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IT’S THE UNWRAPPED PRESENTS THAT BRING THE MOST JOY

Unwrapped Christmas Gifts


Yes, I had gifts so prettily wrapped and I loved them all.
A lot of thought went into them for my joy to befall.
Throughout the celebration of Christ’s birth
The love was obviously shared in its true worth.
What came to me some presents weren’t tied up with a bow.
Gifts of love come in all kinds of ways that love can glow.
It’s those best wishes, kind acts, giggles through the phone from those who are alone.
The thank you for what you do, the smiles and laughter from your children that send love to your bone.
It’s the gentle stranger opening the door to a old lady, the patience shown for others and more.
Think back over the holidays and you will begin to think like me.
Sometimes the love of Jesus gifts are not under the tree.
They are unexpected acts of unselfish love that others may see.
The gifts we do for no reason but amplify the reason for the season.
Give of yourself and love like Jesus without any personal reason.

Written by Arline Lott Miller with hopes that your Christmas was filled with love of Christ with thanks for His Eternal Gift to Us. 2022

This Christmas time, instead of the usual huge family gathering with the big Christmas dinner and as many of the family members who can come, was different and we still have our upcoming time with one of the sons and his family in the next couple of days. We split time between the oldest son and his family with a BBQ sandwich some fixings and a big spread of desserts. It was so much fun but different that the usual gathering.

Then, Saturday Missy, my daughter came over for the weekend and we had a huge time in the kitchen as I told her I would be her Sous Chef so Saturday was our Mexican Cuisine theme with Missy’s homemade enchiladas, both cheese and chicken cheese filled and the enchilada sauce she made from scratch, Street Corn which I made, Missy’s famous guacamole and fresh mango and pomegranate salsa, and we made black beans and rice too.

I may have duplicated some slides as my mouth was drooling but onto Christmas day dinner. We bypassed the traditional dinner and went Surf and Turf with Greg grilling his famous ribeye steak that melts like butter, Missy pan seared Scallops with assistance from her Sous Chef in prep, Grandma’s cheesy green chilies bread (not really our Grandma but we would gladly adopt her), my pan sautéd green beans, Missy’s homemade Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and desserts Missy’s Blueberry Delight so if you think we missed traditional, no way.

After all the food, entertainment, gift exchanging, cleanup, yes that was part of it and then it was over. Our loved ones who had dropped in, visited and left, the poem you see at the beginning inspired me. I remembered all of the unwrapped gifts of love that were showered. They are too many small gestures of love given and received. Love for Jesus was shown in large quantities, understanding that we have to be flexible as life isn’t always about just us, and compassion for those who could use some love at this time. I will cherish this different kind of Christmas and this poem. I hope all of you had a great Christmas and we wish you a Wonderful New Year.

As a side note and a preface to a future blog post, my husband had a big surprise that is deserving of its own post as I feel a life lesson and it has inspired me to write it separately, but I will post it soon as it is a heartwarming story. Stay tuned my reader friends.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 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 references.

WHY OR WHY NOT, FRUITCAKE?

This year and for several years, it seems the world has become fruitier than a fruitcake, with so many changes in our lives I thought I would buy a small fruitcake and I know what most of you are thinking….Why even buy fruitcake? I thought about this possible reaction. I happen to be one who loves fruitcake and I try to be flexible in all the topsy-turvy world, still holding to my personal value and being true to myself. Whether you love or hate fruitcake, try to see humor in all the nutty, fruit filled days in 2023. It’s coming soon to your neighborhood.

NOTE FROM ARLINE: Merry Christmas to All and I decided to bake an Orange Slice Cake instead of the fruit cake to hope 2021 will be a better year. I wish you and your family a safe and prosperous New Year as well.

I watched a video from Cooking with Brenda Gantt who showed us how to make this cake. For the recipe go to Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Facebook. Be sure to follow her as she is a talented cook and great spirit.

FRUITCAKE SEEMS TO FIT THIS YEAR with all of the craziness going on in our country and our world. It seems the entire human race has become fruity and early this morning this inspiration came to me. It may seem satirical but I am known to be a little brassy and sassy and even a little fruity so let’s bite right into this subject.

When we were little, the Christmas Fruit Cake was a great treat for us so I have never understood the adversity to the fruit. We would have to wait after Momma baked her fruitcake, packed it with sliced apples, and wrapped it in cloth (later became foil). It seemed like the longest days before that luscious smell in the oven to actually getting a piece. We all stood round when she finally cut into it for her approval of her baking skills. She would say, “This is a good one or “We need to let it mellow longer” which was not the news we wanted to hear. Even if she was going to let it sit as she called the time we were waiting, she would give us a sample. Keep these words in mind as I move through this thought process. I will refer to this time again.

Momma’s Fruitcake

1 lb. Candied Pineapple                                    1 cup Self-Rising Flour

1 lb. Candied Cherries                                       1 cup Plain Flour

6 cups Pecans                                                       1 t. each vanilla & lemon extract

1 cup sugar                                                            1 cup chopped dates               

1/2 lb. margarine melted (butter for me)    1 cup golden raisins

5 large eggs

1 can Angel Flake Coconut

Chop fruit and nuts in large container. Pour coconut, sugar, flavoring, and beaten eggs over fruit. Add melted butter and mix. Add flours over mixture and mix until wet. Bake in lined pan (Momma used wax paper but modern times have other options) at 275 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. 

Note: No mention of the apple slices placed on top of cake and wrapped. To be kept unopened for several days until it becomes moist.

History of the Fruitcake

A traditional Easter Simnel cake

The earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ageshoneyspices, and preserved fruits were added.[citation needed]

Fruitcakes soon proliferated all over Europe. Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fastPope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the Stollenfruitcakes.[2]

Starting in the 16th century, sugar from the American Colonies (and the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits) created an excess of candied fruit, thus making fruitcakes more affordable and popular.[3]

Here is what I perceive has been going on in our lives and how fruity we have become.

  • We want things in life to be “sweet” even if it goes against any healthy reasoning or moral values, manners, or traditions and we are asking people to accept anything that has that “sugary” feeling.
  • We see videos over and over on the cat-dog, pig-dog, cats-horses, etc and we want to believe that all animals accept all animals can live in harmony and on the surface, it seems so beautiful but nature is nature and we have to stop and consider the safety of each species. It is not a given that all creatures get along and we have to consider the rule of nature and take precautions to prevent injury to either one.
  • Some people just don’t like fruitcake. I personally love it but have to eat a small piece now for health reasons but I have seen so many people go “Ugh! How do you eat fruitcake? I can’t stand it.”

For all of you who want more of Fruitcake Trivia, I found an interesting article that is too lengthy for me to add in this blog. Here is the link to the article

15 Fun Facts About Fruitcake

Click on the link above to take you to the article for your reading pleasure.

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This brings me to my focus of this message.

No matter how much you blend, chop, mix, and/or bake, some people are never going to like fruitcake and that my friends is society in a fruitcake. You can preach, beg, threaten, or try to convince people and if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. We need to stop saying we believe in inclusion and acceptance and then tell the others they can’t say this or they can’t say that. That is not acceptance……that is bullying! We all have preferences and some like fruitcake and others prefer pound cake or pie or neither. My point is that even though I personally like fruitcake, I can understand others not liking it. I can see their side and accept that side. I don’t however, feel I have a right to push fruitcake on them. I personally don’t like raspberries very much so I would prefer someone understanding my dislike. I wouldn’t have a problem with others eating raspberries and I think this is the true meaning of inclusion and acceptance. In our society, we could benefit from agreeing to disagreeing but never demanding that the other one has to say “I love fruitcake” when they don’t. Get my drift?

As I promised to return to the period of “curing” time for Momma’s fruitcake and it contains a wonderful lesson in life. Thank you Mom! Here is my interpretation: Mom’s cake would have been good when she took it out of the oven. As children, we would have gobbled it up immediately but Momma was wise and knew it needed that quiet time, that curing time, that sweetening time. Waiting while it matured in flavor, we were impatient and wanted what we wanted right then but the lesson we were taught was the following:

“Anything worth having or accomplishing is worth the time that it takes to happen in the right way. Success cannot be impulsively demanded but has to have the mellowing and adding that extra ingredient to complete perfection.”  (these are my words but could have been delivered by Mom during our waiting time).

I leave you with this final thought: Life is not just a pound cake, fruitcake, cookies or even pie. Life is a continual meal and has to be prepared on a daily basis.

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by adding ingredients and mixing it up with some fun ingredients.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

The Fun Is In The Kneading.

My last message was inspired by learning a new method for me in making homemade yeast rolls and how the dough had to be punched down with the analogy of how life works. As a curious soul and a serious baker, I decided to override my intimidation of yeast and go for some yeast rolls which my family loves. I had a great experience which proved very satisfying so I will share my experience.

I love to watch other cooks and bakers’s videos and I happen to see Mountain Cooking with Missy and guess what she was making. Yes, homemade yeast rolls. To watch the video, go to her page on Facebook and look for the video for Hot Baked Rolls or a similar title. She does a great job of simply instructing us through what seemed hard to do previously. I don’t have permission to share the video on here at this time. If I get the okay, I will edit this post to include the video. She doesn’t have a written recipe so I watched a couple of times and assembled the ingredients. I paused several times and it worked for me. I am including photos.

This is so exciting to know how to make yeast rolls and I am sure that practice will make perfect or at least close to perfection. What I want to share are my personal thoughts on actually experiencing how this analogy works with some added enlightenments I experienced.

I was interested in the blooming of the yeast and it seemed to come alive (actually does become active) and I referenced it to life beginning as our bodies and minds develop, we become active and begin to “grow” as the yeast did in the glass with the sugar. It occurred to me that it needed the sugar to help it activate and in life don’t we need love or as I like to say “sugar”?

I prepped the liquid of milk and softened butter as instructed and then added the magical yeast with an egg. I stirred and stirred until it was mixed and as I did so, I thought of how we mix family, friends, school, romance, and together they work as a future rising star. I cannot express the childlike anticipation I felt peeping under the dish towel that draped the unknown yeast but as I watched (periodically checking) it grew and you can see in one of the pics, it rose and rose. It is the same in life when we strive toward a goal, relationship, and or career. It is with excitement but can include stress too. We swell with pride upon success and we will get punched down a few times or even many before we can become what we strive to be.

The kneading was the most gratifying part of the process. The feel of “my dough” under my fingertips was so much fun. I see why my friends have love to make yeast dough. It is like a potter spinning the clay and watching the art become a reality.

I can go on and on with how much insightful this experience was and will be in the future as now yeast rolls and bread making is my new friend. This is relevant in life as we should never get stale in our relationships, religion, friendships, and our careers. We should be willing and actually enjoy the kneading required for each of these. The bread of life has to be kneaded properly or it will not be flakey and delicious as it can be.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material and photos are sourced to the original author and location, if known, for credit references.

KNEADING THE BREAD OF LIFE

I have been so pleased with the response to one of my posts My Life As a Dumpling which has proven to be one of the most popular blogs. While I was watching its popularity, I was also a student of desire to accomplish making yeast rolls/breads. For someone who will keep trying with the mentality of I think I can, yeast rolls have not been a success for you…..YET!

I began researching and observing the baking/cooking groups I belong for hints, the ultra secret, the magical tip, etc. What I found was interesting so another attempt will soon be coming. As most of you know that have followed me, is I apply everything to everyday life and at 4 am one morning the enlightenment came and now it is time to share it with my readers. If any of you have not tried to make yeast “something” you should. You will see the relationship with my blog post of The Bread of Life.

I have provided a link to this recipe Courtesy of Chocolate by Grace.

When the dough has risen, punch dough down with a floured hand and shape and bake as desired.

I borrowed this instruction as the basis of my analogy of making yeast dough to life. One of the times I attempted to make yeast bread, I was so proud of the rise the yeast dough had made, I forgot this important step…In order for the final product to process and make the dough the best it can be, it has to be punched down, right, all of you best bread bakers? I thought about this and my daughter reminded me something I had said to her many times. Success is a result of many small failures. So the punching down may be a little overwhelming, it is part of the process.

In life, and in yeast bread making, some recipes require two or even three punch down tasks. Shortcuts to success are usually shortcuts to failure and it takes patience to wait for the dough to rise. Life works that way. Once in a while, we will see what appears to be instant success but if you study those successes, it was the result that seemed instant and a lot of time and patience with several punch downs taking place that gave the true success.

Now, let’s talk about another important step in making yeast dough, KNEADING. Here is another place or step that I failed. I am not a person who has a lot of patience and some would testify that I may not possess any of that beautiful talent. I want everything I do to be resolved, completed, and successful in a second or maybe two. That doesn’t work in breads. You can do the prep, the mixture, the perfect rise and yes, even the punch down and the second or third rise, but if you skip the proper kneading you won’t have the successful end result. I will provide how important the kneading is to the process.

I found a great article that is linked below with some excepts/pictures:

https://www.thespruceeats.com/kneading-dough-bread-baking-for-beginners-427562

Why We Need to Knead

The reason kneading is an important part of bread making is to create structure and strength in the dough, leaving it silky and soft with a little cushiony feel. Flour contains two proteins that combine to form gluten, which is responsible for creating the elastic texture in the dough. After the dough ingredients are mixed, the proteins are in a random pattern and knotted together. When the dough is kneaded, the proteins begin to line up in such a way that strands of gluten develop and create a structure that allows for the trapping of gases and the dough to rise.  

This is how we should see success in yeast baking. We should also see success in our lives if we are willing to do the work. If we get punched down, remember we will rise again!

I have some more thoughts about comparison of life with everyday events and processes. If we understand, some learning curve is necessary and practice makes perfect, we get life. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE TO LOVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES AND RISE TO THE TOP.

(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material including photos are sourced to the original location and author, if known, for credit references.

MANAGING MY MIND MANAGES MY WEIGHT

I am happy to say that I turned 73 in June and now have lost 52 pounds! I thought this post bears repeating and even is more convincing with more results. I have a goal for next year at this time to report a possible loss of 10 or more which will put me at a 40 year lowest weight. My husband has jumped on the get healthier and in shape, but he will deserve his own post as he has made great and I mean great strides in the last 6 months.

I think this photo was taken when I was approaching the 50 pound loss marker.

Here is the original post that confirmed my life eating style change:

I am turning 72 in June and have lost 37 pounds. No, not by any miracle diet, not by restricting or avoiding any particular food……Smaller portions and when I eat the good foods outweigh the bad ones….Literally. Today, I am not an expert but I want to share my experience in a lifetime of fighting the bulge. I used to be an exercise advocate and to all of you who exercise, Kudos. As I got older, the thought of having to exercise is not as exciting as it used to be. I do stay active for my age but never do I hit the gym or track like the golden years of youth. Here is how I have gotten to where I am today and maybe, some of it will make sense to some of you and you get off the diet track and get on the eating the amount of food that you can digest without a lot of digestive side effects and maintain and/or lose some pounds. This is not a solicitation for any method of culinary preferences, just a woman who struggled for as long as she wanted and found a way to make it happen for her.

Arline Miller, 71 years old, 37 pounds lighter, and still loving life.

About 8 to almost 9 years ago, my husband encouraged or maybe the better word is demanded I go have blood work. I was the worst person as I felt good almost all of the time but had somehow began to fall asleep in the late afternoon even sitting up. I say this lovingly, and now appreciatively, I went to get him to stop saying everyone needs a check up at least once a year. Okay, so I gave in with no idea of what I was about to find out. First, I had always been on some kind of “diet” or “program” since I didn’t want to be fat so I could name so many diets I tried. My thoughts are any diet will work for the time you can stay on them. It is the harsh truth that it is almost impossible to stay on any diet for a long period of time. We get bored eating the same foods; we feel victimized and controlled so we rebel; or the excuse event such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, cruises, trips, etc and we make the almost guarantee to fail on the diet statement of “I will eat a little now and go back on my diet, just this one time and it will be fine.”

PHOTO OF ME before the weight loss and I wish i showed a picture of my whole body at the time. This is me at my highest weight.

On to the chapter of the doctor’s appointment: I go and cheerfully think I will be fine. I was just tired, no problem. I am a go getter and workaholic so that is why I feel tired. Right? No, Wrong. I will repeat the words my doctor said to me, “You are a walking time bomb. You are diabetic with your A1C at 8 with hypertension, overweight, and your cholesterol and liver enzymes are out of sight.” What was he talking about? I was close to tears, in shock, and thought he was a jerk. He had to be talking about someone else, not me, not superwoman. Oh, did I walk out of his office in a fog, a stupor, and thinking he doesn’t know me. I had always had a mental theory I was okay as I kept a positive attitude.

When I got over my pity party. Yes, I had a big one and even contemplated accepting the bad news and not doing a blasted thing about it and go on with my bad self. Then it hit me that he actually said, walking time bomb. Uh oh, that meant if I didn’t do something to change or diffuse this bomb in me, it was, or rather I would explode. I woke up in the reality, what I was doing was not the path I had to choose.

Food satisfies when it is dressed up for the celebration of a meal.

Next, all of the dieting experiences I had previously performed looked like the way to go. On one program, then to the next, and then trying another one as I had a hard time either eating all salads or meats, or only bland food. I am a rebel and this jerked my chain and I would think even when I was losing weight that I am not living; I am existing.

I decided once I had lost 17 pounds and wanted more off that me restricting my foods only raised the element of rebellion in me. One day, as I wake up very early, I had an epiphany to try to eat small portions of those foods I crave and eat healthy foods in larger portions so here came my new eating way of life. If I made potato salad, I took out a heaping tablespoon of it and placed it with my other food. If I made a cake, I cut a small slice, almost a sliver, but I ate it. I cut my portions of meat down to 1/3 of a fried chicken breast and yes, it was fried or from the air fryer. I eat a tablespoon or two of mac and cheese, rice, potatoes, and I will eat 5 or 6 french fries. I don’t ever take out large portions and I eat a half bowl of soup, spaghetti, or a small plate of mini portions. I eat a good size salad and use my dressing of choice but I don’t pour it on, I use it sparingly. The surprise from this change is I am full even with smaller portions and find I cannot eat a large quantity of anything. I retrained my mind and that is why the title of this blog is Manage Your Weight is To Manage Your Mind.

Make your plate pretty and now, my plate would be a salad plate and a lot less quantity.

If you want to try this method, don’t do it all at once. Try cutting the portion of the highest carb or sugar foods first. Breads can be cut out or lessened in amounts. Just be conscious of the amounts not what you eat. If you have a sandwich, cut it into four (4) square pieces. The mind will adjust and feel you have eaten more. The next time, make a half sandwich and cut into two (2) pieces. You will be amazed at how you will feel satisfied since the separate pieces will give you the satisfaction of more than one. Cut pieces of meat into smaller pieces prior to beginning to eat as you will see more pieces and it will feel like more. The next time, cut a larger piece of meat in half and do the same thing and so on and so on. Peel fruit and go ahead and separate the slices on your plate. The next time cut the fruit in half and you will find yourself eating a lot less over time. Make your plates pretty no matter what you are eating. That is something I do feel I do that makes whatever, even if small portion, is enticing and calms the cravings and satisfies my desire from food.

The old saying of make sure you eat everything on your plate is the root of all food evil. On this luscious and healthy meal, there is nothing wrong with eating small portions and repurposing food for another meal. I will have some blogs on my repurposing food anther time.

As I think that i will spend some blogs on how this process has changed my life and how much sweeter it is now that I know a small taste of something good, instead of feeling deprived keeps me on track. It’s the mind, not the diet, that causes the best things to happen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known to the original location for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen Revisits Potatoes

The following post was from almost a year ago and I decided that it is getting that time again for thinking of chowders, oyster stew, soups and chilis so what better way but to revisit this idea. Look for the other ideas for reinventing our normal foods into a new dish. Here is how I expanded some great potatoes into a delicious c

Yesterday, we were the recipients of one of my husband’s long time friend, David Fletcher who is an avid gardener, first bounty freshly dug new potatoes and awesome fresh garden grown onions. I was over the moon with the sight of the vegetables and I washed them off and thought of my childhood. Before I share both of my dishes, I thought I would reminisce a little.

When we were little, times were not easy but they were good. I don’t have a memory of a horrible childhood but rather a time much simpler than all the craziness in the world. We had neighborhood playmates and if we could be called a gang, it was an innocent one, and we now call ourselves the Willow Street Gang. One of those neighbors is smiling if he is reading this, as Duane Tucker and I jokingly refer to our days on that little street in my hometown of Douglas GA. Now, for the background story of the new potatoes or potatoes in general. To say our Mother could stretch a dollar for a mile, would be to insult that crafty lady. How she could make a meal out of almost no cost is still a mystery but one I remembered after I became an adult.

We may not have had a bounty of food but she always had just enough to feed us all. There were four children and two adults and one can of salmon would feed us and we left full. A mess of potatoes and we had the creamiest, tastiest, and filling meal. She would make bread to go along with it and sometimes if a neighbor had surplus and we got vegetables, oh yeah, we ate well. As I stated, she could make enough for us growing children to leave the table satisfied. When I made the fresh new potatoes, I was smiling while cooking them. Now, let’s move on to how I made two meals from this yumminess.

A large pot of stewed new potatoes with so much flavor.

Arline’s Stewed Potatoes:

  • Approximately 2-3 lbs of potatoes (new for me but regular russet potatoes can be used)
  • 1 large onion preferably sweet Vidalia or similar sweet garden variety chopped
  • 1 large box chicken or vegetable broth (chicken used)
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • Mixture of garden herbs with more dill than others
  • 3 Tablespoons of Flour (either type, SR or AP)
  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T Onion Powder

Scrub potatoes and cube into large bite size pieces. Place them into large pot with the broth. You can use some water in addition to broth if you need to fill to above potatoes. Add butter cut into cubes with crushed or finely chopped herbs as stated above. Cook until potatoes become fork tender on medium heat.

In a small cup, place some of the broth and flour and whisk until flour is dissolved. Add to pot and mix together. Add cream to potato broth with salt and pepper and onion powder and turn on low heat. Cook until they are very tender. Turn heat off and let the potatoes soak up some of the thickened liquid. (Tip: If liquid is not thickened enough, you can add a small amount of corn starch or mix small amount of flour to thicken to a sauce of richness.

These were so delicious that I almost didn’t make the next dish from the leftovers but I couldn’t resist the reinvention from them to the easiest clam chowder I have made. I made my simple but you can go wild with carrots, celery, whole kernel corn and use canned clams. The possibilities are endless but this one was put together in a couple of minutes with the biggest task of opening cans.

Reinvention Step of Enhancing Stewed Potatoes into Clam Chowder in Five Minutes.

To the pot of new potatoes, I opened three cans of Bar Harbor New England Clam Chowder but may I say, there are numerous brands of canned great chowders on grocery shelves so I used what was in my pantry. I added some celery seeds, garlic salt, mushroom seasonings, oyster sauce, and some Old Bay Seasoning to pump up the chowder flavorings. This I leave to all of you fine cooks, use your creativity. You can make it spicy and/or hot, but I go the middle of the road.

In a few minutes, I have a new meal so that it doesn’t reflect leftovers. This morning, I will return the chowder to the stove top and cook it very low and slow for all of the flavors to blend and when it is lunchtime, it will be Chowder Time at Millerville. All of this done with very little effort.

Here is the clam chowder complete with grated white cheddar cheese.
I seared some scallops marinated in buttermilk and herbs galore and seared them in a hot skillet with butter, grape-seed oil, soy sauce and oyster sauce. I made a roulade sauce. Definitely a delicious accompaniment to the chowder!

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

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if used and original location and author are known, it will be sourced for credit reference.

REINVENTION QUEEN “HAMS” IT UP

I posted the following blog post about a year ago. Since that time, I have baked more ham, froze the bone with meat, and used them to season cabbage, greens, beans, soups, and I thought that it is a good mental reminder to think of ways to continue make the most of meats that we cook. I am adding a list of ideas of how to use leftover ham before the original post:

  • SUGGESTIONS FOR LEFTOVER HAM
  • Leftover Ham Salad
  • Ham and Bean Soup
  • Leftover Ham & Leek Pies
  • Baked Ham and Penne Pasta
  • Ham and Cheese Croissant Casserole
  • Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets
  • Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Pizza
  • Ham Hash
  • Glazed Ham Hash Loaf
  • Leftover Ham Breakfast Sandwich
  • Ham and Cheese Grits Casserole
  • Ham and Pineapple Rice
  • Ham and Potato Casserole
  • Ham Pot Pie Soup
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Biscuits
  • Leftover Ham Chowder
  • Leftover Ham Sandwich
  • Split Pea Soup
  • Ham and Cheese Sliders
  • Leftover Ham and Potato Soup
  • Ham and Spinach Casserole
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Scones
  • Ham and Cheese Breakfast Muffins
  • Leftover Ham and Cheese Frittata
  • Waffles with Leftover Ham
  • Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
  • Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding
  • Leftover Ham Pasta
  • Monte Cristo Sandwich

For the recipes for all of those listed above please visit the following link to find out how delicious these recipes can be: https://insanelygoodrecipes.com/leftover-ham-recipes/

Last weekend I informed my husband I was craving an oven baked ham like I used to do before the days of the wonderful smoker prepared hams he does so well. I have to say I have enjoyed the past few years with Greg smoking the turkey and ham which gave me the room in the oven and the time it took. But like they say, you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I think the same goes as you can take the cook out of the kitchen but you can’t take the kitchen out of the cook. Yep, I was craving it and you may have figured something out about me, I will not be denied. As I was baking this wonderful and best smelling ham, my mind was already going to making all of the extra meals.

This is what we were craving ….juicy, flavorful, and just right!
The picture of my ham after it was glazed with a pork dry rub, dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, honey, brown sugar, everyday seasoning, coca cola at the end but mixed in glaze as well.
The first meal and the one we had craved was Ham Sammies with the softest bread we could find along with mayo and salt and pepper. I tell you it was over the chart yummy.
Foil is important and you do see it but I tent the top with foil and seal the sides while it bakes, It keeps the flavor and allows the meat to tenderize while baking. I baked this ham at 325 degrees all day with the last two hours at 300 degrees. I kept it foiled and it turned this gorgeous color.
I like to score the ham to thoroughly cook with the basting glaze seeping into the meat further enhancing the flavor.
I can’t even express the flavor this ham brought to our kitchen. If you consider how many ways you can use this ham, it becomes economical even in these high food cost days we are in.
I use the ham bone in the first meal I make after baking the ham but I have frozen the bone with some yummy ham attached for soup later.
The ketchup is purely for me and something my Dad taught me. The ham pieces flavor any kind of beans and black eyed peas too.
One of the favorite Reinvention Queen is to season fresh or even frozen greens with my ham pieces. Blanch the greens first and all bitterness will leave.

The pictures show several ways to use a baked ham. As someone who doesn’t like to waste any food, I will share a list of selections of how I will use leftover ham. I start thinking of what meals I use the meat at the onset of preparing it.

  • How to use a baked ham for many meals without getting tired of it:
  • Ham and rice (cook the rice in some broth with the ham pieces). Add garden peas and carrots or celery for flavor.
  • Ham and stewed potatoes (Stew potatoes with onions and add ham pieces to enhance the potatoes) You can add vegetables but I prefer the ham and potatoes.
  • Make a ham crusted pie. Use a bag of frozen vegetables thawed and a can of cream of celery or mushroom thinned with some heavy cream. Add cubed ham and mix with salt and pepper, garlic salt if you like, place in a frozen pie crust that you can bake but not brown and cover with another pie crust. Bake at temperature on pie crust package.
  • Breakfast suggestion: Slice ham and place in hot skillet to fry slightly and use in biscuits with fried or scrambled eggs. The slightly browning will make a great taste change from baked ham.
  • Cube ham pieces and add to soups. You can freeze the cubes and conveniently add to so many dishes as needed.

I could keep listing meal suggestions but you can use your own ideas once the creative juices begin to flow like the ham juices that come from making your own. I love fast and easy preparation but taking some time and preparing the foundation foods are worth every minute. Thanks for allowing me to share my ham ideas with you. It is great the first meal, fantastic the second round, and even more wonderful when you can freeze some for the next time you crave some old fashioned, slow baked ham by thawing it out and not even having to cook dinner. Until We Cook Again…..Happy Meals from Arline Miller, the Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright, 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced to original location and author if known for credit references.

Reinvention Queen’s Tips and Bits II

It is now July, 2022 and I thought I would repost my tips and bits of ideas on reinventing food. I am adding a few ideas that I have reinvented from existing food. If you reinvent a dish, please share with us through comments. Let’s see what I have been up to lately.

Reinvention Queen goes from Grilled Garlic Lemon Pepper Fresh Asparagus to Arline’s Garlic Asparagus Cream Soup. Don’t let a good leftover go to waste. Reinvent a new dish.

I had made squash the regular way and had been gifted some onions too. I didn’t use a recipe but threw self rising cornmeal mix (2 parts) and self rising flour with a beaten egg and some seasonings, garlic and onion salt, everyday seasoning with salt and pepper. I added a small amount of cayenne powder and fried the patties you see. Waste Not, Want Not.

I save my leftover biscuits, cornbread, raw vegetables, leftover peas, corn, beans, tomato gravies and freeze them in zip loc freezer bags. Soups come easy as well as my cornbread dressing and then there is as Southern as it gets, Biscuit pudding (slightly different from bread pudding) but saving leftover bread and freezing it gives you the ability to make delicious croutons seasoned to your preference. See these ideas on future blogs. Here is the original post from January 2022. Happy Reinventing to all of you and thanks for your support and welcome to all the new subscribers.

Don’t forget leftover cake and create a new dish from adding the leftover cake into another cake recipe. It is like a rebirth when combined with new ingredients and a good use from the leftover cake.

Today, while it is chilly or rather colder than I like it to be, I am staying inside and while I am hibernating, I thought I would share some of my tips and even some I have learned from others with my readers. I love reinventing dishes from leftovers and I have some awesome spaghetti sauce that needs to be eaten but you know as well as me, that making the same spaghetti dish gets mundane. While looking this morning, I found an easy way to make personal pizzas in the air fryer using English Muffins. Look at this easy way to use that spaghetti sauce:

Recipe by Gilat Split the English Muffin in half Place the English Muffins split side up in the air fryer for 3 minutes at 400 degrees.Remove from air fryer and top each with pizza sauce and cheese (optional: mini pepperoni, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.Place back into the air fryer for 4 minutes at 400 degrees.

These are ideas that can be used to add ingredients you have on hand and make it your own.

Don’t you find that you always have more salad that you can eat when you order from a restaurant that have awesome salads, especially Caesar Salads with the delicious super greens? Next time, you could use one of my tips by removing some of the greens into a storage container for later. Make sure that you keep the greens with no dressing to stay fresh and crisp. Yesterday I shared this tip on FB when I made homemade tuna salad that I used one of the dressing containers of Caesar Dressing in the tuna mixture which was an awesome taste.

I have learned to save the extras from take out, store immediately, and use. Do you save the condiments like soy sauce, ketchup, duck sauce, Arby’s sauces (the horseradish sauce is great for making your own tartar sauce). Waste not, want not is Reinvention Queen’s motto.

Another great tip for saving extra rice from Chinese take out as you know they give you too much to eat at the time you get it home: Place extra rice with a paper towel in a zip loc bag or container. You can make a quick soup by using the rice along with a tomato condensed soup, a vegetable can of soup, or a cream of whatever soup with a little broth added to the leftover rice. Wallah, instant soup and usage of food. Never waste, make something new instead. BTW, add some leftover cooked veggies to whatever soup you make.

How about making your own seasonings? This is a handy reference and we all know we have so many bottles of spices in our pantry. Why buy the blends? Make some from what you have on hand.

What to do if you find your favorite bread on sale and know that you would love to stock up but worried about keeping it fresh? See this tip:

Photo tip by Thehomesteadsurvival.com

One of my dear friends cooks with fresh veggies and fruits to keep her immune system cranked up and here is a great tip from Debra Brown:

This is where I use creativity by looking at what I have in the refrigerator and adding it to some pantry items. Deb and I think alike.

Note from Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen: I have posted several dishes made from an original dish on my blog and if you search on my home page on the right side and type in Reinvention Queen, it will bring up several posts focused on making the most of what you have. When I bake, broil, fry, meats, I do more quantity in the first round to save energy (both mine and the stove’s).

Jon Taylor provides a great tip for making Nature’s Flu Shot and my thoughts are make this up by using excess lemons, pineapple juice, and garlic that you may have in your fridge.

Let’s get our minds to working to use up the pricey items we are buying so that we don’t waste and conserve our money. Inflation hurts but we can beat the odds by using what we have in oh so many ways….Until we cook/bake again…..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright, 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, for credit references.

Reinvent Yourself

As my nickname speaks, Reinvention Queen, I feel it represents a lot more than just reinventing food. Maybe the first step in reinventing anything should be reinventing ourselves. Today on the blog I would like to address this topic on how we can reinvent ourselves.

To begin with, if you have read some of my reinvention posts, you know that my motto (not original but a good one) is Waste Not, Want Not. This means we should not waste ourselves and if we make good use of our minds, bodies, and not to forget, our souls, we will not want.

One of the first steps in my Reinvention Process, I look in the refrigerator or pantry to see what I have available. Let’s get personal and look at ourselves in the mirror. Let’s look for opportunity and not vanity. While we take a minute to see our pros, we have to see our cons. I am never negative but I also am a realist. What are your best talents, attitudes, qualities, and integrity traits? What are your obstacles or as a cook let me say, what are your bitter tastes? Once we see the good, the bad, and the “ugly” and I am not speaking physical appearance. we can decide what new dish can be invented from the “ingredients” we possess.

Next, I look for combinations for making the most flavorful reinvented dish. I feel if we give our associations some mental workouts, we can re-evaluate what can mix well with our own ingredients. One observation in life I see is we try to make too many non compatible ingredients work instead of finding the workable combination. I want to relay a personal story at this point for all of us to recollect since I feel fairly sure you have a story too. When I was marketing and making what I call good money, my dear Mom, with good intentions, said to me, “Why don’t you get a regular job like teaching?” I looked at her having many great friends who were good teachers. I respected them highly but knew I made a lot more money than they did at the time and replied, “Mom, why would you want me to take a pay cut?” My point of this story is not to boast as many people I know make a lot more than I do and have many more benefits to draw from. My point is we have to look at our ingredients (talents) and make good decisions. My next point is even if we are in a good place, we have to keep our eyes open and be flexible. That, I find to be a valuable asset in my life is I chose to be flexible and willing to change. Look in your pantry, see what makes you smile, fills you up and satisfies you.

I can make a dish, enjoy it immensely, but I have a nature to want to see how it would taste if I changed it up a little. That’s what makes me enjoy cooking as it gives me an opportunity to try something new. This is the same way in life. You don’t have to quit your career and/or job, but look around, find something new to learn and try. Ask your employer can you expand your job, cross train, add a new dimension. You cannot believe how many times in my life, my curiosity overrode any boredom in doing the same old same old, if you get my drift.

Reinvent a dish that will have more appeal to kids. Reinvent yourself so that you will be appealing to everyone, kids included. One of my creations for our grands.

I find myself making two or three different dishes using the first initial ingredients. I pull one ingredient from one dish, add from another one, and throw in something new. I would not be happy if I was on an assembly line doing the same task over and over. Some people love that stability and they are happy in their comfort zone. I applaud them but that is not my ingredient list in life. What is your ingredient list? If you find yourself content as some steak and potato guys are, so be it. Life is good and that is all that counts.

Today, pull out your ingredients, see what might could be added or even subtracted to make the best life dish yet. Reinventing yourself may be the best recipe ever!

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location/author, if known, for credit reference.

Reinvention Queen is Trifling with a Trifle

2022 Note from Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen as this came up in my memories. When I shared this memory, I wrote the following message as life is short, make the most of each day: Take time for the little ones; take time for the adult ones; take time for yourselves too. Life is about sharing times that children remember all their lives. The proof in this statement is if all of us think back on our childhoods, we will recall a certain food, or event such as fishing, sports, or times like reunions that a certain action was so special that your heart felt that memory. My aunt Willie Mae Ponsell baked the best Coconut Layer Cake that ever was, my grandmother Alliner Parker made cathead biscuits with white syrup that I never forgot; my other grandmother Lillie Holt Johnston made the best pickles; my Mom fried fish like nobody has ever bested hers; my Granddaddy brought me and my cousins watermelon and let us eat as much as we wanted and he also taught me how to combine eggs, meat and grits together. I almost cry when I make Cornbread Salad as it takes me back to Aunt Ludell Moore (I called her Aunt) with her smile as she told me where her cornbread salad was at the reunion table. I remember my FIL, Papa Smith, making the best potato salad, unmatched even with all my cooking skills, he holds the record, and my Uncle Buddy Ponsell making hush puppies that melted in our mouths. I could go on and on, but you have your memories too. The point of this thought is make time, make memories, make life happen for you and even better for others to sit down at some point in their later lives and remember how someone made something special or took time for you to show you how to enjoy life. Love to all!

Here is the original post from last year. The time is perfect for fresh fruit and this trifle can be made from peaches, mangos, grapes can be added too. Be creative and send me picture of your creations.

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 2012-2022 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.

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