked spiral pasta

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan cook beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another couple of minutes.  Drain.

Return to saucepan and stir in tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, corn, tomato paste and Italian seasoning and black pepper.

Bring to a boil, stir in pasta, reduce heat, simmer covered 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

I am not complaining about the warmer weather even though I have noticed my tulips are beginning to peep out of the ground.  It is my understanding the cold weather is returning next weekend.  Because our snow has melted off the grill and we are experiencing warmer temperatures, I have really wanted to start grilling again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Long Distance Grandmothers and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a long distance grandmother as I only see my grandchildren two or three times a year.  Sometimes I feel as if I am some kind of misfit when I mention that to a grandmother that lives in the same town or even the same neighborhood as their grandchildren.  That look they give me reminds me of the look I would get from stay-at-home moms when I was a working mom in the 70’s and 80’s. It is almost as if they do not know how to relate to me and sometimes I think they really feel sorry for me. It was very hard for me at first when I realized there were so many everyday things that I would miss.  However, I have accepted this situation and try to make the best of it.  I think a lot of that comes from the wisdom of being 69 years old.  If I whined or complained about the situation, it wouldn’t change a thing.

Our grandchildren came for a visit at Christmas and we had a good time with them.  I have a granddaughter that is five and a grandson that is 8.  We will probably not see them again until sometime next Summer.  We have a good relationship with our grandchildren as we send them packages for holidays when we aren’t together.  We usually Skype with them to watch them open their birthday gifts from us.

I wanted to share a grandmother recipe with you today.  So I tried to think of something I would like to make for my grandchildren if they lived down the street.  I chose this recipe from Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen for chocolate chip cookies.  Nothing smells any better than chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven and nothing tastes better than warm chocolate chip cookies. Miss Kay is a grandmother too and her children live close to her so I am sure she has made these cookies many times for them.

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I would be thrilled if my circumstances would change and our grandchildren would be nearby.  That isn’t the way things are now and I enjoy watching them grow up from a distance.  Last summer they went on vacation and decided on their on to buy little mementos for me and Mr. D.  And at Christmas my daughter told me she made deviled eggs for Thanksgiving and when my grandson tasted them he said he knew who made the best deviled eggs.  She asked him who was that and he said Grandma.  That made this Grandma very happy.

I am thankful that I have two grandchildren and they live in the US.  My grandson lived in Africa the first two years of his life and my granddaughter was born in France.  However, now I think they will stay stateside so you can see that I am pleased they are somewhere in the USA.  I think being a long distance grandmother helps me to see my grandchildren more objectively.  They are typical normal kids and I try not to put them on a pedestal and I don’t share pictures of them all the time.

However, I do believe pictures are worth a thousand words and here are some pictures of our grandchildren from their last visit. Mr. D got a selfie stick for Christmas and we had fun taking pictures with it.

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Before I post this, I want to say my heart goes out to grandmothers and Grandfathers everywhere that for any number of circumstances are raising their grandchildren.  I see examples of that everyday and I see Grands that have postponed retirement and many other luxuries of retirement because of that responsibility.  They are truly dedicated and wonderful Grands.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Snowy Weekend – Let’s Have Barbecued Meatballs

Over the weekend we had a significant snowfall here in the foothills of North Carolina.  Actually, it is my favorite type of snowfall.  It began on Friday afternoon with big fluffy flakes of snow.  It continued through the night and snowed for a short period of time on Saturday morning.  I think our accumulation totals was eight inches.

Another reason I liked this snow is because it happened on the weekend and we didn’t have to go to work and could just enjoy watching it snow.  I was also appreciative of the fact that it was snow and not sleet or freezing rain.  The kids in our neighborhood had a good time in the snow but it was extremely cold all weekend.  Of course, I don’t think kids ever admit they are cold when they are playing in the snow.

Here are some pictures:


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Before the snow, I had chosen the following recipe to share with you.  I thought it was such a comforting recipe for a cold January day.  Of course, I love barbecue so it really appealed to me.  It is from a recipe book from a local cook that compiled recipes of her friends and family and named the book, “Susie’s Dinner Bell.”

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I hope you enjoy the recipe.  If you are experiencing a snowy day, I hope you are safe and warm.  Thanks for stopping by.

Southern New Year’s Meal My Way

In the South, a traditional New Year’s Day meal includes black eyed peas, collards and Hog Jowls.  There are variations across the South of this traditional meal but it is one that I am very familiar with here. First of all, I will say that I don’t eat Hog Jowls and have never prepared them.  Lots of times we only have the black eyed peas, collards and corn bread.  This year I have a few pieces of country ham that I will prepare to go along with the vegetables and corn bread. I see many different variations of how to prepare this meal and I try to keep it simple.

First of all, I can say that I love all the preparation for Christmas and the baking. However, by the time New Year’s arrives I am usually tired of cooking.  I think that is how this version of the New Year’s tradition came about.

Black Eyed Peas

one package of frozen black eyed peas This will serve about four people.

1/2 teaspoon of bacon grease

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook peas according to package directions.  Usually you cover the peas with water, heat to boiling and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and add bacon grease.  Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.  Drain most of the liquid and season with salt and pepper.

Collards

one package of frozen collards – this will also serve about four people

1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Splash of olive oil.

Cook collards according to package directions which are the same as above.  Cover with water – heat to boiling.  Boil for 3 minutes. Reduce to simmer for about 25 minutes.  Drain most of the liquid and add the crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  After blending add a splash of olive oil.

At one time, I would buy the dry beans, soak them and prepare them.  I would also buy the fresh collards and chop them up and cook them.  As I have worked to adjust the frozen package recipe to our taste, I must say that I am just as pleased with my New Year’s Meal prepared with the frozen vegetables.

Our family visited over the Christmas holidays and I was preparing green beans.  My granddaughter asked what we were having and I told her.  She asked me if I was making the beans with bacon.  I had to think for a minute as I was preparing them with 1/2 teaspoon of bacon grease.  I responded by saying, No bacon but I am using bacon juice.  She was fine with that.  I use the canned blue lake green beans and prepare the large can of beans with a minimal amount of bacon grease.  It really does make them tasty.

I hope I have inspired you to make a tasty New Year’s meal very simply and thanks for stopping by.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

Merry Christmas to Y’all

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From my house to yours, I wish for you a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.  Let there be peace on earth during this most special time of the year.  God Bless You and thank you for visiting my blog!

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