Monday, July 30, 2012


This is my husband's favorite salad.  It is loaded with healthy raw vegetables and I serve it with Ranch Dressing on the side.  Tonight, we dished it up with grilled chicken, sauteed kale, green beans, roasted garlic  whole-grain rice blend and multi-grain bread. I promise this salad is full of great taste....I guess it is the blending of the different flavors and, of course, the ranch dressing and bacon never hurt!


1 large broccoli stem, approximately 1 cup (florets with a small amount of the stem)
1/3 large cauliflower floret cluster
1/2 medium size red bell pepper
1/2 medium purple onion
2 boiled eggs
3 slices of bacon (cooked crispy)
Ranch Dressing
Chop all ingredients very small.  Mix together and chill.  
I actually serve the bacon on the side because some of my family doesn't like it but it really is best mixed in with the salad.  
Serve with Ranch Dressing either on the side for people to serve themselves or you can mix it in the salad.  There is no certain amount of dressing to add.  I would just add enough to coat the veggies. 

*You know I just got to thinking....It might be great to make the salad and mix it up but do not add the bacon.     Pour it in a clear, glass bowl. Top with a layer of Ranch Dressing and sprinkle the bacon on top.  Hmmm....may try that next time!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


These yummy little bars are a hit with everyone who eats them!  I'm sure there is someone out there that doesn't like them but I haven't met them yet!  These little treasures just happen to be my son, Christopher's, favorite dessert and I make them for him every birthday and in between too!!

 A few years back, I received a wonderful, thoughtful birthday gift from a wonderful, thoughtful friend, Matresa.  It was a recipe book with 50 of her favorite recipes that she had handwritten for me.  I continued to add recipes over the years and now it is completely full.  It is full of so many recipes and so many memories that it is truly one of my prized possessions.

Look how worn the pages are...definitely been used alot!

Anyway, I started making this recipe because she had written it down in the book and the name was Texas Gold Bars.  I had tasted these bars before but did not have the recipe and when I had eaten them they were called Neiman Marcus Bars.  Then Paula Deen introduced her recipe for Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and it was the same recipe.  So whatever you choose to call them, I think you will be happy with how easy they are to make and how delicious they are to eat!  They are a great dessert to bring to parties or to share with a friend.  And...they are very low in fat and calories!  

Sorry, I lied about the fat and calories...but we can't have it all, right?!? LoL!!


1 - Box of any Yellow Cake Mix
1/2 cup melted Butter
2 Eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
(1)-1 lb. box Powdered Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
1 - teaspoon Vanilla
Powdered Sugar to sprinkle on top (I skip this step)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 Mix the cake mix with the melted butter and 2 eggs.

 Chop the Pecans and add to mixture.

Press down in a 13 X 9 greased pan.  (I use Bakers Joy)

If you wet your fingertips it helps when pressing it into the dish/pan

In a medium size bowl combine softened cream cheese and powdered sugar

Add 2 eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy.

Spread evenly over the cake mixture. 
Now would be the time to sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown. (May take a little longer)

Let cool and cut into squares!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Purple Hull Peas

2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony Meal
When my friend Debbie asked me about the recipe for the purple hull peas above, I was very happy to post it.

Little son Chris is a vegetarian and cooks just about every day.  His vegetable of choice these days is peas.  He cooks just about any kind of peas too, cream, blackeye, purple hull..etc.  I bought these peas at the Farmer's Market in Beaumont a couple of weeks ago.  They were fresh and that makes such a difference in taste.

Since Christopher is a vegetarian and my daughter Holly used to have a pet pig, Millie, that lived with us, pork is not really a good choice around here for seasoning peas or beans.  Millie eventually got too large to live with us (she's a big girl...over 200 lbs.).  She now lives very comfortably at the ranch in San Antonio with her little buddy Mudd, one of our other pot bellied pigs (we have 2 more named Pork Chop and Maxwell)!!


I found a good replacement for bacon though.  It is by the company MorningStar Farms and they are veggie bacon strips.  It has a smoky flavor and a good bacon-y taste.  It is also cholesterol free and has only 4.5 grams of fat in 2 strips.

I usually fix my peas with bacon, onion and seasoning (salt and pepper) and with chicken broth but Christopher cooked them for me this time and he added some poblano and jalapeno peppers.  It was so yummy.  It had such a great flavor...I literally could eat this over rice for a one-dish meal!

I am going to give you two recipes for Purple Hull Peas.  The first one is a spicy, mexican style recipe.  It would be great in place of Charra Beans and as an accompaniment to fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, etc.  The second one is more of the traditional style Purple Hull Peas.

Peppered Purple Hull Peas

2 - bags Purple Hull Peas
6-8 strips of bacon or veggie bacon strips
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (only if using veggie bacon strips)
1/2-Poblano Pepper, chopped
1/2-Jalapeno Pepper, chopped
1-Medium Onion, chopped
10- cloves of Garlic, minced
1-box Vegetable Broth (organic if you can find it)
handful of fresh Cilantro
2-teaspoons Cumin
2-teaspoons Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper
(you could add canned diced tomatoes as well for another layer of flavor)

Fry the bacon or cook the bacon strips, according to instructions, in a large fry pan until crispy.  Remove bacon strips and set aside.  If you used real bacon, pour off all but about a tablespoon or 2 of the bacon grease and add the peppers, onion, and garlic.  If you used veggie bacon strips, add olive oil and next 4 ingredients.  Saute until veggies are softened.  Add purple hull peas and saute a few minutes so that the peas can absorb flavor.  Add vegetable broth.  The broth should cover the peas, but if not you can add water.  Add the rest of the ingredients including the bacon.  Cover and simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes or until tender.

Fresh Home-Cooked Purple Hull Peas

2 - bags Purple Hull Peas
6-8 strips of bacon or veggie bacon strips
1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil (if you used veggie bacon strips)
1-medium Onion, chopped
1-box of Vegetable Broth or Chicken Broth (organic if you can find it)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry the bacon or cook the bacon strips, according to instructions, in a large fry pan until crispy.  Remove bacon strips and set aside.  If you used real bacon, pour off all but about a tablespoon or 2 of the bacon grease.  If you used veggie bacon strips, add olive oil.  Add the onions and saute until softened.  (I love the smell of onion cooking in bacon grease)  Add the purple hull peas and saute a few minutes so that the peas can absorb flavors.  Add the bacon and the vegetable or chicken broth. The broth should cover the peas but if not add water.  Cover and simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes or until tender.

Purple Hull Peas are full of good reasons to eat them.  They are a wonderful source of protein and dietary fiber.  In addition, they are rich in folate.  Folate is a form of vitamin B that has been found important in the prevention of anemia, cancer, and birth defects.  In fact, orange juice, which is often advertised as being a great source of folate, has only about 10 percent of the amount found in a serving of southern peas!! 


We have been anticipating the beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympics!  Last night was the opening ceremonies, so I decided to cook an American meal to kick it off!!

Sometimes, I want to do more than I actually have time to do and yesterday was one of those days.  We just got back from a spectacular vacation to Estes Park, Colorado and the final night was spent at Red Rocks Amphitheatre seeing the amazing James Taylor!  Going to see a concert at Red Rocks was on my bucket list and the fact that James Taylor was playing there just made it perfect!!

Rocky Mountain National Park
Great Friends
Red Rocks Amphitheatre View of the Stage from the top

Before the concert
You know how it is when you get back from vacation.  The laundry needed to be done, bags needed to be unpacked, then the extra to-do things that come up and of course, I had to go to the grocery store because there was nothing to eat in the kitchen.
I knew I wanted to make something American but there was so many different directions to go.  I could go the hamburger-hot dog route, brisket-baked bean route but I decided to go southern comfort route!  Final menu....Fried Chicken, Homemade Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Cream Gravy, Fresh Purple Hull Peas, Cornbread, and Cold Oven Pound Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and Sliced Strawberries and Blueberries! 

American Dinner for Olympic Opening Ceremonies!
But then I had, what I thought, was a really good, time-saving idea!!  Since I was running short on time, I decided to cheat!!  I bought the Fried Chicken!  Haha!  If I would've bought it myself...I think I would've put it in a pretty basket lined with a red and white checked cloth and passed it off as mine butttt I had James (my husband pick it up for me) and it was yummmmy!  I'll tackle Fried Chicken another day!!

Today, I am only going to post the recipe for the Cold-Oven Pound Cake and share how easy it is to make Fresh Whipped Cream.  I will post the recipes for Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Purple Hull Peas later this week.  

I have made this pound cake recipe for years and it is really easy and sooo good!!  And with the White of the Whipped Cream and the Red of the Strawberries and Blue of the Blueberries it made a perfect dessert to cheer on Team USA!!

Cold-Oven Pound Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and Berries

3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond
1 cup milk
6 eggs

Mix all ingredients together, except eggs.
Beat eggs for 8 minutes
Add eggs to other mixture.
Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.  I spray my pan with Bakers Joy and then sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Pour cake batter into pan.
Place in a COLD OVEN and set oven to 325 degrees.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.


Top with fresh Whipped Cream and your choice of berries!

Fresh Whipped Cream
(this tastes like melted ice cream and is super easy to make)

1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Place a stainless steel bowl with your mixer beaters in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Take bowl and beaters out of freezer and pour in whipping cream.  With mixer on low (to keep cream from being slung out of bowl) , beat until cream starts getting a little thicker. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla, then increase speed to medium or high and continue beating until the cream is thickened like Cool Whip.  

Hint:  Don't overbeat or you will end up with butter.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Simply Southern Okra and Tomatoes

This recipe is one that is kind of hard for me to make because I do NOT like okra.  I wish I did but I cannot get past the sliminess (is that even a word) of it!  Okay...let me back up...I will eat it fried!  However, that is not really saying much...I think I would eat just about anything fried!!

I have lived in the south all my life but I had never made okra and tomatoes until several years ago.  My daughter Holly was probably 10 or 12 years old  and had went over to her friend, Natalie's, house.  Natalie's mom, Kelly,  is one of my very best friends and has been ever since we were in Junior High School.

Natalie, Kelly, Me (Janna), and Holly

She is a fantastic cook and that day she was making Okra and Tomatoes.  Low and behold, Holly loved them.  Do you know how excited I was to learn that my child loved a vegetable.? (rhetorical question)   I had to get busy learning how to make okra and I paid Kelly to share her recipe with me.  Justtttt kidddding...she very sweetly showed me how to make them. 

I went to the local Farmer's Market in Beaumont this past weekend and picked up some fresh okra to use but if you do not have any fresh, you can always use frozen.  I made them tonight along with grilled corn on the cob....and my sister-in-law, Judy, made meatloaf (not just your ordinary meatloaf, it had a special sauce...yummm), mashed potatoes, crowder peas, and cornbread muffins.  It was a true down South, clean your plate, kind of meal! 

Here's the is super easy and quick to make!!


1 Bag (16 ounces) frozen, chopped okra
fresh, chopped okra

1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium poblano pepper or bell pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
1 can Petite diced Tomatoes
2 cups of Vegetable Broth
1 teaspoon sugar
(I think some worcestershire sauce would be tasty in this)

Saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft. 

Add okra and saute to incorporate flavors.  

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Add your Rotel and Petite Diced Tomatoes

Pour in the Vegetable Broth

Add approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar to cut the tartness of the tomatoes. Cover.

Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.  

And is ready to eat!

The other day, when I went to the Farmer's Market, I went with my friends Nita and Phyllis.

Nita, Phyllis and Myself

Phyllis bought some of the okra like I did and when she got home she made Okra and Tomatoes but she served it over rice as a one-dish meal.  She sent me a picture of it yummy does that look?

However you decide to serve it...remember okra has so many health benefits such as being rich in fiber, vitamin A, C and K.  It is also a good source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, and calcium.  Likewise, tomatoes are abundantly healthy because they contain Lycopene.   Lycopene  flushes out free radicals which cause cancer.  Tomatoes also prevent heart disease and high cholesterol.  

Healthy and Tasty....Great Combination!!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Get Healthy...Get Juicing!!

Okay, so I know that incorporating fruits and vegetables in the diet are one of  the keys to a healthy lifestyle but making myself juice on a regular basis is a battle.  I'm a lazy juicer!  But I don't want to be, so I am hoping that by writing about it on my blog it will motivate me to be a twice-a-weeker!!

My goal is to stay away from a daily handful of pills and regular doctor visits as long as possible and I want my family to enjoy the benefits of juicing!  

Look at how dry the pulp is in the left chute

I did some investigating online into what kind of juicer to purchase and I decided to get an Omega VRT 350 juicer.  I had another brand for a while but I felt like I was not getting the maximum amount of juice out of it. 

With the Omega VRT 350, the extracted pulp is basically devoid of liquid which means you get more juice using less vegetables.  Another reason I bought this juicer was for the warranty.  It has a 10-year full warranty and it is made in the USA.  

It is easy to use and it is easy to clean up.  I don't put any of the parts in the dishwasher...I wash it by hand but it is worth it (and for me to say that is huge)!

I am telling you the juice that comes out of this juicer is like nothing you will buy in a grocery store.  
It tastes amazing and fresh.  

My husband absolutely loves it when I juice oranges and I am not an orange juice drinker but....I love a big glass of freshly juiced oranges.  

And pineapple juice....oh my tastes nothing like pineapple juice out of a can.  It actually tastes like a tropical drink.  

Not too long ago, I juiced a combination of carrots, apples, and ginger.  I'm not going to lie,  it wasn't my favorite....but knowing how good it is for me helped.

 If you are still not convinced....

Below is a list of some of the health benefits of carrots (taken from

 1.  It is a fat-burning food
 2.  Lowers blood cholesterol levels
 3.  Keeps vision healthy 
 4.  Protects the immune system
 5.  Potassium content in carrots regulates blood pressure levels
 6.  Contains Falcarinol which has been linked to the reduction of tumor formation
 7.  Helps maintain healthy urinary and digestive tracts
 8.  Cleanses liver by ridding of bile and fat
 9.  Nourishes hair, nails, and skin
10. Loaded with vitamins and minerals
(If you have blood sugar issues, you should limit carrot juice to 4 ounces daily.)

These benefits are highest when carrots are either eaten raw or freshly juiced!

When I bought my juicer, I also bought the book below (I ordered it off of  It has recipes for energy, health, weight-loss and for things such as hair loss, upset stomach, blemishes, indigestion and more.  It is a great resource to have along with the juicer!  


This has got me thinking that I will take a drive to the Farmer's Market in the morning and see what veggies I can find to juice!

If you have a favorite juice recipe...please share!!  It would make my day to hear from y'all!

Happy Juicing!
(haha!  I goofy)