I Am Positive That I Am Positive.

Arline Lott Miller

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Being positive doesn’t mean we are happy, happy, happy all the time. When others hurt, when we hurt, it hurts period. Being positive means we trust that everything, even the sad and hurtful times, will work in a positive direction. Even failure can be a positive step in the direction of success. Times of sacrifice can build strength and character. Positive people lose, suffer, are tested, and the difference between negative people is the reaction. The little engine says it well, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!” That attitude is a perfect description of positivity. When I feel my positivity trying to leave my brain, I say to myself, I think I can!!!Do all of my meals turn out perfectly? No, and it is ironic, but sometimes when it fails, it tastes better. Not always, but sometimes. I think I can!Do all of my attempts to maintain my health work smoothly? Ask me on some mornings when I feel queasy, but my glucose numbers are starting to level out. I grab a cracker and some ginger ale and say “I think I can!”Do I always say the perfect thing? Oh I could go on about this one as my mouth will get ahead of my brain and the train goes off the track, but when I say something that actually encourages another, and they acknowledge how it helped, I say thank you for allowing me to have the blessing of positivity. I think I can!Do I know what I should do every minute of every day? Of course not, but I am positive that I can pray and search for answers. I know I can! God is the most positive Google search engine and I know He Can. Be Positive, Be Encouraging, and Be Faithful to Your Faith.

Here’s a thought to start our day off in a positive light:

Morning Thought: Enlighten Your Being by Seeking Those Things Which Are Given Freely.

1- A child’s laugh and giggles.

2- An old person’s story of a time when they were young.

3- Animals at play with each other or by themselves.

4-Nature in all forms can be soothing or exciting but always enlightening.

When we allow ourselves, what I like to call, gliding thoughts with no specific direction it produces creative results. Think light and breezy thoughts to get past any conflict blocking enlightenment. Enlighten by lightening the load in our heads.

Photo From Facebook.com

photo by Ian Hunt.jpeg

Positivity breeds productivity. At a young 72, I am optimistic for a long, healthy, productive, and creative life. I see more not less. I see good and not bad. You may ask how I can say that last statement in the midst of all of the chaos and confusion in the world. It is this simple. I can only control myself, not the world. I can focus on each good thing which allows me less time to focus on bad things. I am not naive at all. I CHOOSE how I react to negativity which at 72 years this is not my first rodeo and I CHOOSE to think I will survive the bad and thrive on the good. If you concentrate on life and not politics as one is a given as each breath and day is a blessing but politicians come and go. Wasted breath is what I refuse to spend my valuable day and time and I love cooking and baking. That is my therapy to avoid that back and forth chatter. Spend time in the yards, kitchen, writing, drawing, crafting, creating whatever hobby you love, sing, dance, walk, and any other healthy and wise activity you enjoy.

Photo Courtesy of Greg Miller

I encourage my husband who is a great amateur photographer to take photos. He does and it excites me to see his talent. It doesn’t matter what you are good at or even if you are not spectacular doing what you love…….Do It! Be Positive about Doing It! You will be surprised at how much more tolerant of all events in life when you see life in a positive light.

I want to spend a few lines on the biggest factor on being positive which is your faith. Faith is a mixture of a lot of things:

Faith in Our God and Higher Power

Faith in Ourselves as Acceptable to God and Our Fellow Person

Faith in Our Way of Life

Faith in Our Community

In all of these, we can build a positive link to enjoying the good parts in life and there is no room for negativity. It is a positive direction to remove negativity and build on what can be accomplished by trusting in God, Ourselves, Our Way of Life, and Our Fellow Human. May you find positive outlets to fulfill a happy life.

(C) Copyright 2012 – 2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced, if known, to original location if known.

SASSY AND SEXY EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA FEATURED BY MISSY.

Yesterday in my kitchen, I had the distinct pleasure of being Missy’s director with her taking center stage by walking us through the preparation of the most delicious eggplant parmigiana which by all standards far surpasses any I have eaten in Five Star Restaurants. It actually has three segments which could easily stand alone and/or integrate with other foods…Your choice but the sauce is over the top, the fried eggplant is beyond description, and then put these elements in one dish and you will have a sassy and sexy dining experience you will not forget.

I was a cynic of eggplant before I sampled the fried eggplant that was submerged in flour, egg, cheeses, and then back to the flour. It was a delight by itself but I was indoctrinated to see what happened next. Missy did not disappoint. I will never judge or discount the majestic purple eggplant ever again.

Below, is Missy’s step by step video with tips included on a great culinary experience while having a fun time making it happen. Please click on the video to see how this dish is put together.

Please click on arrow to view Missy in the kitchen doing her thing with Eggplant Parmesan.

Eggplant Parmigiana as Missy can make it have an elegant finish.

Here is the recipe for the simple mouth watering sauce she makes and allows it to simmer 6 to 8 hours approximately or until the flavor blend together to become one fantastic sauce.

Eggplant Parmesan created for you by Missy Smith Haas

2 Medium or 1 Large Eggplant sliced 1/2 inch circles

10 – 12 Med- Lge. Fresh Tomatoes (Diced medium, retaining juice)

Tip: For convenience or availability, can substitute 2 lge cans San Marzano tomatoes drained but reserve liquid to use if needed.

10 -12 Chopped garlic

1 large Shallot chopped

1 Medium/Lge. Vidalia onion chopped

1 8 oz can tomato paste

Herbs: Fresh Basil, curly parsley, thyme Dried Herbs Tarragon, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning (1 tsp. each)

Cheeses used:

2 Mozzarella cheese balls sliced

1 8 oz wedge Parmesan cheese (use as the amount needed in both frying coat and layering)

1 8 oz wedge Asiago cheese (use in both the frying coat and layering)

1 8 oz wedge Pecorino Romano or if not available, use regular Romano (use sparingly about 1/3 of the others cheeses if you use Pecorino Romano (use in both the frying coat and layering)

Directions for making the sauce:

Saute Onions and Shallots in Olive Oil for about 5 -8 min. then add garlic for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add Tomatoes, Paste, Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. Ketchup

Please watch the video with Missy showing you the dredging, rinsing, coating, frying, and layering all of the segments in this dish. I think you will see a complex dish made simple but maintains the structure of a wonderful dish.

Our delicious dinner prepared and enjoyed by all.
The best review a girl can get is an empty plate. Kudos Missy!

Thanks Missy, and we look forward to seeing you again soon in Nana’s kitchen with Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen. Until We Cook Again…..Happy Meals to You.

(C) Copyright 2012 – 2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Materials, if source is known, is given the original location/author for credit references.

Onion, Spunion What’s The Difference?

As most of my friends know, I am a huge fan of Brenda Gantt’s and share her Cooking With Brenda Gantt’s posts often. She is the real deal, very down to earth and even with her now celebrity status, she is inviting to watch and I have truly learned some great tips from her. Not to steal any thunder from her, but I love to learn new ways, shortcuts, and ideas on how to prepare great food with simple instructions. This is how this blog topic has originated when I watched Brenda show us how to make a blooming onion her way.

I am not going to post Brenda’s video on the blooming onion as I feel you might miss a lot of good cooking videos so I invite you to follow her on Facebook, at Cooking with Brenda Gantt (look for the blue check for the authentic page).

She loves buttermilk drenching and used it in the video. She took her time and opened the onion to make sure the buttermilk coating got all the way down. She added seasonings and then placed the coated onion in flour and even taking more flour and pouring it into the petals of the onion. She has more patience than me was my thought at the time. Her blooming onion turned out fantastic and she took her now famous crunch test by biting it. Yes, total success for her.

Since I love a blooming onion and have paid a hefty price in restaurants, I decided to give a shot and I thought I followed her instructions to the letter. As you can see in the photo, mine looked okay but was not “Brenda crunchworthy” to the bottom of the onion.

My attempt at making a blooming onion
. Not bad but not great so next try soon.

Hey, it was good but I could do better for my taste. So here comes the Arline wants the crunch idea. I had seen onion petals in restaurants as a menu item so what if I cut all the way through and release the petals prior to coating them and that is what I did for me. It worked and set the stage for the blog topic which you will see shortly.

Up close and crunchy is how the onion petals came out. Wow, I think Brenda would be proud.
This is what I was looking for, crunchy, tasty and easy to cook and eat.

Once I had found what was easy for me and produced the quality and taste I prefer, I thought I would share it on one of the cooking/baking groups I am a member. This is the focus of the blog, not the success of the onion petals. A lot, and I mean a lot of members loved my idea (it wasn’t a new idea as others have made them before). So many said they would try it this way, but a lot and I mean a lot of others told me how I guess me and Brenda should have iced watered the whole onion which seems like a lot of work and I wasn’t comfortable adding a lot of water to an already full of liquid onion. I am not faulting anyone for their ideas and it was a good response post and that is what we bloggers look for, the reaction.

What was intriguing was all of the attention over an onion. A blooming onion or onion petals? It fascinated me with all the hoopla over a simple food. I realized something very impressive. Maybe we have gone overboard with all of the freedom of social media that we feel a need to respond to each post and or blog or a group. It may be healthy but I saw strong opinions, yes very firm opinions over an onion. This led me to a deeper thought.

Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration, Reinvention Queen
  • If we took the same approach to homelessness, downtrodden and scarred people who even by their own fault fell into this trap of life, could we, would we solve this tragedy in our country?
  • If we took the same approach to education of our young children and teenagers to see what and how we can improve the quality of good education and not meet the demands of those who want to think for our children, could we, would we solve and move our educational goals higher?
  • I we took the same approach to caring for our elderly, who have given their time to take care of us when we were children and now left to live so frugally and sometimes even impoverished and left without proper medical care and treatment, could we, would we have a better outcome for their senior years?

I could go on and on listing all of the areas we can focus and insert input and solutions to the problems we, and others face. Onion, Spunion! Could it be possible to use the analogy of how so many responded to the Onion Saga, but never lift a finger or voice to the true causes of problems. I will give you a hint, It’s not due to an Onion so we can choose to make blooming onions or onion petals, or guess what, even Onion Rings. My point is there are many options to solve and recommend how to do the best activity to produce lasting and high quality outcomes.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known for credit references.

WHEN THE SUN RISES, DO WE REVISE?

Some people are slow to rise in the morning, but some of us seem to anticipate great things and are anxiously waiting for the first glimpse of morning light? Which are you? I have heard you are a morning person all of my life but my sister’s nickname is Nite Owl. I have witnessed her cleaning her house all night long. We come from the same parents so it is interesting how we see “the light” differently. I thought this is an interesting subject for my blog so here we go.

I found an article written in 2017 and have inserted the article link for you to read as it is a little lengthy but it gives a scientific explanation to the difference in people’s sleep preferences. Please click on it to find out why you either are an early bird or a night owl. I will uses some excerpts for our discussion.

https://www.vox.com/2016/3/18/11255942/morning-people-evening-chronotypes-sleeping

Most people — around 30 to 50 percent — fall right in the middle of the chronotype bell curve, sleeping between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am.

Another 40 percent are either slightly morning people or slightly evening people, off by an hour or so. 1

People like Sokolis are even more rare: Only around 0.2 percent — one out of 500 — of adults have a delayed sleep phase like Sokolis. (The condition is much more common among teens, whose clocks gradually shift earlier as they age.) A few more adults (1 percent) have advanced sleep phase syndrome and prefer to go to sleep around 8 pm, according to the American Sleep Association. Society tends to be more forgiving of them.

This is an excerpt from the linked article (see above link for full article)
Early Bird Gets the Worm clipart

As a writer/blogger, I find most of my inspiration comes from an early morning rise where thoughts fill my head. I know other writers/authors who find their inspiration comes from late night sessions. Don’t you find it interesting that people are so different and creatively inspired by varying times, places, and situations?

Let’s see what we can do to build on the differences in our creative juice outputs.

  • How do we consult or converse with others who are not on the same time clock as us?
  • Determining our work sessions to be the most productive at what time during the day or night.
  • Discipline methods to maximize our productive hours and the minimal for relaxation and personal activities.
  • Understanding that we may have different time clocks than others in our workplace, home environment, social media groups, and other locations/interactive situations.
  • Avoiding obligations during the low energy periods if possible for maximum results from interviews, meetings, and even social activity.

These are thought provoking questions/suggestions for each of us to consider. Most arguments/confrontations occur during low energy periods. Let me give a personal memory to jog the times when you have encountered one of either types of personalities:

When my daughter was a toddler, we visited my first husband’s family. My SIL was probably one of the sweetest and endearing women I have met and being around her was always such a pleasure, I was looking forward to spending the week at their place. Missy, my daughter and myself, well we have always been morning, jump up and meet life head on, so we were up at the crack of dawn. However, unbeknown to me, my SIL, was not and let me repeat, NOT a morning person. I found out when she walked into the kitchen with me and Missy shouting Good Morning, giggling, and then we got the LOOK. Oh my word, if looks could kill. She walked past us, not speaking and directly to the coffee pot. The silence was stifling, especially for Missy, who was ready for some good ole loving and hugging from her aunt who she loved tremendously. After a cup of coffee, we received some education from this beautiful charming lady whose head had almost spun around when we had spoken enlightened us that until she had her coffee, it was not advisable to talk to her. We learned that valuable lesson and she was the best hostess ever, but we never approached her again before that first cup of coffee.

Now, I am the opposite. I rise early in high gear with only a few exceptions but keep me up late at night and I lose my charming personality (LOL) and can get ill if I have to stay up so late. I have exhausted my personal energy and am ready for sleep. I have always said if I say I am going to sleep, it’s time to stop talking as I won’t hear a word you say. How funny is after all these years, I still fall asleep instantly. I wake up the same way I go to sleep. It’s the on or off switch in me.

Which type are you? Have you figured out how to be productive during your peak hours? Have you scheduled some relaxation during your low energy time periods? I suggested to my sister years ago before she retired that a night job might be perfect for her. I can tell you that type job would get me fired as I couldn’t function like I can during the day.

Clock clipart

I think from reading this interesting article, whether you are early to bed, early to rise type, or you come to life when the sun goes down, we can benefit from understanding what makes our internal clock tick, we can learn how to profit from our “clock type”. Give all you can during your productive hours, rest when energy level is low, and rest as fully as for your good health and happy life.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if known, is sourced to original location/author for credit reference.

Let Us Sparkle in Our Souls on All Days

Let’s sparkle in all ways!

TODAY THE WORD is SPARKLERS. With the Fourth of July coming soon, it brought back memories of the excitement surrounding sparklers. With more safety restrictions, we don’t see sparklers like we had when, as a child, we celebrated The Big Fireworks holiday on the Fourth of July. We knew of no danger; we only knew we were going to have fun when the box of sparklers came out. I can see the box now and remember the anticipation of being given a sparkler (one for each child). When it was lit; it was ON! The sparkling an crackling brought smiles, laughter, oohs and aww, chatter, and lots of fun. We weren’t privy to any sizable fireworks and we would go to the stadium for the town’s big fireworks display; but we had SPARKLERS! We would write our names with the sparklers in the air. Once the sparkler went out; we anxiously awaited the next gift of glitz and sparkling light. This was such a great time with each other by doing the sparklers as a family.    We would load up in the car, travel to the stadium and wait for it to get dark and then the fireworks would start. I remember us laying a blanket on the car’s hood, roof and trunk so that we could watch them. We never went into the stadium; we had too much fun in and on the car! Look at that one; see the bursts, wow was that one big; and Oh that was a loud boom! We compared each one with the brilliant colors and size. By the time for the finale, we were stoked all right! Then, it came with a constant barrage of color, shapes, sounds, and a lot of giggling, chatter, and some of our parent’s warnings to behave. All of this being so wonderful and we were taught about how this country was fought for, how independence was won, and how we were to appreciate this country. We were told of the sacrifices many had made for us to be a free country, live in harmony, and respect those who served our country.   

I found this information interesting:

As I like to find out some interesting info on my topics, here is an article from 1993 on The Sparkling History Of A Fireworks Favorite.The Sparkling History Of A Fireworks FavoriteJuly 4, 1993|By MARIA ATANASOV, Staff Writer

Sparkle, sparkle, shimmer, shimmer.What would the Fourth of July be without the sparkler?“Sparklers are the most commonly used and most legal firework throughout the country,“ says Bruce Zoldan, president of the Diamond Sparklers Co.But just where did the sparkler come from? And when did it appear?

The first one was invented in Germany in the 1850s, says Dennis Manochio Sr., historian for the American Pyrotechnic Association (APA) in Chestertown, Md., and curator of the 4th of July Americana & Fireworks Museum in Saratoga, Calif.

The Germans dipped wire into iron and gunpowder paste to make their sparklers, called wunderkerzen, Manochio says. Sparklers today use aluminum powder burning at 2,000 degrees F.German sparklers were brought to America around the turn of the century.“(At the) Columbian Exposition in 1893, sparklers were the highlight of the event and given to children,“ Manochio says.

Other sparkler facts:– Sparklers were first produced in America at the beginning of the 1900s with the creation and availability of aluminum powder, says John Conkling, APA executive director.

Today, there are three American manufacturers.– “As the Fourth of July became more colorful, sparklers were used by everyone,“ says Larry Callen, vice president of the former Acme Specialties Inc. “In the Southern states, like Florida, people used sparklers at Christmas and New Year`s (because) Christmas trees were not in vogue yet.“–

Today, more than 2 million sparklers are made in this country daily.– The longest sparkler ever made was 12 feet long, crafted at the New Jersey Fireworks Manufacturing Co. Inc., Manochio says.

NOTE FROM BLOGGER: At several weddings I have attended, sparklers were used as the send off treat with sparklers lighting up the night. A grand spectacular close to a wonderful festivity. We also can be the sparkler in someone else’s life when we light ourselves up and cast a sparkle to others.  

Now, for my deeper thought on this, our Country’s Fourth of July…..Our freedom, our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion, our belief in equality, our independence are our sparklers and we have to keep them lit in our minds as we never want them to burn out! The brilliance of our country needs to be bright as we enjoy all of the comforts we have had. God has blessed us and we have to do our part for our Sparklers to keep sparkling and lighting up the sky. Never, for one second take it for granted. Pray everyday for our country and for the world. The USA needs to shine brilliantly as a beacon of hope for the countries struggling. We don’t need arrogance; we need compassion. We don’t need to boast; we need kindness. We don’t need control’ we need love. Have a wonderful, fun Fourth of July next Monday and thank God for His Protection and Grace! Do a little sparkling yourself!

SAFETY NOTE: Fireworks should be treated with caution as burns can occur if misused. DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Matthew 4:16

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.  

(C) copyright 2012-2021 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced if known, for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen is Trifling with a Trifle

I found out our grandchildren were coming over for Sunday lunch. We haven’t seen them in a while due to camps, trips, etc. and we wanted to have them what they call “Nana’s Surprise”. I know how they love strawberries and blueberries and spotted the pound cake that would make a quick base for something delicious. A Trifle would be different that serving the cake alone. I thought I would video my efforts and just a hint, It was a total success! The children and the grown ups complimented it. The visual is incredible so if you want to have some colorful and tasty visual desserts, Trifle with a Trifle.

Basic ingredients which can be substituted or replaced according to your taste buds and availability in your kitchen. Here is what I assembled:

  • Fresh strawberries, 2 packages,washed and de-stemmed. I cut mine so they looked like hearts to display on the sides of the bowl.
  • 1 T Karo Syrup (clear)
  • 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • A large/high glass bowl to show off the layers.
  • 1 package of fresh blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
  • 1 large container of Cool Whip or you can make your own whipped cream but I find Cool Whip is easier to spoon over cake.
  • 1/2 or small pound cake cubed into bite size pieces. I used 1/2 of a large cream cheese pound cake but any pound cake will do.
  • 1 pkg of Instant Vanilla Pudding made with ingredients on pkg.
  • 2 T. of strawberry jam (you can use homemade jam or store bought jam)
  • 1 box Lorna Doone Cookies/Crackers with 4-6 cookies crumbled for topping

The video shows how I layered my Trifle but it is not set in stone. Nuts can be added, chocolate pudding, different jam flavor, graham crackers instead of Lorna Doone Cookies and the choices are endless so make it your own. I bought chocolate syrup to pour over it but I can assure you it wasn’t missed. I saved the chocolate syrup for my next surprise.

I used my phone camera as doing the video was a last minute decision. Overlook my amateur videoing.
Tip: Using a Tablespoon of Light Karo Syrup to coat fruit prior to sprinkling with sugar makes it stick to the fruit easier.
Some of the ingredients I used in the Trifle
If you watched the Jammin’ It Up video, you saw how Missy and I made the Carnival Jam and I used a couple of Tbs. in my vanilla pudding. Oh yeah, it worked great.
This is my Taste Tester Group who unanimously gave a big thumbs up. I took the photo before they ate their share and it was large enough even after 4 adults ate too to send some home. It made a huge Trifle. Nana scored a Big YES from these precious children.

Until We Cook Again…..Happy Meals to You!…….Arline Miller

Look for the next video with my special chef Missy Haas who is my daughter and loves to cook as much as me. Reinventing Pickles will be our theme.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if source is known, is listed for credit reference.

Feeling Devilish with Eggs with Reinvention Queen & Missy

Many of you may be experts on making deviled eggs but we thought we would share some ideas we have learned. Remember, we are a Mom and Daughter having a good time in the kitchen. I had tried out a cream cheese deviled egg recipe someone shared and was talking to Missy who thought this would be a good way to show off how devilish we can get with eggs.

The video is lengthy as we go through the whole process with tips on boiling and cracking as well as peeling the eggs. I made the mistake of getting fresh eggs before a family dinner and I was at the point of tears trying to peel them. I have used the ways I show you in the video and haven’t had a failure yet.

Deviled Eggs are a great side/appetizer/snack but keep refrigerated if made ahead of time.
These are the cream cheese deviled eggs I made last week.

Cream cheese Eggs: basic recipe will be posted but for 6 eggs (12) with cream cheese softened 2 oz & 1tsp yellow mustard, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Top with paprika or watch the video for other toppings.

Arline’s Deviled Eggs (Extreme)

Boil 10 eggs (preferable 1 week in fridge eggs) Place in ice bath when boiled. 

While eggs are boiling, in a bowl mix the following:

2 T Mayo

1 tsp Bone sucking Mustard (substitutes spicy or yellow mustard)

2 tsp pickle relish

Splash hot sauce more or less (begin with a few drops, add more if desired)

1 tsp or more according to taste EveryDay Seasoning

1 tsp onion salt 

Sprinkle dill weed lightly

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle lightly spicy paprika

In a food chopper add sweet or bread and butter pickles with 1/3 sweet onion. My pickles have garlic and jalapeños (only put a small amount of garlic & jalapeños) and chop them until small pieces. Add some to mixture in bowl and better to add gradually to avoid getting too much pickles. 

Add yolks to this mixture after peeling eggs and separating and placing whites on plate or deviled egg server. Use fork to smash yolks and blend together until creamy. Tip: Add Mayo by Tablespoon at a time. If you need more small amounts as it is easy to get it too soupy but if you do it gradually it will be better.  

Place mixture in egg white. Sprinkle Smoked Paprika lightly over eggs. Best to make ahead and place in refrigerator after they are cooled. 

Note: Please refer to recipe since in the video I left out the onion salt. Please remember we cook off the cuff so things may change but the key is to figure out what are your favorite seasonings and herbs/spices.

Missy and I had a blast with the eggs and want to move on to how we make simple and fast pickles (I used some in the video and they are delish). Next visit maybe we will do another one for you. I hope you enjoyed this video, apologizing for the long length but we are not pros at videoing, but we sling a good pot in the kitchen together while laughing a bunch.

Until we cook again…..Happy Meals to You…….Arline Miller & Missy Haas

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is source to original location/author, if known, for credit references.

Reinvention Queen Goes Herbing with Chicken Breasts

Have you gotten brave enough to create your own recipes without fear of failure? What’s the worst that can happen if you use flavor common sense? You can improve it the next time if you don’t hit the mark, but what a feeling when you get creative as I did with some skinless, boneless chicken breasts and a big hit of my garden herbs. I thought I would share how I save my fresh herbs with you as well as this easy and delicious Chicken Breasts ala Crusted Herb Spinach Alfredo Bake. Come along and cook with me!

Chicken Breasts with Spinach Herbs and Alfredo Sauce

Arline’s Chicken Breasts ala Crusted Herb Spinach Alfredo Bake

Family pkg of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts 6-7 in bowl

Add the following to breasts:

Sprinkle Everything Bagel Seasoning 

Dried Garden Blend Herbs 

Kinders Brown Sugar Rub sprinkle 

AR’s Southern Hot Honey rubbed on chicken breasts 

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive Oil (light coat) 

Seasoned Panko crumbs poured over breasts. 

Prepare baking pan with Olive Oil and Butter Spray

Add layer of mixed garden herbs 

Place breasts in pan making sure the

Panko Crumbs cover breasts. 

Place in 400° oven. As the breasts bake add a little amount of chicken stock if bottom dries out 

30 minutes. Take out of oven. 

Pour a jar of Alfredo sauce (can make homemade) in between breasts   

Saute baby spinach in 1T butter and EVOO each. Add seasoning of preference (everything bagel & garlic salt)

Place Sautéed spinach on top of Alfredo Sauce and return to oven for 30 more minutes. 

Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on dish if desired. 

Sprinkle Parmesan on plate to enhance the flavor.

A oiled baking pan and fresh variety of herbs is one of the first steps in prep.

A quick saute of baby spinach with some seasonings and butter/oil too.

The finished dish made a big hit. Isn’t it a pretty display?

I love my fresh herbs and I give my daughter Missy the credit for educating me on how and what herbs and spices (some I hadn’t even heard of with my Southern Cooking Heritage where salt and pepper were the mainstay seasonings. Now, I live to use a different seasoning, some of which I know I mispronounce but sprinkle them freely in my dishes. I found a way to store my freshly clipped herbs, ones I am not using at the time, by laying them out on a paper plate to air dry. See the photo below:

From freshly clipped to dried on plate and then crushed to blend and place in an empty spice jar.

Place herbs in select labeled bags for individual herb usage.

I clip the bags together and hang on the side of my refrigerator for easy access when cooking.

I hope you try a new recipe. Use flavors and seasonings you like and your family enjoy. No one has to cook/bake the same. Not all tries have to be cookbook successes the first time. You will be surprised at the enjoyment when you create a recipe and the family say EXCELLENT!

Until We Cook Again…..Happy Meals to You…..Reinvention Queen, Arline Miller

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced, if known for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen “Jams It Up” with Missy

I am an author, blogger, and I love to cook as the Reinvention Queen but my best title is Mom. My daughter Missy, who you will see in our first, totally shooting from the hip video, joins me in the kitchen. She brought blackberries which grow naturally in her back yard and Georgia peaches grown by her aunt and uncle and we furnished some fresh strawberries from our local produce stand. I have some herbs and we wanted to share how to take homemade jams to a new level incorporating some Thai Basil, Pineapple Mint, and Fresh Ginger.

Missy arrives with a special surprise, her own garden tomato, fresh off the vine.

THESE WILD GEORGIA BLACKBERRIES GROW AT MISSY’S HOME

JAMMIN’ JAMS RECIPES

BLACKBERRY GINGER JAM

6 cups Fruit (Blackberries for the first recipe)

2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

4 Tbs. Freshly squeezed Lemon juice

1/8 cup thinly sliced ginger (other recipes will use different herbs)

1 pkg Sure Jell (note: if fruit is very juicy, increase Sure Jell by 1/2 pkg.) If fruit is not juicy add the desired water as instructed on pkg.

*Our fruit was so juicy that we didn’t add the water to the Sure Jell and poured directly into fruit mixture.

STRAWBERRY AND PEACHES BASIL JAM

4 CUPS (2 CUPS EACH CHOPPED STRAWBERRIES AND PEACHES)

2 CUPS GRANULATED SUGAR

2 SPRIGS OF GARDEN THAI BASIL (LAY THE SPRIGS ON TOP AND REMOVE BEFORE ADDING SUREJELL

4 TBSP. FRESHLY SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE

1 1/2 PKGS SURE JELL (PEACHES WERE SO JUICY, WE DIDN’T ADD ANY WATER TO SUREJELL.

ALL FRUIT JAM (BLACKBERRIES, PEACHES, AND STRAWBERRIES)

8 CUPS OF COMBINED FRUITS (2 CUPS STRAWBERRIES, 2 CUPS PEACHES, AND 4 CUPS BLACKBERRIES

3 CUPS GRANULATED SUGAR

4 TBS. FRESHLY SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE

2 SPRIGS OF PINEAPPLE MINT (LAY MINT ON TOP AND REMOVE WHEN MIXTURE IS READY BUT BEFORE SURE JELL ADDITION

2 PKGS. SURE JELL WITH NO WATER ADDED.

SURE JELL IS A SURE FIRE WAY TO SET THE JAM’S CONSISTENCY

MISSY MAKES PEELING GINGER A SNAP AND THEN SLICES IT.

Missy’s tip of how to quickly peel ginger: Cut off one end of the root and use the spoon tip and scrape down the side of the root. Easy Peasy.

General notes: We cooked one jam at a time using the ingredients listed for each one. In the video, we don’t go through each step but here is how we prepared the fruit mixture, added surejell, cooking and cooling times and the jars and lids prep. Here is how we did each one and all that was different were the ingredients:

  • Washed, inspected, cut off bad spots or pulled off any debris or stems, washed fruits and placed in colanders to drain. Chopped into small pieces.
  • Placed in heavy sauce pan the fruit mixture, the sugar, lemon juice, and selected herbs for each type of jam.
  • Medium high heat until fruit is soft (we used potato masher to break down the fruit) Usually 7 minutes but watch and stir to make sure fruit doesn’t stick to bottom.
  • Add Sure Jell to mixture and cook for at least 3 minutes until the fruit liquid becomes thicker.
  • Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
  • While this is cooking, place your canning jars into a large pot, with water about the height of half the jar’s height with lids/rings around the bottom and in between the jars where there is space. Allow jars to get steamy hot. Remove and place on surface (we placed on large cutting board or you can place on towels)
  • When fruit mixture has cooled, place into jars using wide neck funnel, and place lids/rings on jars making sure seal is dry and clean, the same on the lip of the jar to avoid the jars not making a complete seal. Replace jars in the pot of hot water to seal them. You should hear them pop when they have sealed and you can press on them and no movement.
  • Remove and wipe the jars clean. You now have jam which will set with time. You can store in cabinet until you open and break seal but then you should refrigerate them.

This is our All Fruit Jam made with peaches, blackberries & strawberries flavored with Pineapple mint.

Stirring is part of the secret so Spurtles are a handy tool.

We had a blast with fun and laughter and we keep it real for you. We splattered, and washed enough bowls, colanders, and pots but loved seeing the beautiful, delicious results in our cute canning jars. What we like about our jam session is we winged it. Not any formal recipe, deciding the fruit combos with the herbs. Nothing is ever set in stone and use your creativity and go for your favorites. If you like sweet tastes, use more sugar. If you aren’t crazy about a specific herb, try another one or leave them out. The key is to experiment and don’t necessarily cook it like we do…..Make it your own! We certainly do our own thing and want others to do the same.

Until We Cook Again……..Happy Meals To You…… Reinvention Queen with Missy too!

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced, if known to original location/author for credit references.

Reinvention Queen goes from Smoked Ribs to Rib Hot Pockets

For Memorial Day Weekend, my husband Greg Miller, smoked the best ribs and we feasted. Now, I wanted to show how you can reinvent them in an easy and quick way.

Arline’s Hot Pockets from Smoked Ribs (can also use other smoked or grilled meats like chicken, turkey, and even leftover steak)

The leftover ribs before I chopped them to bite size pieces.
Chopping the ribs into small pieces allows me to have a lot of meat to fill the hot pockets.
Cutting up a large sweet onion into rings, slightly thin, and placing into medium saute pan. Add the following ingredients.
Add 2 T. EVOO, 1-2 T Worcestershire sauce, 1 t. Hot Southern Honey, and 1 T. Organic Tamari Sauce (can use soy sauce), 1/2 stick butter cubed, salt and pepper to onions in pan. Saute until onions are tender and cooked.
When onions are cooked as shown, add cubed rib meat and stir until coated. Turn off heat and let sit while you prepare the biscuits.
I used part of a can of Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers. I cut each biscuit in half height so that each hot pocket is only a half biscuit. I rolled on a floured surface with a rolling pin that had been rubbed in flour until they were the thinness as shown. Placing the meat/caramelized onions mixture in the center and popped some sharp cheddar cheese (other cheeses can be used if preferred. Using my fingertip, I dotted one half of the dough’s edge with water to seal them.
Using my fork’s tines, I pressed down on the edges and pricked the tops a few times to allow steam to release. Placing them on a sprayed baking sheet and then into a preheated oven 375 degrees. The package said to make them at 350 but I wanted a crunchy crust. 12 minutes or until they are browned.
Here are the hot pockets before they were gobbled up. I only made 8 but had enough dough and mixture to make 16 from one can of biscuits and 4 ribs. You could feed a family easily from your tasty leftovers. My husband made the comment I could open a hot pocket stand from these delicious and quick way to reinvent ribs.

My tips for reinventing leftover meat: As delicious as smoked and/or grilled meats are, if you have a grill master that loves to have a big amount of meat, try to think of ways to present this delightful meat in many different, reinvented ways to have an easy new meal. It will seem entirely different but not taking up all your time in the kitchen and who doesn’t like food in a nicely wrapped package like a hot pocket.

Additional tip: My husband used the bbq sauce Sweet Baby Ray’s and I used some of the sauce I made for the shrimp salad which was over the top for these hot pockets. You can look back at the shrimp salad post for this recipe.

If I don’t get to post the next way to finish off those luscious ribs, and I say they are the best ribs he has made, I will give you a hint. Think of stew beef! I will take and cube the rest of the ribs, add some onions and some broth and seasonings and stew it for only a few minutes. Once I have the onions and rib meat flavors married, I will add two bags of Success Rice and allow them to combine and wallah, a quick new meal in minutes.

I would love to hear from you on how you reinvent a certain leftover. There are more ways to cook than to start all over again. You will change the mind of a person who makes the statement……I hate leftovers….to…..How are you going to reinvent this meal?

Until we Cook Again……Happy Meals……..Reinvention Queen…….Arline Miller

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced, if known, to original location/author for credit reference.