Traveling in the Writelane

I did it! I set up my own domain and new website at Same content and all your great comments are there too! You will need to sign up again for updates at the site through the follow button at the bottom of page, facebook or twitter buttons or SMS for your mobile phone. Please stop by and check it out! Thanks again for your support!

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Moved to

I did it! I set up my own domain and new website at Same content and all your great comments are there too! You will need to sign up again for updates at the site through the follow button at the bottom of page, facebook or twitter buttons or SMS for your mobile phone. Please stop by and check it out! Thanks again for your support!

Smokey Braised Red Cabbage

Smokey Braised Red Cabbage
Braising is nothing more than quick searing then cooking something slowly partially covered in liquid. This technique brings out the sweetness in vegetables like cabbage. It is also works on tougher cuts of meat. I use Gala, Fuji or Braeburn apples for added sweetness that can stand up to slow cooking. McIntosh or Granny Smith work well too, but no bonus sweetness!
6 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium onion sliced thin
1/2 pound bacon (pork or turkey), cooked and chopped
1 apple, sliced thin
1 cup vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons butter (or reserved bacon fat if you dare)
Salt and pepper
Place butter in a large skillet. Add cabbage and sauté over med-high heat for about 5 minutes or until cabbage starts to “sweat”.
Stir in bacon and onion, reduce heat to medium and cook another 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add broth and apples. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is soft and tender. Add additional broth during cooking time if needed.
Serve alone as an entree or use as a side dish.

Asian Style Meatloaf

Asian Style Meatloaf
Who says meatloaf needs is boring? It’s all about what you put into it. I like trying different combinations and flavors.
Take Asian influence for example. Hoisin sauce, soy and even garlic-chili sauce like sriracha takes meatloaf to a whole ‘nother level!
Asian Style Meatloaf
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound loose pork sausage (or remove casings)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Asian BBQ sauce (recipe below)
4 Tablespoons green onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon ketchup or Sriracha hot sauce

Combine turkey, pork, Asian BBQ sauce (1/4 cup), breadcrumbs, 2 Tablespoons green onion together. Form into a loaf and set in loaf pan or casserole dish.

Brush all sides of the meatloaf with remaining sauce. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tablespoons of onion over the top of the meatloaf. Discard unused sauce.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove and cut slices about 1/2-inch apart into the loaf. Cover pan and continue baking until meat is thoroughly cooked (about 15 minutes).

Serve and enjoy!

Cantaloupe Ice Cream

Cantaloupe Ice Cream
You must have heard the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, when life gave me overripe cantaloupe I made cantaloupe ice cream. Actually I should know better than to take advantage of buy one, get one since I still have a whole killer pineapple, but that’s story.
Anyway without further ado, let’s make some delicious, all natural, NO preservatives included ice cream!
Cantaloupe Ice Cream
(For a soother texture use a custard base.)
Makes one pint (but I automatically double it)
1 cup cantaloupe puree (about 1/2 of a medium-sixed cantaloupe)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons honey or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Beat together sugar, milk and cream until sugar dissolves and mixture is frothy (about 2 minutes by hand).
Add vanilla. Mix.
Add cantaloupe, lemon and honey. Mix to dissolve honey.
Pour into your favorite ice cream maker or large plastic container and freeze. But keep an eye on it. The key to keeping down the amount of ice crystals is to stir or hand whip the ice cream as it freezes. About every 20 minutes or so until it is set.
I don’t mind some crystals because it melts as you eat it!

When There’s Smoke, There’s Peppers

When There’s Smoke, There’s Peppers

I don’t advise using your smoke detector as your timer but mine makes perfect roasted peppers! Just look at them! No, I don’t really time my dinners by when the smoke alarm goes off. Let me explain.
We moved into 1960’s ranch-style home early last year, complete with all the trimmings left from the previous owners; most of which I think are as old as the house. Sure we replaced a few things (oven, cooktop, hood fan, water system, oil burner, bath fixtures, air conditioner compressor, windows, etc), but the smoke detectors worked just fine. Maybe too good?
Broiling now involves two people, one to watch the oven and one to fan the smoke detector. Or, one person to run back and forth up and down the hall very fast!
Luckily I don’t broil often, but come on, look at those peppers!
If you don’t own a smoke detector/food timer like mine, here are some tips for achieving perfect peppers every time.
Place flattened pepper halves skin side up in a single layer on a broiler pan. Broil on high from top rack shelf with the door ajar for about 5 minutes or until most of the skins have charred. Do not overcook.
Remove pan and place peppers in a paper bag and close tightly. Allow peppers to steam in bag for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and peel. Skins should peel right off. Easy!
Use in your favorite dishes.

Pineapple Lovers Beware!

Pineapple Lovers Beware!
Sweet, sweet pineapple sitting on my counter, you’re so juicy and inviting. I think I’ll cut you up and have a big bowl!
Ummm. Delicious! Wait! What’s happening? Oh no, it’s Attack of the Killer Pineapple better known as Pineapple Tongue!
Don’t get pineapple tongue. Trust me. It is not pretty.
Pineapples come from the Bromeliad Family of plants, which contain a natural occurring enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme has the ability to tenderize meat tissue by breaking down collagen. Works great on steak but unfortunately works great on your tongue fibers too!
Here are a few tricks to help avoid it or at least lessen the effects.
Only eat fully ripened pineapple. A pineapple should be yellow in color and smell sweet on the bottom.
Rinse cut pineapple before eating to help get rid of acidic juices.
It’s been said a little salt helps neutralize the acid. I’d prefer an alkaline like yogurt or cottage cheese.
Even though I knew about pineapples and bromelain I ate too much anyway. I won’t do it again though! Pineapple 1, Cindy 0!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Ooey, gooey choclaty brownies with crunchy peanut butter. Warm and delicious with some vanilla ice cream! Want a bite?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour

Melt butter and chocolate together over low heat or in microwave. set aside to cool.
Cream together sugar and peanut butter. Add butter, chocolate and vanilla.
Mix in one egg at a time.
Add salt and flour.
Bake in greased 8x8x2-inch pan at 350 for about 20 to 25 minutes or inserted toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Style Cavatelli

Cavatelli is made with Ricotta cheese dough. Does it get any better than that? You bet! Add some pointers taken from the Mediterranean style of sauces by using vegetables in their natural juices instead of pureed tomato sauce. I love the chunky texture of these kinds of sauces. Short cut the recipe by using pre-cut or frozen peppers and canned tomatoes. Quick. Easy. Delicious!
Mediterranean Style Cavatelli
1 13-ounce bag frozen Cavatelli
1 24-ounce can diced tomatoes, not drained
1 8-ounce bag frozen pepper strips
1 6-ounce can (dry weight) black olives, drained
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon whole capers
1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Combine tomatoes, olives, peppers, capers, vinegar, seasonings and cheese in a large skillet. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes to blend flavors while cavatelli cooks.
Cook Cavatelli according to package directions. Drain. Add to skillet, stir and serve!