17 September 2014

A Most Famous Corn Salad

I'm usually not one to "follow the crowd", but - boy howdy! - did I jump on a bandwagon this time.

I think it was at our family Mother's Day celebration (or was it Easter?) this year that I first had the famous corn salad. Mom brought it to our potluck event. One bite, and I was hooked immediately.

Friendly reconnaissance provided me with the knowledge that this was, in fact, Paula Deen's recipe for corn salad. Funny thing, though, is I cannot find it from the horse's mouth. Partake in a simple round of googling, and you'll find this recipe everywhere. Really. Every. Where. I went as far as page 5 of the Gooooo-gle results, yet was not able to find an "original" Paula Deen connection. I also own three of her cookbooks. Not in them, either. The best I could get online was Paula's Colorful Corn Salad, but it's not exactly the same.

I can tell you, again based on search results, this recipe has been online since at least 2007. How it escaped my notice for 7 years, I do not know. The procedure is crazy simple: 5 ingredients go into a bowl. Mix, then chill. The directions I saw called for canned corn. I used frozen. Of course, fresh would be optimum.

2 bags frozen corn (thawed & drained) + 2 cups grated cheddar cheese + 1 cup mayo +
1/2 cup chopped red onion + 1 cup chopped green pepper

After the mixture is chilled, and right before serving, add in a bag of
crushed chili cheese flavored corn chips (abt 10 oz.).

While I wouldn't dare call it a healthy side dish, it sure is delicious. The crunch of the chips add something extra to the lightness and, believe it or not, freshness of the corn mixture. Personally, I could eat the corn mixture all by itself. Just add a little salt and heat. No chips required. (My humble opinion.) That might make it a bit better for you.

We served this beside some tasty catfish tacos last night for dinner. Then I ate some with lunch today. Then I ate some more with tonight's dinner... um, I kinda like it.


To satisfy my own curiosity, if you know when and/or where Paula first published this wonderful concoction -- do tell!

Shared at Coffee and Conversation, Fluster's Creative Muster, The Homemaking Party, Mountain Woman Rendezvous, and Wake Up Wednesday.


Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading and following Stephlin's Mountain.

11 September 2014

Vanilla Spiced Zucchini Batter Bread

Tonight's dinner is corn and poblano lasagna. Zucchini is a required ingredient, so before B got in the kitchen to tackle the prep for our evening meal, I snuck in and used what he didn't need to make some bread!

Before I share the recipe for this yumminess, may I ask you a question? Is the term "batter bread" redundant in the instance of the title of this post?

Maybe it's because I bake for a living, or maybe it's because I'm weird (I'll cop to either), but I always differentiate between a batter bread -- or quick bread, if you prefer -- and a traditional dough bread (with yeast).

B comes in the kitchen to ask what I'm making. My reply is, "Zucchini batter bread." He proceeds to tell me saying batter bread is unnecessary. Everyone knows zucchini bread is made with a batter. "Like banana nut bread," he says. I'm quite sure I responded with a you-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about look. But I simply stated, "Well, OK. But don't expect me to change how I say it based on this conversation." -- Thoughts?


The base recipe I used comes from Paula Deen. I did add one ingredient. (I just adore vanilla!) And since I make my own extract, I have the pure stuff right at my fingertips. It smells divine, and I love to see the brown vanilla bean flecks in the mixture.


Doesn't that look delicious? The loaf isn't overly sweet, in my opinion. A slice of this zucchini (batter!) bread would make a nice breakfast, snack, or dessert.  Just don't forget: everything's better with a pat of butter!

Vanilla Spiced Zucchini Batter Bread

Based on Paula Deen's recipe here, scaled down to make a single loaf.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 + 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (or, 1 5/8 cups)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (make your own!)
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon, and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, vegetable oil, eggs, water, zucchini, and lemon juice.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry. Fold in pecans. Pour batter into a greased standard loaf pan (I used an 8" x 3" pan).
  5. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, using the toothpick test to check for doneness. (Mine was done in 54 minutes.)

Yield: 1 standard loaf


The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Shared at All Things Thursday, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, The HomeAcre Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Thriving Thursday, and some of these fine hops.

03 September 2014

Pepperoni Pasta Salad Recipe

I'm not big on salami. Nope. But, pepperoni? Now we're talkin'. I can eat that stuff by the pound.

By - the - pound, I tell ya. Yep.

So when I came across a Betty Crocker recipe for Tuscan Pasta Salad, I knew the first change I would make was the meat. Pepperoni it shall be.

I made some other adaptations simply based on what was available in my kitchen. We all do that, don't we? The end result was pretty delicious. Thanks, Betty, for the inspiration.

I might add a wee little note: I was slightly unimpressed when I first made the dressing. Don't worry, if you are, too. After it sits a bit in the fridge, the flavors marinate together quite harmoniously and become much bolder.

Yellow bell pepper, pepperoni, and red onion.

After a dressing of finely chopped garlic, red wine vinegar, ground black pepper, and olive oil.
This is how it goes in the fridge.

After the addition of Romaine lettuce and Parmesan cheese.
You might be surprised at how the lettuce enhances the flavor -- I was.

Let's eat!

Pepperoni Pasta Salad

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Tuscan Pasta Salad recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 4 oz. pepperoni, cut into thin strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (abt 1 cup)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped (abt 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water to cool; drain again.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cooled pasta, cut pepperoni, chopped yellow bell pepper, and chopped red onion.
  3. In a small bowl, add red wine vinegar, finely chopped garlic, ground black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Whisk until blended. Pour over pasta mixture and combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until chilled.
  4. Just before serving, add romaine lettuce and grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine.

Yield: 6 - 8 servings


Shared at The Backyard Farming Connection, Fluster's Creative Muster, Make Bake Create Party, Mountain Woman Rendezvous, September Linky Party 2014, Wake Up Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, and some of these other fine hops.

02 September 2014

Digitizing Photos: Combining the Front and Back into One Image

As mentioned in a recent post, I've been digitizing a lot of family history stuff of late. Even though this is something I've been slowly (ever. so. slowly.) working on for a while, I needed to get in gear and complete the task. I still have a ways to go, but am finally able to see progress.

For those of us that remember life before digital cameras, what are we to do with all the photos accumulated over the years? There are a lot of options, really. Physical albums and scrapbooks are still popular, of course, but they are just that. Physical. As in, they take up space. When trying to maximize a small living area, or even trying to declutter a larger one, having those things around that are only taken out and enjoyed once a year (or less!) might not be ideal.

Though there are sure to be some physical photographs we own that the thought of parting with gives us the shakes, let's face facts. There are probably a lot (as in, more than we care to admit) lying around that tossing would not be a detriment to our happiness.

For those instances, I've chosen to digitize and store in the cloud. Some stay on my computer hard drive, as well.

So! I thought it might be worth passing along this little tip I stumbled upon this morning. While I have no doubt this trick has been done over and over by other quicker thinkers, it was a light bulb moment for me. :-)

I was digitizing a few photos that also contained captions on the back. (Grandpa Lincecum did a pretty good job remembering to do that on most occasions. That in itself is a rare find!) I wanted to combine the front and back so as to have the caption -- in his writing -- stay with the front image. I simply used the Mosaic collage feature in Google's Picasa to do so with a couple of these, like this:


Well, one of the front-back collage attempts wasn't working the way I wanted. I guess it had something to do with the size of the photo. Anyway, I was playing with the collage settings, clicked on Multiple Exposure, and violĂ !


Pretty cool, huh? Don't forget to digitize the front by itself, so you still have that true image.

Got any tips for digitizing family photos and / or history artifacts?



Shared at September Linky Party 2014, Making a Home, Teach Me Tuesday, Treasure Box Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, and Monday Funday.

31 August 2014

Paring Down, and the Power of Sentimentality

Even though the first stage in our "big move" is still some months away, I've already begun the process of "paring down". We all know how a deadline can creep up on us. It always comes quicker than expected. :-)

I've been doing a lot of painstaking work of late. The kind that is very important, but takes many hours before it appears that anything was accomplished. I'm really into family history / genealogy, and have been going through all of my physical files. I'm transferring and digitizing everything not already done so to my family tree program and the cloud.

Up to this point, I've had no trouble trashing or recycling my paper files. That is, until today.

I just couldn't throw it away. Literally. I was physically unable.

My grandparents on my father's side spent a lot of their "golden years" traveling. And they sent us things from just about every stop. A letter. A post card. A photo. A brochure for something they thought we might like.

Though I can't say I kept everything, at some point, way back in 1998, I thought to myself: "Why am I not keeping this stuff?" So I started. Now I have a good 4+ years worth of letters and such from Grandpa and Grandma. It's much like a travel diary. Before email became the norm, and before Grandpa started creating slide shows on CDs to send. (Yes, I have them, too!)

Reading through these letters today, I (the not-so-sentimental type) thought I could simply transcribe the "important" parts into my family tree program. I was so wrong about that. So. Wrong. In the midst of all the travel news, there are snippets like this one from a 4th of July many moons ago:
Hey Stephanie,
Nostalgia has caught up with us; remember one time in Cape Girardeau at the park when you were so scared when the fire works started? We do! Remember at our house on the back deck when the sparklers were so scary? We do! The next day we found burn spots on the deck where all the sparks fell; no wonder you were scared, we should have been scared too.
Even though I grew up and got over my fear of loud noises (almost!) and sparklers, how can I possibly throw that away?

Grandpa is, thankfully, still with us. But Grandma passed away this past January, and I miss her terribly. Reading about their goings on brought her to life again for me for a brief, fleeting, moment. How can I throw that away?

The answer is, I can't.

Paring down, minimizing, simplifying -- these are words that describe an aspect of the life I'm working hard to create for myself. A life that I know will be enriching and purposeful. And today I learned not to underestimate the power of sentimentality.

Memories that you can hold in your hand are important. And worth keeping.

Shared at Simple Life Sunday, Happiness is Homemade, Simple Saturdays, and Simply Natural Saturdays.


Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading and following Stephlin's Mountain.

12 August 2014

Keys, Bees, & Cleaning Camper Canvas

Things have been a bit busy around here since the last time I wrote about our big news of a plan to move to the mountains. Though B has been working on the camper here and there, I haven't done too much other than get the title and tag. But that changed this morning when we went out to clean the canvas. It was surprisingly simple!

Instead of going straight there, though, I would like to give you a synopsis of my morning.  It might make you giggle, as well as know you're not alone in having "one of those" mornings.

We were up with the sun so we could get the canvas cleaning done before the heat became unbearable. So out and ready go about 7:30. Upon getting out of the car, I made sure to get my phone and camera. After I locked and shut the doors, I quickly (but obviously not quickly enough) realized my keys were still in the ignition. Great. Well, at least I have roadside assistance. Unfortunately, B and the dog couldn't get started with the camper because the key to the storage area was with my car keys. In the ignition. Yep.

Roadside assistance was called and help should have arrived in about 45 minutes. Should have. More than an hour passes and nothing. Finally, I'm back on the phone with roadside assistance -- on hold. By this time (yay!) B and the dog have made it inside the storage area thanks to our wonderful maintenance guy.

I'm on hold, pacing back and forth, getting a bit agitated, for over 30 minutes! About this time, I notice my dog Bear thrashing about where he's tied to a tree in the corner of the storage lot. I (fairly calmly) walk over to see what his problem is to find a bumble bee going after his butt -- literally. It lands (and presumably stings) and Bear is trying to fend it off. I, deathly afraid of anything that stings, prove my love for my child puppy by heading in and trying to get the stinging sucker away. Of course, I'm hollering for B to come help. He does, and after much dashing and swatting, Bear and I were rescued. Apparently Bear dug up a bumble bee hole under aforementioned tree. We were lucky (blessed!) only one nasty stinger was aggressive.

After this bumbling scene (heh, heh) -- still on hold with roadside assistance -- I finally get a contact call from the people supposedly coming to get my keys out of the car. They arrive, my keys are freed, and I am finally able to get started cleaning the canvas on the camper. Two. Hours. Later. Than. Planned.

Now that you've had a good laugh, let me share how surprisingly simple it was to clean some canvas! I was a little apprehensive after reading a bit about what harsh chemicals might do to said canvas (NEVER use bleach!) -- after all, this will be our home for a slightly indeterminate amount of time. -- So all we got was a mild dish liquid, and it did the trick! We didn't apply it directly to the canvas, but instead to a scrubby sponge (nothing too harsh) and went to work in sections, wetting before and rinsing after (it's important not to leave any residue on the canvas). Here are some before and after pictures.



Not too shabby, eh? I'm pleased with the results, and we can check this task off our (super long) to-do list.

Shared at Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party, Making a Home, Teach Me Tuesday, Treasure Box Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, Maple Hill Hop, and some of these other fine hops.

03 August 2014

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate: a Book Review

I just finished an inspirational read I was able to get for Free (love that!) on my Kindle Fire.  A 2014 Christy Award nominee entitled The Prayer Box.

Tandi Reese is running from a drug-filled, abusive relationship. She chooses the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a haven for her and her two children. Though she finds herself in a place she once spent time as a child, not all the memories are good ones.

Yet here she is, renting a cottage from Iola Poole, owner of the historical house and property on which the cottage sits. One day, after Iola unexpectedly passes away, Tandi finds herself cleaning out the old rickety home in exchange for rent. After a bit of snooping, Tandi finds a closet filled to the brim with boxes. Each box is filled with letters written by Iola -- letters to God.

All throughout the book, we see Tandi struggle with many emotions that are holding her back from a better life for her and her children. Feelings of abandonment, unworthiness, and the inability to trust are a few at the top of the list.

Through Iola's letters, we first learn about her past. They also provide inspiration and encouragement to Tandi while she works to build a meaningful, fulfilling life with positive relationships. Of course, along the way, Tandi realizes she is not really alone -- God's grace is all around her.

I rarely highlight passages in books, but found myself doing so in this one. Here are a few I wanted to remember and share.
Nothing that had happened since I'd been on this island had happened at random. I'd been given shelter for my family, food to eat, work to do.

Given.

Gifts. I'd wanted to earn my own way, to do this myself, to form a new life on my own, but instead, this had been given to me. This life. This place. These letters.

This revelation.

Prayers are answered in ways we don't choose. The river of grace bubbles up in unexpected places.
(Another!)
Thank you. I wanted to write it on paper and fold it up in a box to remind myself, the next time I couldn't see anything but mountains ahead, that where there's a mountain, there's always a river flowing nearby.

Ultimately the river is the more powerful of the two.
(One more!)
All my life, I'd let the ties of blood control me, limit me, define me, yet I'd ignored the ties of love. I'd shielded myself from the people who tried to slip inside the armor, who told me that I was worthy.
The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate -- highly recommended!

Shared at Simple Life Sunday, Simple Saturdays Blog Hop, Simply Natural Saturdays, and some of these other fine hops.

I was featured!
Trayer Wilderness


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click the link and buy something. This helps support my mountain homestead dream as well as my blogging activities, and the price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! :-) Thanks for reading and following Stephlin's Mountain.

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