Archive | September 2013

Southern Soul Barbeque, St. Simon Island, GA

Today we ate a late lunch at Southern Soul Barbeque in St. Simon Island, Georgia. This place has been featured on Diners, Dives & Drives-ins and on the Best Thing I Ever Ate –  barbeque by Alton Brown, who is a regular at this place.

They have the menu items stared that were featured on the triple D, so my hubby ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich (reached on the triple D), they will put slaw on it if you ask, which my hubby loves that way, and he ordered the hand cut fries. He was really pleased with his selection and ate every drop. I ordered the 1/2 slab of ribs (which was also featured on the triple D) and it came with 2 sides which I ordered the collard greens and the black eyed peas with rice. I might be a northern girl but I do love collard greens and black eyed peas! My platter was delicious but I couldn’t quite finish it all. No room for dessert today. As always, the Food Network didn’t let us down. So if your looking for good BBQ and a day or two down by the Georgia shore, check out St. Simon Island.

Vin Rouge Bistro in Durham, NC

Well here we are in North Carolina, Durham NC to be exact. While charting out our driving directions I went on the Food Network page to see what eateries would be along our way, then trying to figure out when my hubby would be wanting to stop, would he be wanting to stop for lunch, or a late lunch or for dinner. So I always try to have several choice along the way just in case. Today since we had breakfast with friends, dinner it was going to be.

So today we stopped here at the Vin Rouge Bistro in Durham as seen on the Food Networks The Best Thing I Ever Ate featuring their Gratin de Macaroni. Which is a luscious rich baked macaroni with bacon and gruyere cheese. My hubby ordered it, he loved it.

I ordered the Salade Niçoise which was rare Yellowfin tuna, haricots verts (green beans),
hard boiled egg, tomato, olives, potato, mixed greens, Dijon vinaigrette – anchovies upon request. I did not order the anchovies. The salad was fabulous, I ate every drop.

Next we weren’t sure if we were going to get dessert, but I did want to see the dessert menu. So our waitress brought out the dessert menu and told us about there dessert specials, one of which was a chocolate mousse, hand. Made with specialty chocolate. My hubby had to have it! Yeah, he’s a chocoholic!  Now before they bring this wonderful chocolate mousse out to you, they bring you an empty bowl and set it in front of you and leave you thinking what’s next.  Well next they come back with a large soufflé bowl filled with this chocolate mousse and scoop it out into your empty bowl right at your table!

I took a look at the menu and saw Creme Brûlée, and couldn’t get any further. Even though I am dairy free, I will cheat for a good Creme brûlée. This was the BEST Creme Brûlée I have ever had EVER! The Creme was the lightest, creamiest, taste of heaven on a spoon.

Did I mention this was our first time ever to go to a French restaurant? Well it was, and we were not disappointed and you won’t be either. If your ever near Durham NC you have to look this place up and go. They are only open for dinner so check their website out for their address, hours and menus.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Pudding, Pudding Pie with Quinoa Crust & Ice Cream

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Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Pudding, a set on Flickr. Click on photos to see them larger.

Gluten Free-Dairy Free Banana Pudding, Pudding Pie with Quinoa Crust & Ice Cream!

Okay, first things first.  We (my hubby and me) bought a basket of ripe bananas.  My hubby says, what are you going to do with all those bananas!  Of course make smoothies was in my brain, but I knew that wouldn’t be the answer he wanted to hear, so the answer was, I’m going to make you that Banana Pudding that you love.  Now, the last time I made him this wonderful banana pudding, I was neither gluten free or dairy free.  The recipe is a Paula Deen Recipe, which you can find her recipe here:  Paula Deen Classic Banana Pudding, and if your not on a gluten free or dairy free diet, go for it, this is the best banana pudding recipe I’ve had.

Here I’m going to give you my adaptions from Paula Deen Classic Banana Pudding and this is the recipe I used also for the Banana Pudding Pie and the Banana Ice Cream, which are also listed below.



3/4 cup agave
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
4 cups almond milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small bits
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large or 4 medium bananas, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (or more if you like more bananas)


 1. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the agave & brown sugar, the cornstarch, and the salt. Whisk in the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the almond milk until thoroughly combined.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the remaining 31/2 cups almond milk to a boil over medium- high heat. Whisking constantly. When it starts to boil, temper you eggs with about 3 ladles of the hot milk, adding slowly and whisking at the same time.  Then pour the hot egg mixture into the hot almond milk and continue whisking and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until a few bubbles rise to the surface and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.

3. Pour mixture into a bowl & cover the surface entirely with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. After it cools a little add your bananas, stir well. Refrigerate until thoroughly cooled and set, at least 4 hours.  Serve!  But if you can’t wait, eat it warm!  Either way is good.

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Make recipe above (you should have some left over for extra pudding or make 2 pies.  This recipe is for one quinoa crust


3/4 cup dry quinoa
1.5 cups water
4 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp almond extract
4 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1 egg beaten

Preheat oven to 375º

Heat the water, syrup & quinoa in a small pot, bring to a boil.  Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  The quinoa will be a little al”dente.  (Now, for a side note, this is a good crust, but next time I’m going to put the cooked quinoa through the food processor or blender, my daughter gave me this idea, after I made this crust.  So try it this way and see how you like it.  It’s a good sturdy crust this way, perfect for quiche or maybe a gluten free pecan pie!)

Let it cool a bit before adding the eggs, if there is some liquid still in the quinoa, strain it off.  When the quinoa is cool enough that it won’t turn the egg to scrambled eggs, add in the egg, almond extract & ground chia.  Mix well, pour out into a greased pie plate.  Press into the bottom of the plate and up the sides.

Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.  Cool.  Add banana pudding, cover top with plastic wrap.  Refridgerate.  Serve.

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Gluten Free/Dairy Free Pudding/Custard for Banana Ice Cream 6


This is the same way you would make a good ice cream using the above gluten free dairy free pudding recipe, because its basically the way you would make a custard.  So, go ahead and make the pudding, before adding the bananas, measure out 3 cups, put in the fridge to cool for a good hour or so.  Also, put 3 bananas in the fridge to chill, I don’t like cutting them ahead of time because they start to brown, you can cut them while your ice cream maker is churning the custard.

So, basically, you get your ice cream maker ready, use according to your ice cream makers directions.  I have the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, you just keep the bowl in the freezer until your ready to make ice cream.  I love it.  You turn it on, add the custard mix, 15 minutes later you add the bananas, 5 minutes more you have soft serve ice cream.  You can eat it as is, or pour it out into a freezer contain and let it set up a little more for a few hours in the freezer.  And WaLa!

Oh, by the way, I did add a little fresh nutmeg to the ice cream when I put the bananas in, you can add it or leave it out, you can also add a little cinnamon if you’d like.

Another Unbelievable Chicken Rescue! Plus How to Make a Chicken Saddle

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Chicken Saddle, a set on Flickr. You can click on the photos to see them larger.

Not a fox this time, a GOLDEN EAGLE!!! What a scare! Miss Fuzzy is our great escape artist, she’s been getting out of the yard and we haven’t been able to find out where until we set up a friends trail cam last night.

Well, in the meantime, I was out feeding scratch to the gals and my 89 year old dad came home from his daily breakfast outing. So I went out of the chicken yard to have a chat with him about our new broody hen and how we should handle it (break her broodiness, keep picking eggs until the timing is a little better for us, or just let her sit on eggs and go for it) We decided to let her go for it, so in 19/20 days hatching should commence. That will be October 5.

Well, while we were chatting, I noticed Miss Fuzzy walk by us, and we continued our chat. Next thing I heard this horrible blood curdling squawk! Yeah, my blood curdled. I took off towards the squawk, ran about 100′ or so, who knows really, doing my best to follow the squawks, meanwhile I’m yelling and my dad is whistling. Then I decide to make a turn and cut through our hedgerow of pines between us and our neighbors. As soon as I seperated the branches there it was! A HUGE golden eagle, wings spread wider than I can open my arms and hovering over poor Fuzzy! She was still squawking, flocks of birds were simultaneously flying over, and I just yelled! Get Off Her! The eagle looked at me and took off and Fuzzy ran like the dickens!

By this time my dad wasn’t far off on our side of the pines, so back I went in search of Miss Fuzzy.

We didn’t have any trouble locating her, but catching her was another story. Took us probably a good 15 minutes or more to corral her, I actually had to get our old chicken hook catcher and get her.

As you can see she’s safely in my arms, don’t know who was frazzled more, me or her, but I am very thankful.

As you can see she has a bald back, she’s obviously Buddy’s favorite even though, she doesn’t appreciate being his favorite. For a couple days now I was planning on making her a Chicken Saddle, finally found a pattern I liked from Back To Basic Living’s blog, which is also on my Pinterest Back Yard Chickens Page. I figured she was being such an escape artist because of Buddy putting the moves on her too much, and though the Chicken Saddle was right up her alley. Well, after the Golden Eagle escapade, I gave her the once over, she was only a little bloody, which amazed me, so I stuck her in a cage, put her in the shed to keep her quiet and let her rest and came in the house to make her her Chicken Saddle.

So there’s the step by step photos, you can click on the link for Back To Basic Living blog and get more instruction if you need it.

You basically cut an 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ square from cardboard for the pattern.

Then at the top (neck) you measure out 3″ in the center and then add the curved area for the wings.

The 3″ pard is the part you put on the fold of the fabric.

Then I cut a single piece of interfacing to add a little strength to the fabric.

You put rich sides together, put the interfacing on the top and sew around, leaving 1/2″ opening at the 3″ top on both sides and leave and opening at the bottom so you can turn it right side out.

Once you turn it right side out, cut 2 pieces of 1/4″ – 1/2″ elastic 3 1/2″ long.

Insert the ends into the openings left for them and stitch. Stitch around the entire outer edges, I did a double row.

Add snaps. I was lucky, being a person who sews, I keep things, like all good sewers do. I still had snaps on fabric from when my kids we’re babies, so I cut 2 and sewed them on.

Finally, I added some scotch guard, let that dry.

Then out to check on Fuzzy. Put a little Neosporin on her and then her new Chicken Saddle.

There she is in the final photo demonstrating.

I have to say, I never thought, I’d be putting a Chicken Saddle on any of my girls. Made my dad chuckle. I’m also hoping that the saddle will help her not to try to escape, even though we did, hopefully fix the area where she was getting out.

What’s For Dinner???

Okay, every now and again I will ask my hubby what he’d like for dinner.  We were in the grocery store on Saturday and since we were there and dinner wasn’t too far off I thought I’d let him choose what’s for dinner.  So, the question was:  What would you like me to make for dinner??  The answer….. Crab Cakes.  Okay, we’ll they’re not hard to make, but I knew in the back of my head, I didn’t have any homemade gluten free bread crumbs at home to make crab cakes, so I said, how ’bout Crab Imperial instead???  Okay, yes, that has dairy in it, but sometimes, I’ll sacrifice and have a little dairy, it doesn’t hurt me as much as gluten does…well, most of the time, so I picked my poison 😉  He said Crab Imperial was fine with him.  So, a little more grocery shopping and a walk down the ethnic foods isle and I noticed something I hadn’t seen before, NEW! from Asian Creations, THAI Kitchen, Purple Corn & Rice Noodles!  Had to have it.  Love the purple color, some meals need a little splash of color, and these noodles might just be the answer!

Crab Imperial with Sautéed Broccoli tomatoes & Purple Corn Thai Noodles

Crab Imperial with Sauteed Broccoli, Tomato & Purple Corn & Rice Noocles (click on the photo to see it larger)

So, on the ride home, I knew I was making the Crab Imperial, but now I needed a side to go with it.  I think I’ll do something with my new noodles.  I had broccoli at home in the fridge, and we still have Jersey tomatoes out in the field and also some bell peppers, so I had a plan, now to bring it all together.

When we got home I sent the hubby out to the field to pick me some fresh Jersey tomatoes & bell peppers.  The plan, sautéed broccoli & tomatoes with purple corn & rice noodles.  The bell pepper was for the crab imperial.

Now, I’m not going to give you a recipe here, I’m going to give you a list of ingredients that I used but no amounts.  You can do this on your own, its easy.  Use what is in season and use what your family likes.  It has been an extremely long time since I made Crab Imperial, so I did google a couple recipes and pulled up the Food Networks, Food Nation recipe which I only used as a guide, I did change it to suit my needs, I will supply the link to the recipe so you can use it if you like.   I have girlfriends that think its hysterical when I use a famous persons recipe and change it, but like I say all the time, A Recipe Is Only A Guide.

Crab Imperial

Crab Imperial (Recipe here at the Food Network, Food Nation, by Colleen Sadler)

Green Onion
Small Bell Pepper
Olive Oil
Unsalted Butter
1 – 1 lb Can Premium Lump Crabmeat
Old Bay Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Yellow Mustard
Worcestershire sauce
Heavy Cream
Sauté green onion & green pepper in olive oil butter until translucent, but not brown. Turn down to low heat.
Add crabmeat, add old bay seasoning a little at a time.  Taste!  It’s important to keep tasting to make sure your getting the flavor that you like.  If you need more seasoning add it.  Stir in mustard, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce then add the cream. Add salt & pepper to taste. Put in buttered casserole.

Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 375 degree F. oven, until browned and bubbly.  Serve.

Sautéed Broccoli tomatoes & Purple Corn Thai Noodles


My Ingredient List:
Green Onion
Olive Oil
Unsalted Butter
Roma Tomatoes
Asian Creations, THAI Kitchen, Purple Corn & Rice Noodles
Heavy Cream (optional)
Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

The Purple Corn & Rice Noodles are very easy to prepare, you bring the water to a boil, take off the burner add the noodles and let steep for 7 minutes, DONE!  So, what I did, I brought the water to a boil, added salt, added my broccoli, cooked my broccoli for a couple of minutes, then took the pot off the burner and added the noodles.  The Noodles are in packets, which is really nice, you don’t have to worry about how much to use, I used 1 packet.

New! Purple Corn & Rice Noodles Purple Corn Thai Noodles Broccoli & Purple Corn Thai Noodles Broccoli & Purple Corn Thai Noodles Sautéed Broccoli tomatoes & Purple Corn Thai Noodles

While then noodles and the broccoli were steeping for 7 minutes, in a sauté pan, I heated the olive oil & butter, then added the garlic & green onion which I chopped.  Once the garlic & green onion simmered for a bit, I added the roma tomatoes that I chopped.  I sautéed the tomatoes, onion & garlic for a minute or two, my timer went off for the broccoli & noodles which then I scooped out and added to the the tomato sauté.  I added some Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning and a little salt.  Taste.  Then I added a little heavy cream, this step is very optional, well, any step is. Taste and adjust flavors.   Add what you like remember.  I think my brain was saying if there’s cream in the Crab Imperial, you might as well add a little to the side.

Plate, then sprinkle with the fresh grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Shabby Chic Dinner Party

Flowers from a friend

Flowers from a good friend. She brought them to dinner this night for my birthday. They just went so well with my shabby chic theme. I put them in a lovely vase and added them to my counter.

One thing your going to find out about me and my hubby, is we like to entertain.  Dinner parties are our thing.

(Just a side note, 1 Peter 4:7-11 New International Version (NIV) says: The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.)

We have had close to 50 folks in our home at one time for a sit down brunch, but generally have dinner parties with 4 – 12 people.  We purposely made this room for entertaining, we also have a back door to this room which takes you outside onto our large patio with fire pit and large gazebo.  See, we like to have folks over!  If your like us, if you don’t have folks over, you don’t use the stuff!  So use it!

The table we have in our sunroom where we do most of our entertaining, we purchased at George’s Woodcrafts in Marietta, PA.  This table is fabulous, ours now has enough leafs for the table to open the entire length of the room and sit 30 comfortably.  If your ever in the Lancaster Pa area your not to far from Marietta, so go check George’s out, tell them we (Barbara & Harry) sent you!

Okay, I just want to say, if you’ve never had a dinner party before you should do it, its not hard, start small and start with what you know.  Another thing, if you are one of those people who only entertains on holidays, birthdays, or other family functions, that’s fine too.  One thing I do want to say, even if your only having your family over for dinner one night, use your good china, use your cloth napkins , use your tablecloth that you have stuck away some where.  You’ll make them feel special and it takes no more work, well, maybe just a little more work, you’ll have to do an extra wash load the next day, but, its worth it.  Trust me.  Get yourself out of your rut with paper napkins and possibly paper plates and go for it.  The one piece of good advise I can give you to help out is, make sure, your dishwasher is completely empty before your guests arrive, this will make for such a quick and easy clean up later.

As I’ve been posting recipes, I’m now incorporating the recipes into a dinner party post.  I’m showing how simple I do it them, with photos of my table set and food prepared and recipes.  Right now, for me, I’m challenging myself, because of my diet being gluten and dairy free, I try to make my menu where everyone is happy.  My family and friends love being my guinea pigs, so I’m truly blessed there, my hardest one to impress is my hubby, not really impress, feed……..he doesn’t like spicy and trying to convert him to gluten free isn’t easy, but he does give it a try and generally I get rave reviews from him, generally. 🙂

Okay, that being said, here we go.  This dinner party I held on August 25th, for some of our oldest and dearest friends.  There we’re 8 of us this night.

My table theme: Shabby Chic
I used 3 tablecloths, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 white with embroidery which my mother in law had made for me many years ago.  None of the tablecloths were big enough to cover the table alone, so I put the blue one at one end, the green one at the other end and covered the middle with the white embroidery one.  So, now I had a color theme to go with my Shabby Chic theme.  The best thing to start doing if your new to entertaining is, start going to auctions and yard sales and start picking up dish sets and linens cheap.  I have several sets now and still want more, but thats me, you don’t have to be like me, but I do like to have holiday dishes, I have a large set of white, a small set of black (which I can only use for 6, so I’m looking for pieces I can add to this set) I have a set with apples & cherries and green lattice on them which I got at ACME a few years back, thats a set for 16 I think,  I have several Christmas sets and a set that is cream color with gold stars I like to use for New Years.  My hubby just brought me home a box of linens from an auction that he went to that he got for $5.00!  It had several tablecloths, linen, yes, linen napkins and fabric napkins, what a find!  So, see, you can do this.

Setting the table #1 Setting the table #4 Setting the table #4 Setting the table #3 Setting the table #2

(click on any of the photos to see them larger)

I used my white dinner plates and mixed my blue and green table napkins every other plate with my white floral porcelain napkin holders and I used my green drinking glasses.  (Drinking glasses is one thing I still have to get more of for my glassware repertoire.  I definitely don’t have what I need right now, I do need a good set of clear, believe it or not, I don’t have one!)

Since shabby chic was may plan, I decided I wanted to use pint canning jars as my vases for my fresh flowers.  If you have a flower garden, put it to use.  Cut some fresh flowers for your dinner table.  So, had the hubby look some up for me, he found me the old blue ones which was way better than the clear ones.  I was thinking I was going to add food coloring to the water, now I didn’t have to 😉 What I did add to the water was underwater lights which you can get in Michaels.  Just twist them on and drop them in the water, they land light side up.  I turn them on and drop them in about 15 minutes before guests are due to arrive.  You can see them sitting on my table next to the flowers in the photo.  My Cape May Daisies are blooming big time right now, so I used them in my vases.  I decided 3 vases would be perfect for the table size and they were low enough not to be blocking anyones view, I hate that.


Crab Cakes, Twice Baked Potatoes & Corn and Bean Salad in Lettuce Cup, plated ready to serve.

My Menu:

Shrimp Cocktail (which my girlfriend Theresa, graciously offered to bring.  She does make good shrimp!) When Theresa offered to bring the shrimp, that’s when I decided on what my menu would be, the shrimp set the tone.

Layered Garden Salad

Layered Garden Salad

Layered Salad: I stole this idea from my girlfiend Pam, who served salad to us this way one night.  Made me feel special, so I use this allot.  Folks love it.  It’s easy.  Get yourself a truffle bowl, possibly 2 (1 you can use for dessert) and use them!  This salad was layered with romaine on the bottom, then cubed zucchini, then mixed greens, then shredded carrots, cubed cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts and cubed tomato and green onion sprinkled on top.
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette:  Made with olive oil (about a cup), red balsamic vinegar(about 1/3 cup), 2 cloves minced garlic, garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste and 2 TBL grated parmesan cheese.

Twice Baked Potatoes with a Twist

Twice Baked Potatoes with a Twist

Twice Baked Potatoes with a Twist: The twist is a decorative twist of mashed sweet potatoes on top of the mashed white potatoes.  The best thing about twice baked potatoes, you do them in advance, all you have to do is the second baking.  Which you make sure your second baking is on a cookie pan lined with foil for very easy clean up.  To make twice baked potatoes, you bake them first.  When their cool enough to handle you cut them in half, scoop out the potato, use the shell of the skin to scoop your potatoes back into.  Mash your potatoes, return to skin shells, dot with butter.  When ready put them back into the oven at 350º degrees for about 20 – 30 min, finish under the boiler to brown the tops.

Bean & Corn Salad in Lettuce Cup

Corn & Bean Salad in a Lettuce Cup

Corn & Bean Salad on a Lettuce Cup:  Anything served on a lettuce cup looks elegant in my book.  Nice thing about this, I did it ahead, had them made ahead on a tray in the fridge, ready to go.  Make this as you like it, very user friendly, I used can corn, canned black beans, canned chick peas, cubed fresh tomato, cubed fresh mango, chopped fresh cilantro.  Salt & pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil & white balsamic vinegar.

Homemade Crab Cakes: I buy the premium canned crab when its on sale and have it ready to go for just such an occasion.  Crab cakes are not hard to make, made them up ahead of time, just like the twice baked potatoes, had them on a cookie sheet with sides, lined with foil.  I made these gluten free, I used some of the gluten free bread (below) and made my own bread crumbs in the blender.  I used: lump crab meat, gluten free bread crumbs, enough mayonnaise to make it moist and Old Bay seasoning.  With crab cakes, simple is better and NOT dry.  Mix altogether, scoop about 2 tablespoons or an ice cream scoop size, roll into balls, coat with bread crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to bake.  Bake in oil of your choice, I used coconut oil, in preheated 350º oven for about 20/30 minutes until brown.

Gluten Free Bread #1

Soft Sandwich Bread – Gluten FreeGluten Free Bread #2 Gluten Free Bread #3

Homemade Gluten Free Bread by Jeanne from ART OF GLUTEN-FREE BAKING – I followed Jeanne’s recipe and mixed it together in the bread machine.  I had my bread machine out already and my mixer wasn’t, so figured my bread machine was made to do this anyway.  I did NOT bake it in the machine, when it was done its mixing, I put it in my bread pan, let it rise, then baked it.  It was delish!  You can get the recipe here at the Art of Gluten-Free baking and she has the link on the page for using the bread maker if you wish.
Homemade Four-Grain Bread – I got this recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens Best Bread Machine Recipes book and made a change or two.  The recipe is below.
My Avocado Almond Joy Pudding (I’ve made this before, but not for these folks, so here’s the recipe Avocado Almond Joy Pudding)
Gluten Peach Blueberry Fruit Crisp (I’ve made this before also, but not for these folks, so here’s the recipe for Peach Blueberry Fruit Crisp)

We have a long granite counter top in our sunroom, perfect for setting dinner up buffet style, which I like to do when I have my table decorated nicely.  I do from time to time have a sit down dinner, this time, I decided on a sit down dinner which I plated and served.  I plated in the kitchen and my girlfriends helped to serve.  This was a first for me to serve this way, but it just seemed right.  I did put out extra on the counter for seconds.  So, the skies the limit when it comes to entertaining, do it your way, but do it!  Make your guests feel special, you’ll be glad you did.  Let me know what you do to make your guests feel special.

FOUR-GRAIN BREAD for bread machine 2 pound loaf size

1  cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 2/3 cups water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
4 teaspoons gluten flour (I’m assuming this is all purpose flour, that’s what I used)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

Add all ingredients to your bread maker according to the way bread makers instructions tell you to add the ingredients.  I’ve had some bread makers that tell you to put the wet in first, the one I have now you put the yeast first then the dry, then the wet.  If available select the whole grain cycle, if not select the basic white bread cycle.

I’m changing her name to Lucky!

She’s one lucky duckie…..ummmm, errrrrr, chicken!

On Sunday mornings I’m usually busy getting ready to go to church, today was no exception, but I did, for some reason, do my morning routine a little backwards, and I’m so thankful that I did!

I was cleaning out my bag that I put the Bibles in and heard a noise from the chickens in the front yard.  The noise sounded like Buddy was ‘bothering’ one of the hens, so I went to have a look out the front window.   All I saw was Buddy standing like a statue on the lawn and no chickens in sight.  So, I kept watching him and looking around for hens.  All of a sudden one of the black hens comes running from the side of the house towards Buddy and another one right behind her ANDDDDDD running behind them a FOX!!!!!!!

I almost died! But didn’t have the time, ran to the front door, opened it and yelled!  The fox, stops, turns and looks at me like ‘what do you want woman’!  So down the steps to the lawn and I’m yelling and clapping my hands.  The fox takes off and I take off behind him.  He runs to the other side of the house where our pine tree forrest is and gets to the edge, stops and turns around to see if I’m still coming towards him.  Of course I am!  Clapping my hands and telling him to keep going, what else could I do!

So, he runs off, I turn around, there’s not a chicken or roo in sight.  My 89 year old dad lives above our garage, so I went and got him, he was on his deck watching the baby chicks and their moms all huddled together! LOL! He didn’t know they were in protection mode in their enclosed yard.

So, he comes out to help me locate the chickens, couldn’t find them, he goes on to see where the fox went off to and finds a pile of feathers! Oh No! We lost one!  This is serious!

I decided I needed help, my hubby had gone to early service at our churches satellite service site, which is not too far from our house, so I left my dad looking for chickens and ran off to get him (he was going to meet up with me at second service at our home church.  The past few weeks I have been going with him to early service, but yesterday he told me to go to 2nd service and he’d meet me there).  So, got him, we come home, dad had located most of the chickens and got them into the yard.  A few minutes after we got home we got the rest, took a count and they were all there!  All of them!   One of my gals lost a few feathers and has a little bruising, but not broken skin or anything, you wouldn’t know it to look at her, so now I think I’ll call her Lucky!

So, now the hunt is on for the fox.  The gals & Buddy will remain in the chicken yard with only supervised free ranging until Mr. Fox is found.

In the meantime, my hubby went in and dug them some worms.  Anybody else dig worms and grubs for their girls??  We have been digging for them since they we’re baby chicks.  It’s funny to watch, when you get a shovel out, they come running!  What’s really interesting is, that there are only certain times of the year in which my girls will eat worms, generally in the fall/winter, they will eat a grub anytime.  But, now, they’re after flying bugs.

How ’bout you?  What special thing do you do for your gals??