Monday, December 30, 2019

Christmas Dinner With Our Friends – Appetizers And Drinks

My previous post covered the salad and the lasagna main course for our Christmas meal and today I’ll show our appetizers.

I'll begin with two kinds of hummas using a recipe from Gimme Some Oven for the first one. You can visit Ali’s site by clicking on the link for the original recipe, a how to video, and more shots like this one.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Christmas Dinner With Our Friends – Our Version Of Italian

Our original plan for Christmas dinner was to do as little as possible but then we decided to invite a few folks over who might otherwise be eating alone and when all the invitations were issued, we had 12 diners.  However, doing as little as possible was still a priority but the definition of “little” changed somewhat.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas Everyone

Here are Bev and Pat making Italian Crème Cake for our Christmas in Italy dinner.  I'd spent the day making lasagna sauce so the kitchen was trashed.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


12/22/19 event date

Sunday, December 22, 2019

15 Bean Soup with Ham

As I’d mentioned in an earlier post, there are five blue zones in the world where people have much greater longevity and one of the reasons appears to be their diet and they all include lot’s of beans.  I’ve had a bag of  dried 15 Bean Mix in the pantry for a few years  and decided this was a great time to put it to use – Bev is already saying we should eat beans every day.  I went off in search of a recipe that was more than just our normal soup beans and found one from one of my go-to bloggers - Tricia at Saving Room For Dessert.  I adapted it a little to suit the ingredients I had on hand but you can check her site for the original recipe and her usual great pics like this one. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Chicken Wild Rice Casserole – Ala Tricia

I have several blogger buddies who I consider my go-to’s for reliably good recipes (you know who you are) and when I saw this dish on Tricia’s Saving Room For Dessert blog, I knew it had to be tried as it looked delicious, was pretty simple, and fairly healthy.  I just followed the recipe from her site, which also included some great pics like the one below.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Paprikás Csirke - Chicken Paprikash – Paprika Chicken

While my girls were in Florida, I got to thinking about the meals we eat and realized we stay pretty close to home and I thought we should branch out.  So I divided the world into five areas (excluding North America), picked five 5-7 countries from each and found a signature dish from each country – the areas are Africa, Asian mainland, Europe, South/Central America, Pacific Islands.

My goal is to cook a dish from a different country each week and I picked Europe – Hungary – Chicken Paprikish with Nokedi (dumplings) for the first one.  I read many recipes for the chicken and finally settled on one from the Daring Gourmet for the chicken and a recipe from forthe dumplings.  Here is a shot of the chicken from the Daring Gourmet website which has many how-to pics and a shot from the web for the dumplings.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Salisbury Steak Ala Tuffy Stone

Most of you likely do not follow competitive barbecue but I have over the years and one of the real all-stars is Tuffy Stone who has a highly successful BBQ team (41 Grand Championships), a restaurant in Richmond, VA, a cooking school, and he has professional culinary training – he’s much more than just a BBQ cook.  So when I got an email from Thermoworks that included Tuffy's recipe for Salisbury Steak, I knew it had to be tried and our neighbor’s had to be invited for one of Steve’s favorite meals – they provided the meat from one of their beefs.  Click on this recipe link for some good how-to photos like this one.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Baked Salmon and Dill Sauce, Blue Zones

The girls were back from Florida, I was ready for fish, and I discovered a whole Sockeye Salmon filet in the freezer – Bev, Cindy, and I all enjoy salmon.  While I like to cook salmon on the grill, it was clean and covered plus it was cold outside and we had a fire in the fireplace so I decided to cook it inside and went in search of an oven-cooked recipe, finding one from Taste Of Home that I liked and modified to get the simple one below.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Girls Last Day I Paradise & Beautiful Sky

Friday was the girls last day in paradise and it was Cindy’s birthday so they had a celebration breakfast of fried potatoes and eggs, sliced pear, and avocado – I’d eat that.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Really Good Salad

Just like beauty, this is very much in the eyes of the beholder and applies to many dishes.  From garden to chicken to potato or ambrosia the word salad applies to a great variety of dishes but for me unless proceeded by an adjective such as tuna, the word salad means greens, other stuff, and dressing.

For this meal, I wanted what I will call a Mediterranean salad which consisted of romaine lettuce, cukes, onion, red pepper, celery, carrots, olives, anchovies, and feta cheese.  When I was growing up, my parents exposed me to a lot of foods with some I didn’t like (oysters) and others I did like (anchovies) which I’ve yet to figure out why Bev doesn't like on salad – I now also love oysters.  Shot from the web.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Cioppino - Seafood Stew

I have been wanting to make Cioppino or Bouillabaissse for a long time but I knew neither Bev or Pat (SIL) would have anything to do with it (it’s basically boiled fish), so I decided to make it while they were in Florida and invite some friends over to help me eat it.  There are lot’s of different recipes but I opted for one from All Recipes as it was pretty simple and sounded very good.  Since it makes 13 servings, I cut it in half and changed the seafood a little for what I like to get the recipe below.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Hooters and The Village Fish Market


When the girls go to Marco for there annual trip, my buddy, Joe, and I make our yearly visit to Hooters for wings and a beer and this time another joined us.  One of the sad things about getting old it having to admit that I now go to Hooters just for the food.

Monday, November 25, 2019

My Jobs At Home

While the girls are in Florida, I have several jobs at home with the most important one being looking after the pups.  

Friday, November 22, 2019

Crappie Au Gratin & Marco Trip Update

Every since we went to New England several years ago, I’ve been trying to replicate the baked Haddock or Hake dishes on most seafood restaurant menus so I decided to give this one from Rock Recipes a try using crappie from our freezer.  My package of crappie contained 1½ lbs. so I scaled the recipe for that plus I made it in three individual gratin dishes.  Click on the link for the original recipe and pics.  This is a shot of his dish. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Just Us Guys

My three girls, along with our neighbor, headed out Saturday morning for the annual two week visit to our time share condo in Marco Island, FL leaving me and the three male dogs to look after things on the home front. 

Sunday morning they went to my favorite breakfast place on the island to have some delicious looking meals.  Hoots is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week and both meals are excellent especially when they make their own delicious bread for sandwiches and toast – I love their rye.  You can click on the link to check out the menu.  

This is the look off the condo balcony.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Eliza Visits

Last Sunday, two year old Eliza came down from Oak Ridge for a visit and she brought along her mom and dad (Wende and Ralph).  As expected, she changes quite a bit each time we see her both in size and things she can do – she brought along her rocker for this trip.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Green Tomato and Country Ham Soup For Cold Weather

Here we were on Nov 11 with record cold temperatures predicted for the coming night and we awoke to a light covering of snow that morning with this as my first view out our living room window.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Cherokee National Forest & Tellicafe

A Big Thanks To Our Veterans

One of the things we wanted to do this fall was drive up on the Cherohala Skyway (TN-165, NC-143) and look at the colorful leaves and we finally made it on this day.  We were hoping for a clear day but unfortunately it was cloudy so the shots aren’t as good and even more unfortunately we needed to go about 10 days earlier when the colors were better and before the rains and wind came through and brought down most of the leaves.

But before we headed up on the skyway, we made a must stop is the Tellico Grains Bakery, which is famous in our area, to pick up a few goodies to take home.

Cindy had never been there and came out with a bag full.  

Friday, November 8, 2019

Supper For Joe & Carol

Good friend Joe is my go-to guy when it comes to electronics and regularly does things to keep me going.  One of the ways we can repay him is with a nice meal for he and his wife, Carol, and they like steak.  For this meal Bev wanted to do something different than just grill a filet so she bought some flank steak to be marinated, jaccarded, grilled, and sliced thin for serving.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Two Ways

When I saw the recipe for Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Walnut Pork on Chef John’s Food Wishes blog, I knew it had to be tried and since I had a two pack of pork tenderloins and some apples, I searched the web and found the recipe for Stuffed Pork Loin at for the second one.

I changed the first one a little to match our ingredients and the changes are in () but the original recipes can be found by clicking on the above links.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Supper For Someone In Need

Bev has a friend who is working full time and looking after a son who was very seriously injured in a car wreak so Bev has offered to make supper for her family once a week, which began this week.  Since the weather had turned cold and rainy, we thought soup would be just the ticket and we chose White Chili using the Calhoun’s (local restaurant chain) recipe from Food,com.  

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Kathy’s Quick Visit

Kathy and her special friend came to town for a quick trip in order to attend her 30th high school reunion – how could that much time have passed since she graduated.  She spent much of her time visiting with old friends who were not at her reunion which meant she was only at our place for one supper meal and we opted for a dish Bev really likes to make for company.

The supper meals included just the entrée and some lettuce with dressing in it.  The entrée was Pan Seared CatfishWith Brown Butter On Black Olive Toast which I had blogged about six years ago but don’t remember the source of the recipe – rather than re-post it here, just click on the above link for the recipe.  It looked like this back then.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Impromptu Supper and Apple Pie

While we were at our Crossville Rally week before last, we drove an hour south to visit Wooden’s Apple House where we picked up some Granny Smith apples to go with the Rome’s we already had and Bev decided to whip up an apple pie using a recipe from All Recipes.

While it was baking, the neighbors called to see if they could watch the Tennessee-South Carolina football game with us – they only get local channels and it was on the SEC Network.  While watching the first half of the game, they mentioned they were cooking pinto beans and planning to make corn muffins and suggested they just bring it all down to our place.  It was all good and I really like these impromptu meals.

Bev used a mixture of the two apple varieties and about twice as many as the recipe calls for due to piling them high in her extra big pie dish – it measures 10”x 2½”.  For the extra apples, she doubled the sugar and I thought the pie was just a little sweeter than a sweet apple which is the way I like my pie.  Below is the original recipe, except for the crusts.

Apple Pie by Grandma Ople – Adapted from All Recipes

2 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts (Bev’s change)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly (or a lot for Bev). 3. 3. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
4. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

The warm pie was a big hit with everyone and some had theirs ala mode.

And another good part of the day was that UT beat SC (who just beat 3rd ranked Georgia a couple of weeks ago) by the impressive score of 41-21.  This is three good games in a row for UT (even though they lost to Alabama) and they played much of the second half with the third string quarterback, who did very well.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


10/26/19 event date

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Skillet Chicken Ala Tricia

We’ve always enjoyed Tricia’s recipes so when she recently posted the recipe for Skillet Chicken and Mushroom Wine Sauce on her Saving Room For Dessert blog I knew I had to make it.  How could you pass on a dish that looks like this in her pic.

Click on the above link for the original recipe and more enticing shots.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Tennessee Travelers October Rally – Crossville, TN – Days 5 & 6

The main group activity for Friday was a tour of the now closed Brushy MountainState Prison but we elected to pass on the tour and make the 50 minute drive south on US-127 to Oren Wooden’s Apple House located just east of Pikeville, TN.  Running from southern MI to northern AL, you may be familiar with this road as home to the World’s Longest Yard Sale each summer.

It’s been several years since we drove thru the Sequatchie Valley and it was as pretty as I remember it, even though the grass was still dry from our drought.  We arrived at Wooden’s to discover that many others had the same idea as the parking lot was about full.

The bottom floor was about what I expected but with less of the jarred items (jellies, vegetables, etc) found in most tourist stores.  They had plentry of apples and good looking sweet potatoes though.

The upstairs was devoted to craft type items ranging from quilts to birdhouses.

They also had a pie shop and a café with a small buffet and this seemed to be where most of the customers were located.

We left Wooden’s with apples, sweet potatoes, cider, and an apple pie.

An unpicked orchard across the street.  They annually pick about 4-5 million apples from their 100 acres along with pumpkins, squash, and sweet potatoes.

On the way home we stopped at Simonton’s Cheese House for some gourmet cheese then at the Chestnut Hill Winery for some of Bev’s favorite Peach Wine.

That evening, we drove northwest of downtown Crossville for supper at Vegas Steakhouse & Lounge which is a nice looking restaurant just south of I-40 on N. Main St.  I enjoyed a nicely grilled piece of tuna with salad and roasted potatoes ($14.95) but Bev didn’t care for her Excalibur Beef Tips over rice ($14.95).  I would think a steakhouse would do mediocre on the fish but great with tenderloin beef tips – go figure.

On Saturday, we buttoned up the coach, said our good-byes, and headed back to Greenback in time to watch West Virginia get slaughtered by Oklahoma, as expected.

With no more trips planned, it’s time to put the coach to bed for the winter.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


10/18-10/19/19 event dates

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Tennessee Travelers October Rally – Crossville, TN – Days 3 & 4

We awoke Wednesday morning to a beautiful sound – a desperately needed steady rain for a few hours and it was accompanied by a 20F temperature drop – thankfully fall has finally arrived.

It was a free day so after our morning guy-coffee and making about 30 hamburger patties, some of us went to the grocery store to get the ingredients for a batch of Ranch Beans for our cookout.

While the dogs hung around the coach with me while I made the beans, the girls went into downtown Crossville to check out a couple of stores.

That evening, the guys grilled up some burgers and brats which we sided with the beans and some chips for a nice evening meal which was preceded and followed by lots of visiting.  Once again, the Ranch Beans were a big hit.

Following the rain and cold front that moved through, Thursday morning we awoke to 33F temps but the fireplace and electric Aqua-Hot kept the coach nice and warm.  While I initially thought it was a waste of space, I’ve grown to appreciate the electric fireplace as it allows us to not have to use the Aqua-Hot’s diesel burner and heat totally with the electricity we have bought from the campground.

On Thursday morning we had a potluck breakfast prior to the annual business meeting and this is the list of food we had.

Milo and Dianne - pastries
Bob and Pam - hash brown casserole
Louie and Sandy – sausage gravy
Tom and Barb - ham roll ups
Bob and Lil - biscotti
Dick and Marge - biscuits
Larry and Bev - scrambled eggs and sausage
Daryl - egg casserole with veggies
Del and Patsy - bacon and orange juice
Tip and Karen - bowl of mixed fruit
Bill and Barb - yogurt and fruit
David and Francis - donuts
Don and Rachel - banana nut bread

As you might imagine we had way more than enough to eat.

After the meal, we held our annual meeting which included the election of officers for the next two year term.  After the election, the wife of the new president topped his head with a crown and dubbed him King Louie – I think he actually blushed a little.

That afternoon, we made the 45 minute drive to Muddy Pond, TN which is a Mennonite community here on the Cumberland Plateau.  We stopped at the Leather Shop and General Store first where they have lots of stuff but very little from this community.  We still bought some cheese, hominy grits, and molasses (which is Muddy Pond made).

Our next stop was the variety store where the only purchase was some just-made, warm, fried apple pies, which were very good - not on the diet but couldn't pass up a warm one, but at least it was small.

Our final stop was the home of a lady making baked goods for some yeast rolls, then back to the campground – it was a good way to spend the afternoon and another fun day at the rally.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


10/16-10/17/19 event dates