REINVENTION QUEEN IS HAMMING IT UP

Last weekend I informed my husband I was craving a 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, 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced to original location and author if known for credit references.

REPEAT AFTER ME, I DID THIS TO MYSELF

As a person who has lost 42 pounds over a span of years, I have learned some tips. One of the most beneficial to me is not to deprive but thrive on smaller portions of healthy choices while allowing myself a few bites, not portions, of all food groups. I posted this blog post several years and thought you might find it interesting now. Here is the original post:

Quite often, I post blog messages that apply to myself mainly, but true to form, others jump in and comment, this is me too. The focus of today’s message is a blunt look at how we humans remain in denial on many issues. We have a desire to stay healthy, look attractive, succeed at whatever work or career we choose or is placed at our door. We strive to have a wonderful relationship with our spouse, lover, sweetheart, and also our families and friends…….Or do we? Uh, oh, I feel the crunch of me stepping on toes but please know I am feeling the pain as this is a selfie message so I feel ya!

DREAMSTIME.COM (photo courtesy)

Let us begin the recognition of a stumbling block to our happiness by answering some hard questions:

  1. Who do I blame when I gain weight?
  2. Do I actually realize who is at fault when I fail at goals?
  3. Do I feel I have to justify my actions or throw blame at my parents, my life, God, or family/friends?
  4. Do I review my actions in any matter which caused me to succeed or fail to better future actions/results?
  5. Am I the first one to thank another person who has encouraged or do I feel they overstepped their boundary?

Can you see where I am going with this train of thought? Too many times, we want the denial excuse rather than make the appropriate changes we could make to change outcomes. This morning, very well timed, a post I wrote on Facebook seven years ago showed up and it is worth reading:

Today is a good day to think back over life and ponder over things that have happened. What would we change, what we have said differently to someone if we had a “do over”, what would we do about our occupations, would we live where we live now, would we go for a dream that we put off for other things or people, would we have chosen to eat healthier, exercised more, loved better, smiled more and forgiven easier? The reason I ponder about these things is to say that the past is the past, but today is today and tomorrow is yet to come. Right now and for the future, we have choices and we should not delay to make some changes or insure that the good things stay intact an securely, love better, stay in shape and healthily, be frugal, and above all else, remember that if we have been forgiven, we have to forgive others. Removing any anger allows the smile to come forth more readily, and it is healthy to smile. Arline Miller 2012

I think we all have great intentions as it would not make any sense on any given day, we wake up to be a failure at anything but we are humans with weaknesses and who doesn’t love a treat, a gift, a pleasure, right? It is when the realization of the repetitive giving into temptations over and over seeps in and becomes a denial. Now, to get really real with myself and hopefully you may find yourself saying oops, I do that. Here are the usual denial hoops we jump through. An additional thought for you to ponder: Apply these hoops by replacing words and see how the denial train stops at all life stations whether it be health, wealth, love, and just life.

  1. I don’t know why I can’t lose weight. I try so hard.
  2. I must have bad genes as I don’t overeat.
  3. I should be able to eat sweets, candy, desserts like all of my friends.
  4. I don’t know why I don’t lose weight because I go walking, or cleaning my house but it doesn’t work.
  5. I plan healthy foods but my family won’t eat them so I stopped making them.
  6. It takes too much time to prepare healthy foods and I work all of the time.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. What I feel would help us the most is to get tremendously honest with ourselves. I will go first with the honest answers to these questions. Seriously, don’t try to deny that we use these reasoning to avoid doing what is necessary to be what we want to be.

  1. Do I try that hard because in the past when I have eaten properly, I have lost weight and until I stopped doing it right, the weight stayed off. Ugh, the truth hurts and that is the truth.
  2. If family genes are the culprit, and I will admit they make it harder but not impossible, we would all be fat or skinny and let’s look at family pictures. My grandparents changed their bodies while living, some didn’t. Okay, I have all of their genes combined. Justifying weight by family history only explains if we are repeating eating habits not gene repetition results.
  3. Okay, I am diabetic type 2, and yes family history but hey, that is no excuse. Someone who is not diabetic should not eat sweets as a constant “nutritional” food. It is not one and is very addictive. The more sweets we eat, the more we want and so goes the vicious cycle. One good reminder of how much sugar plays into our weight, is to think back when sugar was a novelty and not a substance. Pictures prove hardly any percentage of people were obese. Those who were likely had their hands on sugar supplies.
  4. Here is my personal truth….I don’t exercise and there it is, the hard truth. When I was younger, I worked at more physical jobs and walked, ran, and danced like a fool but I moved. I don’t need to make excuses; I should move.
  5. This is one I may be the least guilty of using. My family will join in and eat healthy if I prepare it. Do they always like to keep eating healthy? No, but I am being honest. Neither do I. I love the tempting foods and I bleed Southern fattening cooking blood so I have to be aware of my deficiency in desiring healthy foods. The bottom line is do I want to sabotage my health in this way?
  6. This is a myth and I will have to say, I don’t use this denial tool but I have heard others say it many times. Do you?
Stickabilty will stop us from having to use any denial tactics and will move us toward our goals so Stick with your healthy eating and living programs.

(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 referenced to original location for credit reference.

MORALIZING NOT POLITICIZING

For over a year, I have steered away from political posts and I have gritted my teeth at so many things I disagree. However, today’s post is not directed at politics but moral values. I feel we as a society and even the world have forgotten our moral values. This is an encompassing trend and it is swallowing what makes not only our country but it is showing up everywhere. Let’s get real and see what as individuals, not party members, and not even Americans, but as a human race. I fear if we don’t grab on to the simplest of life’s lessons, we will not survive for long.

Next, even though I have strong faith and Godly beliefs, I am not preaching on this blog. Having a close relationship with God, I know what I want to do and what God is pleased when I do those things. I am a realist, knowing that each person has to find what is the path for them to take. I leave this to the ministers, mentors, and faith servants to help in your faith journey. I am talking about religious or non religious, good ole moral values. The do unto others as you would like to have others do unto you…..The Golden Rule. When is the last time you heard about the Golden Rule? Who stole it? Where did they hide it? When is it going to be found again and reinstated?

Photo Courtesy of The Golden Hammer

It seems as if we have traveled to a different dimension where it is the Black Rule of “I Will Do Unto You before You can Do Unto Me.” This is what is causing the rise in crime, the mistrust of each other, disrespect of human life, and lowering of good judgment, and no recourse for lawlessness. If you have turned a blind eye to not recognizing destructive behavior, you will reap what you sow. Again, this is plain old common sense to preservation of a safe and healthy life for all races, genders, ethnic groups in our world.

Let me put it straight, if I don’t respect you and your life; I have violated your right to live. If you don’t respect me and my life, you have violated my right to live. I don’t have to agree how you live your life, that’s between you and your maker as my life is between me and my maker. What I am talking about is respect of others which is part of moral valuation.

There are four components of moral behavior: moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation, and moral character. To make moral assessments, one must first know what an action is intended to accomplish and what its possible consequences will be on others. (source Google definition)

Recommended Core Ethical Values

https://www.depts.ttu.edu/murdoughcenter/products/resources/recommended-core-ethical-values.php

The following recommended core ethical values were developed based on research by the program founder, Dr. Ron Bucknam, for the development of an applied ethics in professional practice program to assist in evolving solutions to ethical dilemmas encountered in professional practice.

  1. Integrity, including
    1. Exercising good judgment in professional practice; and
    2. Adherence to ethical principles.
  2. Honesty, including
    1. Truthfulness;
    2. Fairness; and
    3. Sincerity.
  3. Fidelity, including
    1. Faithfulness to clients;
    2. Allegiance to the public trust;
    3. Loyalty to employer, firm or agency;
    4. Loyalty to the profession; and
    5. For the theist, faithfulness to God.
  4. Charity, including
    1. Kindness;
    2. Caring;
    3. Good will;
    4. Tolerance;
    5. Compassion/mercy; and
    6. Adherence to the Golden Rule.
  5. Responsibility, including
    1. Reliability/dependability;
    2. Accountability; and
    3. Trustworthiness.
  6. Self-Discipline, including
    1. Acting with reasonable restraint; and
    2. Not indulging in excessive behavior.
Photo courtesy of Depositphotos

I feel strongly that we cannot change the entire world, we can’t insist upon everyone to believe the same, we cannot embrace immorality as a core value, we can only embrace good moral values in our lives. We can encourage good behavior and not excuse bad behavior. We are responsible for teaching our children love and respect and a love for mankind. It is up to us, as parents, family, and as members of a moralistic society. How about setting examples of being good and not screaming for attention as the Bad Boy or Girl?

Let us Live Life, Love Life, and Live Life to the Fullest by living by the Golden Rule. God is present in my life and I pray He is a big part of your lives as well. If not, at least for now, live by the Golden Rule and treat others as you want to be treated. Until We Read Again……Happy Days to You and Yours…..Arline Miller.

(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 for credit references.

SHOULD I USE AIR OR PRESSURE IN MY COOKING?

From the number of views on the last post about using my InstaPot, I could tell a lot of you are interested about learning more about these convenient ways to cook. I have to say that when my husband purchased my InstaPot, I was slightly apprehensive from the stories of the old style pressure cooker and did not use it “instantly”. I want to put that worry to rest. As with any appliances, you should follow the instructions and only the methods they have approved. I love my InstaPot now and My Power Air Fryer Oven is the bomb.

Do you know you can make salmon patties easily, healthier in the Air Fryer Oven? I do.

If you want to see a sample of how many recipes you can make using your Air Fryer/Oven, please go to my Pinterest account and browse. You will find yourself even making a quick amount of biscuits in it. The link is: https://www.pinterest.com/alm06/power-air-fryer-oven-cooking/

This is one of my pinned Air Fryer Recipes on my board listed above.

What I would like to give you are some tips on using the air fryer for the handy-dandy leftover warming magician:

  • We prepare a large amount of sausage, bacon, and other meats, burgers, etc. for the convenience of having a quick put together breakfast, lunch, or snack. A few minutes and all of these foods warm up without getting the microwave softening. Easy to clean, no pots to wash, so we use ours sometimes several times a day.
  • Leftover biscuits, rolls, croissants, buns, and toast as well as pastries brown so easily and have a crispy outside crust. This has sold me on the air fryer.
  • Using the air fryer oven saves us time as we can use it, remove the grill shelf which washes great in the dishwasher, and we are done.
  • I haven’t figured out why hot dogs taste incredible in the air fryer, but it is almost like grilled hot dogs without having to crank up the grill.
  • French fries are like the fast food restaurants if you use the method they suggest. We have the turn barrel and I can’t tell the difference except for the absence of so much grease from the fast food fries.

I can go on and on about using the Power Air Fryer Oven but it will be more fun if you get on the air waves and make something yummy and so convenient. I take my door off mine, keep it clean by easy method, and it sits on my counter ready to make my life easy.

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

(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 for credit references.

Air Fryer/InstaPot Makes Life Easier

First, let me say, and some of you already know, I am an avid Southern style cook and baker. Born in Georgia, and a true Georgia Peach, I was taught to cook, fry, and bake at an early age. I stirred, mixed, separated, and whisked with the best of southern cuisine. Oh yes, I can roll out dumplings and bake a mile high cake. I love to plate pretty food using colorful combinations. While I can do this with a easy skillset, I have learned to use tools, appliances and ways to make my kitchen life easy. These methods don’t take away from taste at all. It’s in the seasoning my friends, use those herbs, spices, and broths to bring it all together……just simpler and easier. Does this mean I have stopped my southern style meals? Not hardly, I combine my styles and I am not always hovering over a hot stove every meal.

Yesterday, I took out ground chuck and also saw a pack of stew beef and took out that package too. When my husband called saying he was on his way home from his American Legion Leader Conference and it would be over an hour, I took a look at the package of stew beef and my InstaPot was calling my name. I grabbed the pot down from its place on the shelf. Here is how simple and in 35 minutes of pressuring, it was so tender and hot when Greg walked in the door.

  • InstaPot Stew Beef made entirely in 40 minutes from package to noodles:
  • 1 pkg of good quality stew beef (already in chunks so no chopping
  • 1 Large Onion (chopped in large chunks
  • 1 pkg Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 pkg. Lipton Dry Garlic & Herb Soup mix
  • 1/2 carton Beef Broth
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Directions: Saute the beef after sprinkling both pkgs of Dry Seasoning mixes with a Tablespoon of Olive Oil. Add chopped Onions and Salt and Pepper
  • Add small amount of Beef Broth to deglaze bottom. Once deglazed, add the rest of beef broth. If not adding other optional ingredients, close lid and follow instructions for Meat and Stews and locking procedures. Pressure for 35 minutes.
  • Optional add ingredients: Carrots, potatoes, peppers, mushrooms. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles (I used pre-cooked linguine, so easy for quick meals)
Photo courtesy of Google recipe search

Air Fryer Drumsticks

Before I go into this quick and easy way to make a lot of drumsticks (our grands love drumsticks), I think we are all watching our budgets as food costs are rising but you can use this recipe for thighs, and breasts. Remember that breasts are drier so don’t overcook them.

Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

These Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks are so easy to make – brush them with BBQ sauce and broil in the oven for crispy chicken!Prep Time5 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time25 minsCourse: Main CourseCuisine: AmericanKeyword: chicken drumsticks Servings: 4 servings Calories: 308kcal Author: Taylor Stinson

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
This is my photo of placing seasoned drumsticks in InstaPot.
Ready to Pressure Drumsticks
So tender but tasty!
Placed on Broiler for a few minutes for crispy skin.

Instructions

  • Add water and trivet to the bottom of Instant Pot. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together spices then coat chicken in the mixture, rubbing well all over.
  • Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 10 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook for 10 minutes.
  • Let the Instant Pot do a natural pressure release. Meanwhile, set oven to broil on medium-high and adjust wrack to the second highest placement.
  • Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily. Carefully remove chicken with tongs, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Broil drumsticks for 1-2 minutes per side, watching closely so they don’t burn.
  • Add chicken to a large bowl then toss in BBQ sauce. Serve and enjoy!
Chicken in Air Fryer made so crispy and tasty.
Shrimp is so easy with the air fryer.

I will post more recipes using the InstaPot and the Power Air Fryer but check out my Pinterest Boards if you want to learn how to use these handy appliances. Go to: /https://www.pinterest.com/alm06/power-air-fryer-oven-cooking/

Go to my InstaPot board for more recipes: https://www.pinterest.com/alm06/instant-pot-recipes/

Cook smart, cook fast, but always cook tasty. Happy Meals….Until We Cook Again….Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen

GET UP OFF YOUR BACKSIDE

As I get older and not so sure about the wiser, I have been returning to my childhood days and finding out that we may have the clue to life. For all of you who are younger, much younger, this message may question all the healthy plans you have but even if it doesn’t change your mind, it may encourage you to lift you eyes, head, and even your body away from your almost permanent fixture called Iphone. Bear with this ole gal as I give you a glimpse of life before all this technology.

First, let me give you a clue. In the 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s there were hardly any obese children. Some adults were overweight, but not a large majority. It wasn’t that we didn’t eat carbs and sugars, we ate plenty of the fats too. It was activity both in work and relaxation. I smiled thinking of how many calories we burned while playing ball, swimming, running and chasing, climbing, and any other activity we could find. We walked, we ran, and we used every limb of our body as well as every limb in every tree we could climb. We MOVED!

Work was physical. I can remember working at Sears while still in school and my job was filling bags of returned merchandise which weighed at least 40+ pounds and throwing those bags on a pile which by the end of the day got very high. I thought nothing of it. I was strong and I got paid to do it. Nuff said. When I got off work, I studied. I didn’t play video games and I also did my chores around the home.

Don’t get me wrong, I got tired. What is wrong with getting tired? I am not writing this complaining about my younger life, I am proud of what I could do physically. Today, it seems as if people have to go to a gym to get a work out, and they boast about what they can lift or how many miles they can do on a machine. What happened to morning runs in the fresh air? What happened to doing yard work? What happened to growing a garden to provide those healthy foods? Man, we are ordering our food online and getting it delivered so no exercise going up and down the aisles. Are you beginning to see the picture of why we are in the fix as a human race?

I don’t have factual proof but I am sure that the experts have looked at this so why would the majority of people think we have to change our entire eating habits? Leafy greens, yes but we ate mustard, turnip, and collard greens on a regular basis. No bread? What, we had bread at every meal but our bread was not filled with preservatives since we ate it before it could go bad. Sweets, by all means but they were a treat and not a staple. We would look forward to a home made treat, a pound cake, save our leftover biscuits for a biscuit pudding, or oatmeal cookies. But we MOVED. We washed our dishes and dried them before putting them away. We didn’t plop down on the sofa as we had our baths to take, clothes to be ironed after washing them and Wait for it, hang them on the line to dry. There hasn’t been a laundry additive invented that will rival the fresh air line dried clothes. I remember sticking my nose and smelling them as I put them in the basket after taking the clothes pins out.

photo courtesy of Pinterest

Here are my recommendations to healthy life changes:

Activity is important so clean up your home by cleaning out closets, utility rooms and houses, rearranging furniture, and even remodels if possible. Vacuum cleaners give a natural workout as I have never seen it work without some pushing activity. Window cleaning, floor sweeping, and a multitude of gym activities can be replicated without ever leaving home and a lot of pride when it is spic and span.


3-Mind-Boosting-Games-for-Kids-to-Improve-Concentration (photo courtesy of)

Cooking food for your family. You can choose the type and what goes in each dish and the fresher the better. I chose several years ago to cut portions and not food groups. I eat from every food group but I don’t eat a lot from any of those groups. You would be surprised by learning control without elimination of the foods I like. Example: We were looking forward to eating from Olive Garden for a night away from cooking. I skipped appetizer and yes, even salad and chose Cheese Ravioli. Greg had gotten mozzarella sticks (Oh no, not fried mozzarella sticks you are thinking). I pulled out two sticks and here’s the amount I ate with those two sticks, I ate 2 cheese raviolis and was totally full. I didn’t eat bread. I felt satisfied. I don’t know if this works for anyone else and am not advocating this is the only way to eat. All I know is I have slowly taken off 41 pounds and feel like I don’t live to eat but eat to live and it feels good.

Photo courtesy of House Beatiful

Development of a MOVE attitude. Get off Social Media, do some stretches, clean and organize, take a look at your clothes and develop “I will get back into those smaller sizes”, and realize who actually controls your mind, body, and life style. There’s nothing wrong with going to the gym, I am definitely not saying that but you may find you get a better workout if you get up off your backside, quit feeling sorry for yourself and do what you can to get moving, even if it is a small task, DO IT. You don’t have to run marathons but even getting in gear and walk some.

For those of you who say, I don’t know what I am talking about, maybe you are right but at 72, I still cook and clean (I have help every two weeks just to be transparent) but younger I did all of it myself while working full time (and for me full time was about 60 hours), and work full time and oversee a million dollar web system. I do my hair even cutting and styling. I do laundry and happily say my husband will do a load in a heart beat. I have written three novels and many inspirational quotes so I recommend exercising our minds as well. I don’t say this boastingly as I have battled Diabetes for almost 1o years and have it almost normal levels. I meant I wasn’t going to let it win. Am I skinny? I am laughing as I am typing. I am not in bad shape either. Do I get inspired? Yes, when I see 89 or 90 year olds still giving it their all, I want to do more.

Arline Miller who believes in Moving, Grooving, and Living Life to the Fullest.

I hope you give this message a few minutes thought. I hope you look at how you live your life in a new light. It is all decided in your mind and your body will follow. Enjoy life by saying to yourself, It is my life and I will take care of myself by controlling how I live it. Have fun!

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

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.

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.