Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chunky Beef Chili in the Crock Pot

Even though it was our day off, we had lots to do today! But I woke up thinking about dinner and decided to use the leftover beef tri-tip for a chili base. I looked in my refrigerator to see what was available to add into it. Let's see, there were onions, garlic and bell pepper--pretty much the holy trinity of every dish. If we were in New Orleans, the holy trinity would include celery, but we are not, and my boys don't care for celery anyhow, so its all good!

I always have to refer to some recipes lately for ideas, even though I can't seem to follow any exactly anymore. Here is one from Bobby Flay: Of course, when I looked at that and saw it called for at least four different chilli powders, I nixed it. I only have two or three chili powders on hand, and that it getting crazy! Hmm, Tyler Florence? That one is getting warmer, but I don't have any ancho chili powder, I just have regular red, pasilla and some chipotle powder. His recipe calls for chipotle chilies. I guess I could just use the powder...okay, nothing to exotic here. Just go!
But now that you are curious, here is a website for different chili powders that gives a bit of an explanation of the different types:

I began by dicing an onion, a green bell pepper that came in our SLO Veg tote last week, and mashing up several cloves of garlic. This chili was going to include beef and beans, so it could stand up to all the garlic, and I had a whole bag full of peeled garlic ready to go here. I like to saute the vegetables in a little oil first, then add them to the crock pot with a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, another can of plain diced tomatoes, and some beef boullion and water. I added a little bit of red and chipoltle chili powders, some coarse salt and black pepper. Then I cubed the leftover beef tri-tip and added it to the pot. I set it for low and let that cook while we did some yard chores and Lee changed the oil on my car. Later, about an hour before it would be time to eat, I will add in some canned pinto beans. Sometimes I add black beans, kidney beans, or other beans, but today I just feel like plain old pintos.

Beef, tomatoes, green bell peppers and onions are the base for this crock pot chili. Beans get added in later.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hearty Guacamole!

Lee and I just loved guacamole, and avocado is something that is good for you! It has the "good fats" and has fiber, too. Avocados are good for your heart! Here is a link for some fun facts from the California Avocado Commission:

I made a snack of guacamole and water crackers using some nice ripe avocados we got fresh from a friend's backyard tree. They are the same type of avocados we got in our SLO Veg box a few weeks ago, the Bacon variety. The fruit inside was green, soft and unblemished. I just scooped it out into a bowl and mashed it with a fork, then added some coarse sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, granulated garlic, chopped cherry tomatoes from SLO Veg, and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. I also mixed in a large tablespoon full of sour cream just to make it a little creamier. That and a squeeze of lime juice is all you need to make a yummy snack.

Corn on the Cob, Garlic Fries

Roasted Corn on the Cob...its the best! We got some nice, sweet ears of corn from SLO Veg this week and I knew just how I wanted to prepare it...super simple, just grilled in its own husk on the barbecue pit. I had to search for a recipe with a good chili-mayo to rub on the corn. This link is the closest thing to it, but instead of using a chili in adobe sauce, I just used chipotle chili powder because it was handy. I also added granulated garlic, pepper and salt. I used parmesan cheese because its tastey, but if I had some cojita cheese on hand I probably would have used that.

The meat is really just an accompaniment to these vegetables. Basically, I marinated a tri-tip steak in canola oil with some all-purpose seasoning and a few sprigs of cilantro. But first, using another Barbecue Bob tip, I poked slits into the meat using a paring knife and inserted whole cloves of garlic, intermittently spaced about two inches apart. I started up my little Weber charcoal grill and waited for the coals to catch and burn down for an hour, then I put the tri-tip on. Two ears of corn fit neatly around the tri-tip, so dinner is cooking. I also prepared some potatoes for frying in my first attempt at garlic fries. I saw one of the barbecue masters do it at the races last week, so I am attempting to recreate his recipe. BBQ Bob made a paste out of a whole mini-chopper full of garlic cloves, then added a tablespoon of basil pesto and about a half cup of olive oil. If he put anything else into it, I missed it. So now my garlic is pasted and ready to soak up the french fries. 

I began by peeling the potatoes and running them through my old Oster Kitchen center french fryer. Its the reason I keep this appliance around! I soaked the potatoes in water to keep them from browning before it was time to cook, and also to draw out the excess starch. I can drain them and fry them just before its time to eat them. French fries are only good fresh and hot, as far as I am concerned.

Then I got out a small bowl and mixed up a half cup of mayo with the chipotle spice and Santa Maria Seasoning blend, which is salt, granulated garlic and black pepper. Its about a 2:1:1 ratio. A little squeeze of a half lime went into it, also, and its ready to spread on the corn-on-the-cob when it comes off the grill. Once the mayo is spread on the corn, it is then rolled in parmesan cheese and ready to eat.

The funny part is that for some reason I didn't think the son would be home tonight, so I only roasted two ears of corn and french fried three potatoes. I really wanted him to try the fries, though. I guess I will have enough to share with him...but maybe not the friends he brought home. They will have to eat whatever stuff they of them brought a Marie Callender's cream pie!

Oh shoot, I had plenty of fries...Taylor and his friends got a whole bowl-full.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bottom of the Barrel Pasta

It's the night before delivery day from SLO Veg, and I need something yummy for dinner. Let's see, I have onions: red, yellow, and a leek. I think I will go with the leek. There is corn on the cob that I thought Lee would boil the other night, but he didn't. Also, the basil, cilantro and flat-leafed parsely that I had stored in a plastic tub were still crisp. That, and some purple cabbage are all the fresh vegetables I have in my frig right now. Tomorrow's delivery of vegetables and fruit will be just in the nick of time. 

Angel hair Pasta with Shrimp
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and precooked
1 leek
4 basil leaves
3 sprigs Italian flat-leafed parsley
1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
7 oz. Angel hair pasta

Bring pasta water to a boil and add salt. Put the pasta on and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until al dente. Meanwhile, saute the sliced leeks in butter for a few minutes, then add the shrimp and heat through. Pour in a jar of prepared Alfredo sauce and season with chopped fresh basil and parsley. Serve over pasta. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.

Delivery Day!

Delivery day always makes me happy!

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 07/22/2013 - 07/26/2013 THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES:
White Nectarines, Vine Ripened Strawberries, White Peaches, " Red Flame" Grapes, Romaine Lettuce, Cucumbers, Green Bell Peppers, Zucchini/Squash Blend, White/Yellow Corn on the Cob, Purple/White/Green Bean Blend, Golden Beets, Red Russian Kale, Red Cherry and Red & Yellow Pear Tomato Blend 

Nectarine and Almond Crisp; Spiced Rice with Nectarines; Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette; Strawberry Shortcake; Peach and Strawberry Crumble; Sweet Grilled Peaches with Honey Vanilla Mascarpone with Walnut Sugar; Chicken with Grapes, Cous Cous and Roasted Asparagus; Grape Chutney; Caesar Salad with Parmesan Crisps; Salmon Grilled Between Romaine Leaves; Spicy Tuna Roll with Cucumber; Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers; Spanish Stuffed Bell Peppers; Grilled Corn on the Cob with Dill Butter; Sautéed Green Beans with Tomatoes and Basil Served with Parmesan Crisps; Crispy Kale Chips; Quick Kale with Bacon; Penne with Cherry Tomatoes and Asparagus

Bautista Farms, Cal Poly Organic Farms, Martinon Farms, The Fruit Factory  

Lavender Mustard on Fish

Remember the lavender that came in the box two weeks ago? I had put it into a vase and basically forgot about cooking with it. So today I made some lavender mustard with a recipe from the SLO Veg website. I think I will use it as a sauce on the fish we got in today's box. I think it is Pacific Grenedier, a white fish. I am sure this sauce would be fantastic on salmon, also, but that's not one of Lee's favorite fishes...humph!

I simply sauteed the kale with some red onion and olive oil for about five minutes. Then I oiled the bottom of my ramekins and piled the kale into them. I topped that with the fish and brushed it with the sauce. Bake for about 10 minutes on 400 degrees. My dinner was accompanied by steamed yellow squash slathered in butter. I also cooked some brown rice in the rice cooker, adding chicken broth, dried ground shrimp and parsley leaves. It was the best rice I have had in a long while!

White fish on a bed of sauteed kale, sauced and ready to bake at 400 degrees
This recipe is from the SLO Veg website:

Lavender Mustard 

Honey mustard with lavender
Yield: 1 1/2 Cups 
Level: Easy 
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
1 cup chopped fresh lavender
*Note: I only used about 1 Tbs lavender! 
1/4 cup honey 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1/4 cup Dijon mustard 
1/4 cup grain mustard 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl 
and season with salt and pepper. 

after the addition of balsamic vinegar

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chicken, Coleslaw, and a Clean Refrigerator!

We got back home yesterday after a long weekend at the motorcycle races at Laguna Seca in Monterey. Let me tell you, track food is not like home cooking. We are volunteers and the lunches are prepared for a couple of hundred workers, so it is usually barbecued chicken and pulled pork or ribs, some kind of steamed vegetables and various salads. The potato and macaroni salads are pre-made, and I can hardly bring myself to eat any of it. There was a pretty good fruit salad with mango and strawberries mixed in that I did eat a lot of. We are usually on our own for dinner, so sometimes we get reheated the lunch food. We got breakfast burritos in the morning from a vendor, and occasionally we buy vendor food for dinner. Someone brought over some orange chicken and rice, and while it looked kind of appealing, the chicken was dry and crunchy. It probably had been prepared in the morning and was warming in a steam pan all day long. One night one of the guys made barbecued tri-tip and pork carnitas with a homemade tomatillo salsa, so that was a nice treat. On Sunday night, Lee took me to Monterey for dinner at our favorite place on Alvarado Street, Rosine's. They have great fresh salads that taste like they just came in from the fields, huge hot turkey or roast beef or Rueben sandwiches and really good Italian dishes.

I tried to use up most of what was in the frig last week and even took a "vacation break" from our weekly SLO Veg delivery, but there were still things in the frig this week. Hmmmm, I needed to investigate. I ended up pulling everything out, washing all the bins and wiping down the inside of the refrigerator and washing my rubber mats that I line my vegetable bins with. In the process I found a few science projects in full bloom, if you know what I mean. How long had that blueberry jam been in the back of the frig for, anyways? I got it at the Avila Valley Barn farm stand back in ... January? I didn't even keep the jar on that one. Out went some avocado dressing that I had forgotten about, along with some super-duper hot salsa someone had given Lee months ago. I know, bad huh? At least I know the vegetables are fresh...well, sort of. Which week did we get that fennel, anyways? and the cabbage, and the beets?

After checking everything for mildew, I determined the beets were fine, and so was the cabbage and fennel. I just had to peel off the outer leaves..more stuff for the compost pile. I decided to make that roasted beet salad that I love so much, so I washed them and trimmed the ends and popped them into the oven in a foil packet on a baking sheet to roast while I continued cleaning out the frig. I ended up taking everything out, shelf by shelf, and washing all the shelves and bins in hot, soapy water. It was kind of nice to not have a completely full refrigerator for a change, so I didn't have so much to pull out. I also had four ears of corn, so I started thinking of my dinner menu and decided corn on the cob and coleslaw would make nice accompaniments for fried chicken. I knew I had some chicken in the freezer, so I pulled out a package of legs and thighs that I had frozen a couple of weeks ago in meal-sized packages.

Once I had the entire refrigerator cleaned out and reorganized, I turned to my chicken and coleslaw. First I took the beets I had been roasting out of the oven and let them cool off in the foil packet. I would put them into the frig to chill before peeling and then finish that salad a little later. I had been defrosting the chicken in the microwave, so it was ready for rinsing and frying. I rinsed it in cold water, patted it dry, and then rolled it in a pie plate with some flour and cornmeal seasoned with all-purpose seasoning (salt, pepper, sugar, turmeric, paprika, garlic and onion powder, cornstarch) that I have on hand.
I heated up some coconut oil and olive oil and proceeded to brown the chicken on all sides. Then I moved the pieces to that same baking sheet that I had used to roast my beets on and put the chicken into the oven to finish baking for about 30 minutes longer.

I have decided I like a vinegar and oil dressing on my coleslaw these days, rather than a mayonnaise-type dressing that I had grown up on. I sliced up the some green and red cabbage along with half a red onion and the fennel bulb. I had to peel off the outer layers of fennel, but there was plenty left to give my coleslaw a nice tang. I rinsed it all in my salad spinner and spun it dry. Then I mixed up a dressing of olive oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. I tasted it and decided to add a little more sugar and some of the "Everyday" seasoning blend we get at Trader Joe's. It has sea salt, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, paprika, onion, garlic and chili flakes and comes in a grinder. Lee really likes a few grinds on top of his green salads that he packs every day for work. I am packing my food up for lunch at work tonight, and the guys can reheat the chicken tonight when they dish up their dinner plates. I am going to have to buy some salad at the grocery store today to get us through this week, because my SLO Veg box won't be here for a couple of days. Sigh. We sure miss our fresh vegies.

I still have another small head of purple cabbage left. I think I have some brats in the freezer too...another dinner this week: Beer brats and sauteed cabbage!



1 head green cabbage
1 head purple cabbage
1/2 red onion
1/2 fennel bulb

1/2 C olive or avocado oil
1/4 rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper, a few shakes
1 Tbs sugar
3-4 grinds of TJ's Everyday seasoning

Shred the cabbage, onion and fennel and mix together in a large bowl. Blend the dressing ingredients in a small jar and pour onto the vegetables. Stir until all the cabbage is coated, then put into the frig to marinate for at least an hour before serving.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Creamy Tomato Penne with Shrimp

I saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website and just had to have it! In a premeditated move, I bought two bags of frozen shrimp when I made a pit stop at Trader Joe's the other day--one bag for this dish, and one for something else later, or sooner!

My two grand-nieces were spending the week with me and they both are Food Network junkies! They like to cook and bake and try new foods, which I think is pretty rare in teenagers, but I love it! The best part is that they have been trained to clean up after, too! So my niece Savvy was telling me some of her favorite dishes to make were Creamy Tomato Tortellini and Abondigas soup and spaghetti (you put Siracha in it!). I would say she has a pretty sophisticated palate.

We got that lovely purple basil in our SLO Veg box last week, and I stored it in the frig in a plastic dish with a paper towel to absorb moisture. It has kept pretty well, but I need to use it up and I can add it to this dish! Savvy and I (acting as Sous chef) started the water for the penne, then proceeded to saute the onion and garlic in butter and oil. The shrimp were already cook, tails removed, so all I had to do was rinse them and chop them up. We added the wine, let it cook down, then added the tomato sauce and cream. After a few minutes of simmering, the shrimp went into the pool along with the basil and parsley and some salt and pepper. Meanwhile, Birdy had buttered a loaf of sourdough bread and spread fresh minced garlic on top of it and we had it toasting in the oven. We also had cauliflower roasting in the oven and it was just about done, nicely browned on the edges. Lee cleared off the dining room table so we could all sit down and have a delicious family meal. Everybody got their beverages and the feast began!

Creamy Tomato Penne with Shrimp, or Penne a la Betsy, as Ree calls it!

Recipe from Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman

Penne a la Betsy


  • 3/4 pounds Penne Pasta
  • 1 pound Shrimp
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion (small)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup White Wine, Or To Taste
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Parsley, to taste
  • Fresh Basil - To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.
Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.
Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).
Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.
Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs

Here is another recipe from SLO Veg:

Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette (Cauliflower) 

yield: Makes 4 (side dish) servings 

active time: 20 min 

total time: 35 min 

Cutting cauliflower into thick, meaty slices, core and all, is a neat trick. 
So is roasting it, which brings out the best in this vegetable, caramelizing its 
edges and playing up its nuttiness. A briny olive vinaigrette adds just the right 
sharp-savory note. 
1 (2 1/2-to 3-pounds) head cauliflower 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
1 small garlic clove 
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste) 
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped 
Preparation: Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third. Cut cauliflower lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Put in a large 4-sided sheet pan and toss with 2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast, turning once or twice, until golden and just tender, about 25 minutes. While cauliflower roasts, mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then whisk together with lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, olives, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve cauliflower drizzled with Kalamata vinaigrette. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cioppino (fish stew)

A couple of weeks ago Lee and I went to dinner at a friend's house and were delighted to be served Cioppino. It was a treat, for sure. The hostess assured me it was easy to make. I asked my niece Savvy if she had ever made Cioppino. "No, but I have always wanted to try it," she answered (which totally cracks me up because when I was 16, I am fairly sure I didn't have a clue what cioppino even was!). Great, because I had never made it either, if you don't count the time I bought some frozen boxed cioppino from Trader Joe's. I am borrowing a recipe today from Rachel Ray.

Anyway, I had some fish from SLO Veg in the freezer (we just didn't have time to cook it when it was fresh on delivery day) and I decided to get it out and defrost it this morning. I also had shrimp, so all I would need to pick up was scallops and mussels or clams. We were going to the beach today in Avila Beach, so maybe we could pick some scallops up there. I wasn't sure if there was a fish market in town or if we would have to go out on the wharf, but we would find out. Kind of sad that I have never purchased fresh fish in Avila Beach before and I have lived in this area all my life! I barely get it from Morro Bay, which is closer to home. That's why I have it delivered with my SLO Veg box each week...automatic! What actually happened was we got to the beach kind of late in the day, spent a few hours in the sun and then went and got an ice cream cone at Reimer's Candy Store, then checked out the Avila Grocery store to see if they had any fresh fish. Nope...deli stuff only. Okay, to the wharf we go!

It looked kind of deserted when we got out there to Old Port on the Harford Pier, meaning there were lots of parking spots available, something you don't see along Front Street in Avila Beach. I parked the car on the paved parking lot and we walked all the way down the wharf to Old Port San Luis where there is a restaurant and a fish market. It was a weird kind of de ja vue as the first and last time I had ever been here was when we went to dinner at Old Port with our more grown up friends. I think I was about 20 years old at the time. Long, long time ago! Today it was about 4:45 pm, and wouldn't you know it? They closed the fish market at 4:30! Guess I will have to stop at the grocery store on the way home for scallops and mussels.

I was disappointed to find no mussels or clams at the grocery store we stopped at, but they did have some scallops there. (I discovered later had I stopped at the Albertson's in Arroyo Grande I would have found a great selected of shellfish). I guess fish, shrimp and scallops will have to do for this batch of Cioppino. I planned to prepare all the vegetables and fish, then let my niece put it all together in the right order. There is a certain order to it, because the fish chunks need to cook just a bit longer than the scallops and shrimp.

I diced celery, onion and carrots for a mirepoix. You know what that is, right? Well my niece does. As I was dicing up the vegies, she says, "Oh, you're making mirepoix." Yeah, I am...a "mere qua". Wish I knew how to spell it. Had to google it. Maybe if I had been raised on Food Network instead of I Love Lucy I would know these things. The mirepoix, butter and oil went into the pot. I deviated from Rachel's recipe, because I forgot the anchovie-red pepper infusion-thing, which is pretty bad because I had Lee at the computer verbally reading off the recipe to me. I just had Savvy add some anchovie paste into the mirepoix. It was fine. We added the chicken broth and tomato base, then seasoned the broth with a dash of fish sauce and a sprinkle of dried ground shrimp, two ingredients I happened to have in my pantry. I figured it would make the soup base fishier and richer. It did! Some chopped fresh parsley followed that, along with the chunks of fish which had been seasoned with salt and pepper. We looked at the clock and gave it five minutes, then added the scallops and shrimp. The pot was topped with the lid and we waited another 10 minutes. It seemed like a long wait, because we were getting not only the aroma of the fish cooking, but also of a coffee cake baking in the oven. Heavenly!
Finally, after heating up some sliced sourdough to accompany our stew, we all sat down in front of the TV and had a great meal.

Rachel Ray's Cioppino
1/4 cup (3 turns around the pan in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 to 3 flat fillets of anchovies, drained
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup good quality dry white wine
1 (14-ounce) container chicken stock
1 (32-ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed (about 1 tablespoon)
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 pounds cod, cut into 2-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
8 large shrimp, ask for deveined easy-peel or peel and devein
8 sea scallops
16 to 20 raw mussels, scrubbed
A loaf of fresh, crusty bread, for mopping

In a large pot over moderate heat combine oil, crushed pepper, anchovies, garlic, and bay. Let anchovies melt into oil. The anchovies act as a natural salt, the pepper flakes will infuse the oil, providing heat.

Chop celery and onion near stove and add to the pot as you work. Saute vegetables for a few minutes to begin to soften and add wine to the pot. Reduce wine a minute, then add chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to medium low.

Season fish chunks with salt and pepper. Add fish and simmer 5 minutes, giving the pot a shake now and then. Do not stir your soup with a spoon after the addition of fish or you will break it up. Add shrimp, scallops, and mussels and cover pot. Cook 10 minutes, giving the pot a good shake now and again.

Remove the lid and discard any mussels that do not open. Carefully ladle stew into shallow bowls and pass bread at the table.

Read more at:

***NOTE: Rachel's recipe doesn't call for carrots, for a true mirepoix, but since I had a whole bunch of carrots on hand, I decided the cioppino called for it. Au revoir!

Bluberry Crumb Coffee Cake

I found this recipe on Facebook and had to share it. It was funny, because in the comments attached to the post, people were saying to just leave out the cardamon, a not-too-common spice that is pretty pricey. But I have some cardamon! I got it for one of my Ukrainian cake recipes in February and I still have quite a bit left...better use it up! We also had some frozen blueberries from SLO Veg in the freezer, so all I needed to get at the store was more buttermilk, because I always have everything else listed here. 
My niece offered to make it tonight, so I just got everything out and measure out the dry ingredients, then had her mix in the wet stuff and spread it in the baking casserole dish. She did a great job and served it up with some butter pecan ice cream. Yum!

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake
My niece Birdy was in charge of this one!
Crumble topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup butter, softened

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, but do not thaw!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9″ square pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients, mixing together with a fork until crumbly; set aside. In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining butter and sugar. Blend in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Blend in the flour mixture and cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Fold in the blueberries. (The dough is quite stiff, so be patient as you’re folding in the berries! Don’t mush them up!)

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the crumble topping. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool, and cut into 9 large squares.

Source: Facebook and Examiner New England Food
Big sister approves! She said the topping was her favorite part.
She would probably make this again!

Tuscan Panzanella Salad

We had some sourdough french bread leftover from last night's Creamy Tomato Penne and I knew just the right thing to do with it. Make Tuscan Panzanella Salad!
Lee approved!
Italian bread salad
I had just one more luscious SLO Veg tomato left from last week's shipment, and I used it in this salad. I quartered each halve for a total of 8 slices of tomato. Then I sliced up a half a red onion, and chopped up some parsley and that purple basil. We are really getting our basil fix this week! I made the dressing using olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic and salt and pepper. The dressing and the vegies were put into a bowl to marry the flavors all day long in the frig while we played. Just before serving, my niece Savvy cubed the bread and tossed it with the vegies. It was super fantastico!

This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse on  the Food Network recipe site:


4 large vine ripened tomatoes, cut into large cubes or wedges
1/2 pound stale country-style Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 8 cups)
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced red onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Italian extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed, washed and spun dry, turn into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, bread, and onions.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar and oil. Pour the dressing over the bread salad and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Add the basil and salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine. Serve.

Read more at:


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mexican-style bean and vegetable soup

We had a long day at the annual family picnic, but of course people are hungry when you get what could we make that was quick and filling? Soup! from leftovers!

My nieces Birdy and Savvy eating the Mexican soup.
My nieces came to stay with me for a few days and they are Food Network junkies. The 16-year-old is getting to be quite a good cook. She says her specialties are Abondigas soup and Creamy Tomato Tortellini. As you can tell, her palate is pretty advanced for a kid. Alton Brown's influence is all encompassing! The 13-year-old is no slouch, either. Good job, Mommy, on raising kids who like to eat real food!

So after a successful day of barbecue beef burgers, turkey burgers and grilled portabello mushrooms by my husband Lee, we needed a light pick-me-up to tide us over for the evening. I had some bacon, leftover sauteed squash and corn, and some stuff in cans. I figured I would crisp up some diced bacon and cook the onions in the bacon grease. Then I let my niece take over. She opened a large can (28 oz) of kidney beans and diced tomatoes and poured it into the pot along with the sauteed squash and corn. Now the fun part: seasoning! I offered her my array of chili powders and she picked the red chili powder and the chipotle powder. She added some flaked oregano and granulated garlic, plus salt and black pepper. We tasted it and decided it needed more salt and more spice, so she added more chili powder. The next taste was more satisfying and we declared it done. The soup was served in large bowls and topped with shredded Mexican cheese and a dollop of sour cream.


4 strips of bacon, diced and browned
1/2 onion, diced
1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 large (28 oz) can kidney, pinto, or black beans
2 cups chicken broth
salt 1 tsp
black pepper 1/2 tsp
garlic powder 1 tsp
chili powders, 2 tsp of any variety

Brown the bacon and cook the onions in the bacon grease. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, beans and seasonings. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle on some shredded Mexican cheese.  Makes about 8 bowls of soup.


I just had to share the hit dessert that my daughter Jayne made for the picnic. I found the recipe idea on Pinterest. It was jello sand cups with Blue Raspberry jello for the water, a layer of cool whip, then cookies crumbled and mixed with vanilla pudding for the sand. Each one was topped with an umbrella, a beach ball jaw breakers, a fruit strip gum beach blanket, and a teddy graham sun bather. Fun, fun, fun!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bruschetta with Purple Basil

Had to make a little snack...basil-tomato bruschetta. Sourdough bread...gotta make it on sourdough. Sourdough spritzed with olive oil and rubbed with a garlic clove. Toasted. Smeared with Parmesan-cottage cheese and topped with a slice of tomato...fresh, vine-ripened tomato. With basil, purple if you can get it. I did. It came in the box from SLO Veg this week. I am in heaven!

1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
3-4 basil leaves, diced fine
garlic cloves, halved
olive oil
6-8 slices of sourdough bread
In a food chopper or processor, blend cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, lemon zest and basil until smooth. Spritz one side of bread lightly with olive oil and rub with a garlic clove. Toast until lightly browned. Spread with cottage cheese mixture. Top with a slice of tomato and sprig of basil. Enjoy!

Bread and Butter Pickles

I made Bread and Butter Pickles for the first time ever. It's been a long time since I first dreamed of making my own pickles like this, I think ever since I tasted my bestie Jane's mom's bread and butter pickles back in high school. Okay, so I have been thinking about it for a really, really long time...
I happened to spot a recipe for them on Pinterest last week, AND I had a bunch of cucumbers on hand, thanks to SLO Veg. I only needed three cucumbers, for gosh sakes. For some reason I always thought I would need a whole lug of pickles before I canned them. Geesh! What a dope. I was even going to try and grow my own cucumbers for pickle-making. Now I have SLO Veg and my cucumbers are grown by certified-professional organic farmers who know just how to grow them. I just made six little jars of pickles from three cucumbers and it was so darn easy! 

Here is another link on Eating Well:

Thinly slice three cucumbers and one onion. Mix the cucumbers and onion with about 4 Tbs salt in a bowl and then cover with ice cubes. Place in refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. Rinse the cucumbers well and drain in a colander. Gather ingredients for the pickling liquid; 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1 tbs yellow mustard seeds, 3/4 tsp celery seeds, 3/4 tsp ground turmeric, 1 1/2 cups each white vinegar and water. (I used a pickling spice mix and add turmeric). Mix all together in a large pot and bring to the boil. Add the drained cucumbers and slowly heat for 5 minutes. Place into warm, sterilized jars and seal. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Lee tasted one this morning, and he decided he would need to take the whole jar with him to work. Okay, down to five jars...

So first I sliced all the cucumbers into thin slices. A mandolin would be great for this if I had one, but I don' think Christmas gift! Or maybe birthday, because that is sooner. I saw a real nice Kitchen Aide mandolin at Costco yesterday (hint, hint).

Anyway, all I did was salt the cucumbers and onions and put them into the frig overnight. The next day I made the brine, which was just sugar, vinegar, water and pickling spices. The recipe called for all these types of seeds, but since I had a pickling spice mixture on hand, I just used that and added the tumeric per the recipe. I heated that up, stirred in the rinsed and drained cucumber slices, and a pickle was born! I spooned them into my sterilized jelly jars, filled up the space with the pickling juice and put them into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. That's it! So easy. I can't believe I have waited over 35 years to try this.I think I will go make a pickle sandwich now...

What is that bunch of purple stuff?

Okay, I am intrigued...what is that aromatic purple stuff? Just unpacked the box and it hit me like a hurricane. Purple Basil! Wow. I can't wait to cook something using that! Honey, we are having bruschetta tonight...tomato and basil bruchetta! Hurry home!!!


Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 07/08/2013 - 07/12/2013 THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES:
New Item: Spring Lettuce (Red/Green Deer Tongue, Red/Green Butter Leaf, Tropicana, and Merlot), New Item: White/Purple Cauliflower, Corn on the Cob, Red or Tri-Colored Radishes, Cucumbers, Red Beets, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, "Organic" Purple or Lemon Basil, "Organic" Lavender, Honey Dew, "Crimson Glow" Red Pluots, and White Peaches 

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese; Spring Green Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette; Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette - very delish!; Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin; Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil-Lime Vinaigrette; Chili-Lime Corn on the Cob; Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad; Kickn' Chipotle Fried Chicken Tenders with Cool Cucumber Salad; Spicy Tuna Roll with Cucumbers; Seared Scallops with Pineapple-Cucumber Salad; Beet Chips with Curried Sour Cream; Beets with Chive Cream; Grilled Flank Steak with Sautéed Beet Greens and Creamy Horseradish Beets; Basil Pesto; Corn and Asparagus with Basil; Prosciutto and Melon; Margarita Melon Salad; Fresh Peach Chutney; Peaches in Ginger Syrup; Peach-Blackberry Pie; Fresh Lemon and Lavender Ice Cream; Lavender Short Bread; Lavender Mustard

Bautista Farms, Bell Farms, Pepper Creek Family Farms, The Fruit Factory , Wind Dance Farms

BBQ Burgers: Greek Turkey and Marinated Portabello Mushroom

So I am sitting here in my office trying out my newest creation: Greek Turkey burgers with spinach. I just finished making 16 burger patties, well 18, but I decided I had better cook a couple to try them out before I fed them to my family...and I mean my WHOLE family. We are having the annual summer family picnic tomorrow with all my six brothers and two sisters and their offspring and significant others. Counting my three children, there were 18 first cousins, and now they are having children, so since I am a grand-aunt, I have lost count of the numbers (I think it is 14 grand nephews and nieces). We also invited some family friends and siblings of in-laws and so forth, so there will be a LOT of peoples there. I am not even counting on 100% attendance...hoping, like Mom always did, but not counting on it. 

My office is the living room. I am blogging, watching cooking shows and sampling the turkey burgers I just mixed up for tomorrow's family picnic. Turkey, spinach and Greek seasonings--not bad! Not bad at all! : )
I love to cook for a big crowd. I used to have a big electric roaster that held four gallons of chili beans that we used for all of our big barbecues. For some reason at one point in my life where I needed to downsize, I decided I could live without that. Now that my life has taken a turn for the better and I have a bigger house and a bigger storage shed and all, I want my roaster back. I think I gave it to cousin Bobby, and now he is in Oregon, probably making good use of it. I can probably pick one up at the thrift store...I'll keep an eye out!

I do still own a big stainless steel mixing bowl. Actually, it was my Mom's. She put her name on the bottom of it with masking tape, and it's still on there. That's nice, because it's like she is helping me prepare for the party. She loved nothing better than having a big dinner with all her children and grandchildren around. 

Anyway, since Lee and I are the hosts for the picnic, we get to pick the menu. Last year it was a chicken barbecue. This year it is hamburgers: beef, turkey and even portabello mushrooms for the vegetarians in the bunch. We do the main dish and let everyone else bring sides and salads and desserts. Works out pretty good that way. It's the day before the picnic and my job is to make all the burgers patties up with seasonings incorporated into the meat mix. Tomorrow it will be Lee's job to cook them on the barbecue pit.

Lee made up a super secret seasoning blend for his beef burgers by perusing all the various jars in my spice cabinet. I am pretty sure it has salt, pepper, granulated garlic and Italian seasonings in it, but he wouldn't tell me the rest. I tried looking over his shoulder as he was mixing it up, but he kept the jar labels covered and wouldn't let me see. I know one bottle had a black lid, so I peeked after he left for work and it was dried chives. I got out the big metal mixing bowl and dumped in 12 pounds of ground beef. I am hoping to come out with 48 burger patties, so I use my hamburger press to make uniform-size patties. I weighed one and it came out to 5 oz. or just over a 1/4 pound patty. I kept adding Lee's seasoning blend and mixing it into the hamburger with my hands. He also said to add some Worchestershire sauce, so I did. I pressed out patty after patty, filling up two big baking sheets, two burger-layers high. I ended up with 42 patties, so I guess they are just a little on the large size, which I am sure won't hurt a bit.

Then I turned to the ground turkey. We are offering a variety of burgers since everyone's tastes are so different. My girls always prefer chicken or turkey to beef, I guess because they figure it is lower in fat. I was that way for a while, but I found that after going for several years without a resident barbecuer in the house, I missed beef tri-tip barbecued over oak wood. Now I have Lee and he likes his barbecued tri-tip and burgers. We try to have nice balance of chicken, beef and fish every week in our dinner menu (which is also our lunch menu since we pack up the leftovers for lunches).

I used three 1-1/2 pound packages of ground turkey for a total of 4-1/2 pounds of meat. I hope to end up with about 18 patties. I have a recipe for Greek burgers that calls for feta cheese, but since we have cheese slices to put on each burger when we cook them, I think I will leave out the feta. I am, however, putting in the chopped spinach that I got from SLO Veg, because when I mentioned it to my daughter she seemed really excited about that addition. The spinach will give people a clue that it's turkey, not beef. I used a Greek seasoning blend that I picked up at Cost Plus World Market that has oregano, garlic, lemon peel, dill weed and dill seed, chili flakes, spearmint leaf, cinnamon, mace and chervil. It's a pretty fine grind spice mix, so I also added in more flaked oregano, dill and mint and some garlic salt and pepper. I bound it together with two eggs and mixed in two cups of chopped spinach and a cup of oatmeal.
Lastly, I bought some portabello mushrooms for the vegetarians in the bunch. I guess I will hit them with some kind of marinade, maybe Tamari and lemon juice, and grill them like a burger patty. Probably need to use separate tongs and a separate grill so the meat juices don't cross-contaminate the vegetables. I really need to learn more about that stuff.



4-1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tsp Greek Mediterranean seasoning
1 Tbs garlic salt
1 tsp each flaked dill, oregano and mint
1 tsp pepper
2 eggs
2 cups spinach, chopped into small bits
1 cup oatmeal, slow cooking kind
*optional: 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Mix the seasonings together in a small prep bowl. Using your hands, add the seasoning to the ground turkey and incorporate well. Add the eggs, spinach and oatmeal and combine into the meat mixture. Form patties that are about 1/4 each. Grill until cooked through. Top with cheese slices, preferably swiss or provolone.  
*Option: mix Feta cheese into the meat and leave off the sliced cheeses (or not).
 Makes about 18 burgers.



10 Portabello mushrooms
1/2 cup olive oil
5 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Using a half pint jelly jar to mix up marinade ingredients. About 20 minutes before grilling, pour marinade over mushrooms in a large bowl or use a gallon-size zip lock baggie and let them marinate for 15 minutes. Grill for 5 minutes on each side and serve with your favorite burger condiments.
 Makes 10 mushroom burgers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Making Meatloaf more Vegetable-ly

I really like like to be adventurous with meatloaf by cleaning out my frig when I make it. Lets I should probably use some celery, since I had two bunches of it, and some carrots, because I had completely forgotton about them. I also needed some bread crumbs, but since I didn't have any, I decided to crumbled up the leftover hamburger buns instead. 

That, along with a quarter cup of diced onion, was the basis of the kitchen-sink meatloaf adventure. I started with one-and-a-half pounds of 80/20 ground beef. The vegetables were diced into small bits and then I mixed in salt, pepper, granulated garlic, an egg, Worchestershire sauce and chili sauce. A little shake of some Italian seasoning blend and the mixture was complete, except that then i mixed in the torn up hamburger bun. I loosely packed it into a metal loaf pan, covered it with foil and baked it for an hour in a moderate 350° oven.

I removed the foil and drained off all the grease...don't need that! Then I brushed some more chili sauce on top and baked it for another 15 minutes. The meatloaf paired well with some of the leftover squash casserole from the other night. I packed mine for work. When I reheated it in the breakroom several hours later, I got the the the attention of my coworkers. Probably should bring both these dishes for the next potluck!

Chicken in Orange Sauce with Tomato-Squash Strata

I put together a quick baked Chicken in Orange Sauce the other day before I layed down to take a nap before work. I needed something something that would literally cook all by itself so I could could awaken to a hot meal, spend that quality 15-20 minutes with the family, and still get to work on time. So this is a chicken dish you can do in your sleep!

I made two casseroles, one with chicken and one with vegetables. They each required different cooking times, but they would be okay cooking at the same temperature. My chicken dish was simply chicken thighs coated in avocado oil, drizzled with orange juice and seasoned with garlic salt and black pepper. I put the orange rinds in with the chicken and sprinkled it with chopped green onions. I covered the dish with foil and put it into the frig until baking time. This one would need about an hour of baking.

Then I assembled the vegetable casserole. It couldn't get any easier...I just chopped onions to cover the bottom of the square baking dish, drizzled in avocado oil and then layered rows of alternating zucchini, tomato and yellow squash that all came in the box from SLO Veg. More avocado oil drizzled on top, then seasonings: coarse salt, fresh ground black pepper and dried thyme and marjoram. A handful of parmesan cheese on top completed the prep, then the dish was covered and into the frig it went. 
I let my husband have the honors of putting the chicken in the oven to bake about two hours before I needed to leave for work. I asked him to put the vegetable casserole in 30 minutes after the chicken. He is pretty good at following directions, so I had complete confidence in him. When I woke up, I checked on the progress. The dishes just needed some browning, so I removed the foil covers and cranked the oven temp up to 375° for 15 more minutes. During that time I showered and got dressed for work. Then we sat down together and ate dinner and chatted before I had to leave. The dishes, of course, were left for Lee to take care of.  With a full stomach, he didn't mind a bit. 

4 chicken thighs or breasts
Avocado or olive oil
Juice from 2 oranges
garlic salt and fresh ground black pepper
Thyme and marjoram

Put chicken in a glass baking dish and coat with oil. Squeeze orange juice all over chicken. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and marjoram. Cover with foil and bake for one hour at 350°. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 375°. Bake for 15 more minutes until chicken is browned.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bean n Bacon Soup

We had a late lunch in town today, so I wasn't even sure if I wanted to make dinner tonight. 
I had some chicken thighs defrosted already, but I just didn't feel like preparing a whole meal now. I really wanted something simple, lighter and comforting...soup!

At first I thought of making corn chowder using the few ears of corn leftover from our 4th of July barbecue. Then, upon inspecting the contents of the frig, I spied the baked beans. I knew I had two or three strips of bacon left so I thought "bean and bacon soup!" I would add corn to that. Brilliant. 

So I chopped up a bit of onion, about a quarter cup, and sauteed it with the diced bacon in a stockpot. I added a quarter cube of butter, Paula Deen-style. Then I made a roux by adding a small scoop of flour to the pot, along with about a cup of water and a teaspoon of organic chicken broth powder in lieu of broth. When that thickened, I added a little more water, then stirred in the leftover beans, which amounted to about two cups worth, and about a cup of corn that I had cut off the cob.

I tasted the soup and decided it needed some punch, so I added a splash each of Worchestershire sauce and white vinegar vinegar and a generous dollop of ketchup. Still not completely satisfied, I opened a 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes and poured it in. Garlic salt, pepper and oregano flakes finished off the seasoning and the soup was ready. It turned out to be pretty tasty!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Practical Apricot Cheesecake Shooters

So you know I watch my cooking shows on Saturday mornings after the hub leaves for work. (While we are eating breakfast, we are watching Two Guys Garage...). 

This morning on Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond was having a "Girls Night In" with some friends and she was making some fabulous food. The grand finale was these little cherry cheesecake "shooters" she served up in wine goblets. They looked absolutely mouth-watering and I knew I had to try it. I already had cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk on hand as well as some toasted almonds and graham crackers, so I just needed cherry pie filling. While watching the show using my DVR, I mixed up the cheesecake filling in my Kitchen Aide mixer, adding a splash of lemon juice which I don't think Ree did with her batch. I didn't actually have graham crackers, but I had Teddy grahams...same difference. They got crushed to bits. I thought about using wine goblets, but the closest ones on hand were crystal, and Taylor would be eating it, and I decided to look for something else...ahh! Jelly jars. Sturdier. Perfect.  My friend Steph had watched the same show and already had photos of her beautiful cheesecake shooters on Facebook, all perfect and pretty. Sigh! She also made Ree's calzones...heck, we just ordered pizza! 

I divied up the graham crumbs between five jars and then spooned in the cheesecake filling. Ree filled hers by piping in the filling using a plastic bag. Good idea, because mine didn't look so pretty, but it was just for us and the boys don't appreciate pretty all that much anyway, so I took a shortcut and spooned it in. Now I just had to get the cherry pie filling when I went into town later on, after watching Pioneer Woman, Trisha's Southern Kitchen, and Giada at Home. 

My mission in town was to stop by the Hospice Thrift Store and purchase those beer mugs I had seen the day before. I have become a thrift store junkie, checking every week to see what new treasures are being offer for sale at a fraction of the retail price. Lee has tried counseling me about my addition, but this time he was enabling me. Last night I told him I had seen these mugs, Sam Adams brand, for $2 apiece, but that I was a good girl and didn't buy them. I mean, good grief, we all know Lee had plenty of beer mugs...and pilsners...and pint glasses...and mason jars, for that matter! Humph! Danged if he didn't want them, after all! "Rwwewh! How many are there?" he asked attentively. He said I could go get them if they were still there. Of course, I would just get the mugs, nothing else. Yah, right!

I went to town and got the mugs. I stopped at the Dollar store and got some more Teddy grahams, because my daughter needs them for a dessert she is making next weekend for our family reunion. Then I got all the way home and realized I had forgotten cherry pie filling. Oh well! I would substitute the apricot jam I had put up a few weeks ago. That's better, because I made it with apricots I got from SLO Veg, and this blog is all about that. Apricot cheesecake shooters. Nice!

Oh, and then I rearranged my utensil draw...utilizing the new bamboo divided silverware tray I picked up at the thrift store. $3.00 : )

Here is the link for Pioneer Woman's cheesecake desserts:
Note: I added a tablespoon of lemon juice to the filling

Fruity Peach Sangria

I had all these peaches that were ripe ripe ripe! I told the boys they needed to eat some. Ghessh! Make some smoothies or something! I had already made a peach crisp with some, so I had done my part.

Then inspiration hit me! Sangria! It's because Denier posted a photo of sangria on her Facebook page, actually. It looked good! and what is sangria, after all? Just wine with fruit! Kinda like beer with fruit, only different. (Beers that goes with fruit are Corona with lime, Blue Moon with orange, Hefeweisen with get the picture!) Only Sangria is soaks up the fruit a little longer.

So I went to the websites to look for recipes. Food Network's site had at least 114 recipes for sangria. You can literally make any kind of sangria with any kind of wine and fruit: winter, summer, spring and fall. Here is one that sounded good, but I don't have any vodka on hand... 
You can add liquors, juices, flavorings...the list is endless. 

But I wanted simple. I found one with ginger ale, and that hit the spot for me. Mamma Mia Sangria!
I have it mulling the frig right now. I added a lime, orange, some pineapple and the juice, and fresh peaches! When we get back from playing with the Goldens in the Park, I am having a cocktail. : )

SLO Veg posted that they have a bunch of plums to clear out quickly. Here is a recipe for plum sangria: