Bunco Party was a success!

Last nite was my bunco party and I made five out of the  seven recipes I had picked out and they were a success, especially a certain three!  The black bean salsa, quinoa and corn salad, and the spiced nuts!  I will post them here in a few days with a few pictures..did not have time to take pics along the cooking journey!  Now, a time for rest, the house is clean and there is left-0vers in the fridge, and coffee to drink….OH!  I have to go to work today…..

Published in: on August 31, 2011 at 8:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Chemist or Scientist???

Yes, I ask that question every time I make yogurt…….why?  Well, when you make yogurt, you are using a thermometer to get the milk to a certain temperature and I am always taking its temp to reach a certain point! Plus when the milk is cooking in the maker, it is going through some kind of chemical change from milk to yogurt……. Ok…here is the recipe and pictures and story!

Milk in Fissler pot.

In a 3 liter pot, (my Fissler pots and pans have liters marked on the sides-they are made in Germany-European is metrics, plus my recipe is in metrics also), heat on medium heat 2 liters of either 1% milk or fat-free milk-I used 1% this time.  I have used fat-free several times before and results are the same.  The temp you want to reach is 180 degrees.  Using a thermometer, I have a digital one for quick reading, take milk temperature periodically while stirring and cooking milk. You want to stir your cooking milk gently, trying not to make a lot of foam.  I used a bamboo spoon with slits in it.  This usually takes about 10 minutes, depending on your stove and altitude, of course!

While milk is heating up at the beginning, measure out 12 ounces of plain yogurt, making sure the top of the yogurt is not used; skim the top off the carton of yogurt if you just opened it!  Make sure your plain yogurt has all the beneficial bacterias and probiotics in it. I used Greek Gods Original Greek Yogurt, I did not use their fat-free/low-fat yogurt.

12 ounces of Greek Yogurt measured out!

Once your milk reaches at least 180 degrees,  take pan off burner and put into sink that has ice in it. Ideal temp is between 178 to 181 degrees, I like to shoot for 180 because your milk will continue to cook when you take your pan off the stove, especially if your pans are heavy pans, like my Fissler pans are.

Hot milk at 180 degrees!

My assistant, Tooter, making sure the milk cools down properly in the ice water!

Gently stir your milk while it is in the ice water, so that not just the sides and bottom get cool.  When the temp reaches 114 degrees, take your pan out of the ice water.  In a medium size bowl, add about a cup of cooled down milk to the yogurt and stir to temper the yogurt and make sure the lumps are out of yogurt.  Don’t whip it to mix it.  You want to be nice and gentle with it.

Greek Yogurt being mixed with cooled milk.

Once milk is combined with yogurt and lumps are out, pour mixture back into pot and gently mix together, making sure it is all incorporated.  When it is mixed, pour/ladle into 3 clean, sterile 1 quart glass mason jars.  Wipe rims and place into your Yolife yogurt maker.  Der Kuchen Lade, here in Fredericksburg, carries the Yolife Yogurt makers.

Yolife yogurt maker and digital thermometer.

Ha! I poured them evenly in the jars! That is a first!

Set your yogurt maker somewhere so it won’t be jiggled or messed with once your jars are in the maker.  Set your timer from your maker where the machine will cut off at about 15 hours from when you first put your yogurt in it. (a tip is to set your yogurt to be ready the next morning and not at 2:00 in the morning….)

Yogurt in maker cooking away!

Yogurt in fridge at 2:00 am....yawn...yawn.....

Yes, I woke up at 2:00 to check my yogurt and it was ready for the fridge….BUT!  For breakfast the next morning, I had fresh, good tasting yogurt to put on top of my fresh blueberries!

Beautiful, fresh yogurt! Look at the smooth and creamy texture!Spoon ready to dig in!

Fresh yogurt is great on fresh fruit with cinnamon and Agave drizzled on top!  You cannot find a store-bought yogurt that is as good as home-made yogurt!  When I make yogurt, I have friends asking for a jar, the Lord knows that I cannot eat three jars before it goes bad, so I don’t mind sharing!

The Yolife yogurt maker has instructions on how to make yogurt and the precautions you need to take when making yogurt.  This is just a quick story of my only chemistry/science work that I do……I did not like either of those subjects in school…..go figure….I never related those subject to cooking but I guess cooking really IS a science????

(If you like this post, go to my Face Book page and click the “like” button[Simple Dinners by Vicky D] and you can also find this on Twitter!  Thank you for doing this in advance!)  Vicky D

Published in: on August 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bunko Party August 30th

Hello again!

I have a bunko party on August 30th and I have been searching for fun things to fix to eat in my “Power Foods” cookbook that I recently purchased from Der Kuchen Laden and my “Eat Clean” books by Tosca Reno!  I have quite a few pages tagged with Post-It tags to choose from!

Super Moist Banana Walnut Bread (I will have it sliced and spread with Neufchatel cheese softened and spiced with cinnamon)

Vanishing Party Nuts(they will be sweet but spicy!)

Chocolate Almond Biscotti (something crunchy to munch on after everyone had eaten the meal!) [yes, left-overs will go to work…]

These three things are from my Eat Clean books, now from Power Foods!

Black Bean Salsa with Baked Chips(lunch left-overs for me too, if any left over!)

Quinoa, Apricot, and Nut Cluster(Left-overs will stay at home for my snacks!)

Spiced Nuts & Seeds (a different variation for us nutty people!)

Egg Salad Sandwich Spread with Whole Grain Crackers

Quinoa and Corn salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds(something different but good and left-overs for lunch to me!)

Sounds like a lot but I don’t think so!  It will be fun to make all of this and take pics to post here to share!  The party players will be bringing things to eat also, but I wanted to make things that I knew I could eat on the rest of the week!  Yes, I am looking forward to hosting Bunko this month!  I am getting the house in order and want to try and keep it that way if at all possible!  It is amazing what a clean house does to your soul and peace of mind!  For those who need help de-cluttering “your space”, my friend Kat Jacoby/Divine Organization is “the person” to call for help finding your “peaceful space”!  Hugs to all and stay tuned!

Published in: on August 21, 2011 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Vicky’s “Go To” Seasoning

Hi!  This is my seasoning that I grab for seasoning meats, fresh steamed veggies and whatever I want to have just some basic flavorings.  I use this like salt, because of the quantity of salt in the mix.  I keep it in a big shaker jar on my stove area along with plain salt and pepper, tooth picks, twist ties….ok!  Here is the recipe!


1 cup of fine sea salt

1/2 cup fine ground black pepper

1/2 cup garlic powder

Mix together in medium bowl. Using a small spoon, spoon mixture into your shaker and now you are ready to have this handy for when you want to season pork chops, chicken and steaks for grilling, steaming broccoli, sauteing squash in a pan, stewing chickens in the crock pot or whatever you want to season with that little touch of garlic along with S&P!  I buy large containers of each one from either Sam’s, Costco, or somewhere and keep them on hand at all times.  I have to make up a batch about every three months or so.  Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!  It can be modified to your taste and feel free to add other spices/seasonings!  I have even added ground cumin to a batch and called it my Mexican seasoning!  Yes, this is similar to Paula Dean’s House Seasoning but I like more pepper and garlic in mine!

Published in: on August 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

John O Lopez Poacher’s Chicken

Hi!  Here is the recipe that I posted on FB that I was going to make last nite!  I took pics so that you can see what happened!

Ok….I used chicken leg quarters that I seasoned with my house seasoning, yes I cleaned them up by cutting a ton of fat and junk from them and washed them so the chicken police would not come! (house seasoning recipe: 1 cup sea salt, 1/2 cup fine ground black pepper, 1/2 cup garlic powder-mix together and store in shaker to use like salt on meats, veggies or whatever!)

Get a large skillet out and drizzle some oil(about 1 TBSP), I use pecan oil, in the bottom and use your fingers to spread it around the whole bottom of the pan. The pan I used was my Fissler Crispix Delux pan from Der Kuchen Laden.

Fissler Crispix Pan

Heat the pan on medium high heat for about 5 minutes.  You want this pan to be hot because you are going to place your chicken on it, skin side down, and let it cook for 10 minutes or so without turning the chicken.  Once the chicken has been placed in the pan, skin side down, keep heat on medium high for about 5 minutes, turn heat down to medium and continue to cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes or so. Do not mess with the chicken!  Let it alone!  After about 1o minutes, turn the chicken to the other side and continue to cook, uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes.

While the chicken is doing its thing, start working on your veggie base: chop three large carrots-unpeeled, 3 stalks of celery-keep leaves on them if they are not bad, 1 medium onion, and three large coves of garlic.  Go to your herb garden/corner and cut one 6″ sprig of rosemary, and about four sprigs of thyme.  Wash them and snip them into 1 1/2″ pieces, leaving leaves on the stems.

the veggie basethe herbs

After side two of chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, remove from pan onto a plate;  add veggies into pan, stir to mix them up and get them talking to the crumblies from the chicken.  Even veggies out on the bottom of the pan and arrange herbs on top of them.

veggies and herbs in pan

Place chicken back into pan, skin side up.  Pour about 1 cup of dry Riesling wine over and around chicken. (pour a glass for you too!) Place lid on pan, bring to bubbling; reduce heat and let cook for about an hour or until you can see the meat coming away from the bones.

chicken in pan with bottle of wine that I used

finished dish-yes, dear sweet hubby liked it!

This is a dish that I will be making quite a bit but doing different things with.  It is a start and there will be other variations to come!  Try it for yourself but you don’t have to follow my recipe!  Let your imagination go with this!  Next time it may be green chili pepper poacher’s chicken, or Spanish poachers chicken, or refrigerator clean-out poacher’s chicken…poacher’s chicken with mushrooms….I could be here all nite creating the variations…..stay tuned for more recipes from Vicky D!!!!!  Enjoy!

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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