Diva Tasting: Great Turkey Chile And Firecrackers…

Great Turkey Chile And Firecrackers 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Pounds Ground Turkey
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 (28 Ounce) Can Canned Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 (16 Ounce) Can Canned Kidney Beans – Drained, Rinsed, And Mashed
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.
  2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic. Season chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Add water as needs.

Fire Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Siracha
  • 1 (1 Ounce) Packet Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 (16 Ounce) Package Whole Wheat Saltine Crackers

Directions:

  1. Whisk the canola oil, crushed red pepper flakes, ranch dressing mix, and chili powder together in a bowl.
  2. Divide the saltine crackers evenly into 2 1-gallon-sized seal-able bags. Pour the oil mixture evenly over the crackers. Seal the bag and flip to allow the oil mixture to run over the crackers for 5 minutes; flip again. Repeat the flipping every five minutes to evenly coat the crackers for about 1 hour. Remove the crackers from the bags and spread onto large parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until they start to brown. Let cool completely and store in air tight container for several days.
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Diva Musing: Regaining Our Joy….

Regaining Our Joy
1. Ask for Help
When I was in my late forties I fell and had to have a metal plate placed in my right ankle. It was the first time I’d ever been debilitated and needed help. I had the six hour surgery on Friday and went to work on Monday. However, trying to drive with a cast on my right leg, going to the grocery store, shopping in a superstore… where people will knock you down on crutches rather than look at you, became unwelcome challenges. For those of us who want the world to think we are indestructible…“I’m fine,”… is the most used lie of them all.  I know I used it a lot before I got sensible.
My point is this….losing all joy can be so frustrating and even debilitating for some of us. When we believe we can travel through life alone, it can feel like the end of the road. But, when we learn we can lean on others for help, things do get a little bit easier.
Because of our own ego, it’s often hard to see the true picture. Others may be able to bring new dimension to our situations that we might not have seen before. We often achieve our goals/dreams through one or two approaches: innovation or distress . Either way we are inspired by events or others to keep going, or we are so desperate and in serious need, that we keep pushing no matter what.
2. Don’t Lie to Yourself 
We often take the stresses of live way too personally. Trying to place our emotions and dreams away from a situation that we put all of our heart and soul into, is nearly impossible for some of us. It often feels as if the Universe is against us, and we cannot understand why. We forget that we are in charge of how we choose to handle all situations. Getting a hold on our emotions and making solid choices is one of the trickiest thing to do.
We may be tempted to put the blame elsewhere. We may be attempt to give undue credit to situations, or karma. Avoid this temptation. Lying to yourself is also lying to the Universe, who absolutely knows better. Be objective. Don’t like to yourself about a situation. If form follows thought, then it stands to reason that these occurrences are a result of some of our past “stinkin thinkin”. It’s all about the genie in the bottle granting us our every thought. Try to recall the causes and effects of your own thoughts and behaviors. Take responsibility. Correct your thoughts in order to reach your desired goals.
3. Re-frame Your Outcome
If you are in a major dark night of the soul, that you believe is an indication of a failure in life, then it’s time to re-frame the situation. Thomas Edison failed to create electricity over seventeen hundred times. When asked if he was frustrated with his failures he replied something like…”No, I have successfully discovered over seventeen hundred ways that electricity does not work”… Talk about skillful re-framing of a thing!
You can have everything you want in life as long as you do not give up. One year my father framed a picture (I think everyone has seen it) of a stork trying to swallow a frog. The frog has its hands around the storks throat and is holding on tight. The bulging eyed stork can do nothing. The caption read…”Never, Never, Never, give up!”. That was Dad.
The point being do not lose faith, do not lose heart, do not loose focus of clear thoughts of success. We must keep going. Tell ourselves that all things are impermanent. Even our pain and suffering. Find a reason to smile. We need to keep the knowing that it’s all going to get better.
This suffering we are going through will be a distant memory we can discard as part of a lesson learned. When we understand this it makes us stronger, wiser, more courageous beings.
Truthfully I am one of those who believes it is about the journey. It is not about the destination only the positive outcome. Keep re-framing your goals. Determine just what you want out of life. Keep asking ourselves why we want it; do we still want it? If we agree our desire is strong enough, then we won’t let challenges stop us. We will keep going.
4. Be Grateful
I say this so much, that I know this might sound cheesy or way too ethereal. However, you’ve been around the crones long enough to know that there is something to be said about appreciating what we have and not focusing on what we don’t have. Keep the Focus on gratitude! Trust me, you will watch your life transforms in ways you can not even imagine.
Instead of telling the genie in the bottle you want of scarcity (thoughts created without focus or discipline), thoughts about what you don’t have, always worrying that you’ll never have it, what else can the genie in the bottle do but grant you these wishes/thoughts. Your wish is my command!!! the genie will say.
Instead lets focus on the things that you are grateful for in the world around us. The wise Yoda in Star War movies would say…” Do or do not; there is no TRY!” We can be joyful and grateful for so many things….like…you woke up healthy this morning, or that you and your family have food on your plate, a place to sleep, and people who love you. You have a pet or friend who let’s you know everyday that you are important in their lives. Your family is healthy, your partner is proud of you or just that the all knowing Universe is creating a grand life for you if you stay focused on the right thoughts and not interfere with negative thoughts.
An attitude of gratitude is a habit. It is one of those habits that must be constantly cultivated over time. See the good in the world around you and in yourself. It is quite amazing how more good things will come into your life.
It’s not some magic formula. It’s just the form follows thought attitude that makes others gravitate to you. I believe that being grateful is one of the most effective ways to let go of life’s stress, hostility, unforgiveness, turn fear to courage, or envy to happiness for others.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it is easier said than done! A balanced life can be restored over time. Nothing worthwhile is ever lost even when we are in the deepest valley of our darkest night of the soul. We were put here to be happy and thrive at all cost. I’ve come to use this term a lot over the years…” Six months from now this will seem trivial”… and then I start letting go in the now. It takes focus, practice, courage, commitment and determination. But is there for each of us if we only choose to take it. Time is finite and flowing….we each only have 24 hours each day. Then the sunrises again. Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Tasting: Mushroom and Cheese Tart & Ya Ya’s Chess Pie…

Mushroom and Cheese Tart

Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Chopped Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1 Sheet of Puff Pastry 9×13
  • 4 Teaspoons Fresh Basil Chopped
  • 4 Cups Sliced Fresh Cremini Mushrooms
  • 2 (10 Ounce) Packages Frozen Chopped Spinach, Thawed And Drained
  • 1 Cup Butter, Melted
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Cup Feta Cheese Crumbled
  • 1 Cup Half-And-Half Cream
  • 4 Cups Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese (1 Cup Reserved)
  • 2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard Powder
  • 1/2 Cup White Rice Vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place a whole sheet of puff pastry in the bottom and bake for 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile combine rotisserie chicken and in a large skillet over medium heat, then add mushrooms and spinach. Cook until the mixture is hot and the juice from the spinach and mushrooms has evaporated, 10 to 15 more minutes.

  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter, the cheeses, half and half cream, Monterey Jack cheese, mustard powder, and rice vinegar and the chicken mixture until well combined;

  4. Bake with a foil tent in the preheated oven until bubbling and the topping has browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes remove foil tent and sprinkle the reserved Jack cheese over the top and continue cooking until browned. Serve with garden salad and dessert.

VARIATION: For vegetarian tart eliminate the chicken. You may also substitute 2 pounds of popcorn shrimp for the chicken.

DESSERT:

My Ya Ya’s Chess Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Press the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch deep dish pie plate.

  2. In a medium bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in the cornmeal, vinegar, and maple extract until well blended. Fold in pecans so they are evenly distributed. Pour into the unbaked pie crust.

  3. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 30 additional minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown, and the filling is set. When removing the pie from the oven, give it a gentle shake. If there is no movement, the pie is set. The pie will thicken and shrink slightly upon cooling.

Diva Rambling: Where Did My Joy GO…!

Where did Joy go?
“Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for the better. And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.’ Yes, evil often seems to surpass good. But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts. One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw. And so I must still have hope.” –Vincent van Gogh

Has there been a time in our life when we’ve lost all hope? The Universe built us so that something so essential to us humans as hope is an endless fount. It is renewed again and again by the all knowing source of the Universe.

For may of us it happens so quickly. Our whole world seems to crash around us. Sometimes if feels like we are watching a really bad “B” movie over which we have no control of the outcome. In a bad movie the hero may loose a business, a love, all money or family, or simply everything. You suddenly feel like Job in the Bible Story.

When you have lost hope, you feel as if you have lost everything. You begin to believe all is lost, when all is most dark and dreary, there is always the knowing the Universe will provide, if you only turn on the light to your joy and gratitude.

Sometimes, we even get to the point where we cannot keep going on with life. We feel like we are walking through an endless arctic tundra. We often feel as if all the air has been sucked out of the world. We keep wading in the swamp of insanity and keep praying for land and sun once more.

It is when we spend our time worrying and stressing about the unknown, and the perceived end result of a problem, that we destroy our futures. These thought processes destroy the perfect plan the Universe has for you. I know I beat it to death, but “form follows thought”. Don’t have the genie in the bottle grant your every thought unless they are the positive, well chosen thoughts of a disciplined mind of gratitude and joy.

The Universe will throw up road blocks occasionally. This may be due to “stinkin thinkin”, bad Karma, or a lesson the Universe needs us to learn right now. It is always our choice to choose how we respond. ALWAYS!!!! These road blocks are not a sign of failure only life challenges. They happen to everyone.

Some hints that may help along the way to get life back on track…..

Visit tomorrow for tips along the way…Namaste the Queen Cronista….

Diva Tasting: Carrot Casserole ….

Carrot Casserole 

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Carrots, Peeled And Chopped

  • 2 Cups Cream

  • 2 Cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

  • 2 Cups Crushed Cheddar-Flavored Crackers, Divided

  • 4 Eggs, Beaten

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Softened, Or More To Taste

  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

  • 1 1/3 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

  • 1 Dash Ground Black Pepper

Directions

  1. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add carrots; cover and steam until very soft, 15 to 25 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large 4 qt. casserole dish.

  3. Drain carrots and mash in a large bowl. Mix in milk, Cheddar cheese, 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon crushed crackers, beaten eggs, butter, parsley, salt, and pepper.

  4. Spread carrot mixture in the greased casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup crushed crackers.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Diva Ranting: 2019 MURDER MYSTERY

Well, Divas its time to write and produce our fund raising gala for the school again this year.  You can find postings on Facebook at Judith Bisceglia Suhr our director/writer. I so wish our readers from around the globe could join us this year.  

A MURDER AT MAGNOLIA MANOR

2019 MURDER MYSTERY Story and Set up

This is a panoramic tale of the Old Southern gentry. It is set in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. A tale of family rivalries, feuds, eccentric gentry and enough skeletons in the closets to fill a graveyard. The county is rife with corrupt local establishment.

Our setting is a Glorious Southern Mansion of old money and many generations of intrigue and secrets. Tonight you are all here at the special invitation of the current resident and heir to Magnolia Manor; Margaret Trevillion. The original home was built in 1810 and remains as a beautiful guest house on the property. This current mansion was built in what is now known as, the Antebellum Period, as Kentucky’s Gilded age 1870 to 1900. This current mansion was started in 1870 and completed 5 years later. The Trevillions made their fortune by amassing large quantities of land from people moving west and ill gotten gain from many black market type business during the war itself. They’ve also held the most successful stables of thoroughbred race horses since the early 1900’s, as well.

It is rumored both mansions are complete with hidden passages and escape routes for the underground railroad, as well as a giant fortune in gold, silver and jewels lost in on the property in the aftershock of the great New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811 and 1812.

(History would indicate that the treasure is lost in or around the original house.)

Senator Bud Wesson has been a controlling political force in his district for thirty years. He is a powerful, ruthless and corrupt politician. The Wesson fortune is new money and from as many ill gotten gains as one can imagine. He amassed his fortune in the early years with illegal business practices and in recent years from illegal pay offs to his political champagne and improperly obtained government contracts. His wife is from old money and the only redeeming quality in the family’s tree. Their two children follow closely in Bud’s footsteps. No reprobate behavior is beneath either Becky Sue or Bo. Bo has been trying to find and acquire the famous Trevillion treasure, allegedly hidden on the property for decades. He opines that the night of the ball will be his chance to search the property unchecked by security who will be focused on the Mardi Gras Gala.

The Trevillion family is well liked, well respected, and their philanthropy to their community is unprecedented. The Senator’s family hates them. The only time the Wesson’s are invited to one of Miss Trevillion’s famous galas is when local politics requires and because Mrs. Wesson (by her husbands position) is a prominent member of the community. The upcoming gala is always one of the most sought after invitations in the country. From Washington D.C. to San Francisco and across the globe the social elite and dignitaries from all over the world are invited to this exclusive dress ball.

We begin our journey through the Mystery of Magnolia Manor with Bo Wesson and his thugs are up to their usual no good. Listen carefully, be observant, clues are all around. We invite you to enjoy the gala with the Trevillion family and our other guests. Enjoy the ball.

A Queenly Thanksgiving Menu….

It’s that time of year.  Here are my favorite benchmark recipes for the Thanksgiving Table in time to do the grocery shopping. 

The Queen’s Thanksgiving Menu

The Queen’s Turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
  • 2 cups chicken Broth
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2 medium yellow onions quartered
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse and wash turkey. Discard the giblets, or add to pan if they are anyone’s favorites.
  2. Place turkey in a foil lined Dutch oven or roasting pan. Separate the skin over the breast to make little pockets. Pour the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of the poultry seasoning into the bottom to help keep the turkey moist.
  3. Blend the softened butter with 1 tablespoon of the poultry seasoning. Put 4 tablespoons of the herbed butter on both sides between the skin and breast meat. This makes for very juicy breast meat.
  4. Place the quartered onions in the cavity of the cleaned turkey.
  5. Tie the herbs together with butcher twine and place in the cavity as well.
  6. Cover with foil, and bake in the preheated oven 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C). For the last 45 minutes or so, remove the foil so the turkey will brown nicely be sure to baste often during the browning process. Remove the herbs from the cavity before carving. They can be used in pan broth to make the gravy as well.
VARIATION: This is a cooking tip that we moms in the South use. However, it freaks non- mountain folks out. I preheated my oven to 275 degrees and tightly tent the turkey as noted. I cook it all night tented. The house smells wonderful when you wake up in the morning and the slow cook method keeps the turkey moist. When I get up about 7-8 a.m. I pull the tent and up the temperature to 375 degrees F. to brown for 30-40 minutes. Then I can turn it to 275 degrees and re-tent to keep warm and moist until I let it sit about 25-30 minutes before carving. I’ve never had an issue in 40 years cooking it this way and it saves me so much time Thanksgiving morning.
Queens Best Garlic Mash Potatoes
Ingredients
  • 2 Whole Heads Garlic, Top Third Sliced Off And Discarded
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 5 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled And Cubed
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 (4 Ounce) Package Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • Salt And Ground Black Pepper To Taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place garlic heads in a baking dish and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven until garlic is soft and brown, about 45 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in sea salt. Cook potatoes in the salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.
  4. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add sour cream, cream cheese, butter, salt, and black pepper to the bowl. Cover bowl with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil and let mixture stand for 5 minutes to soften butter and cream cheese, about 5 minutes.
  5. Squeeze roasted garlic from the cloves into the potato mixture; mash potatoes until smooth, creamy, and thoroughly combined.
Green Bean Casserole
Ingredients
  • 3 (14.5 Ounce) Cans Green Beans, Drained
  • 1 (10.75 Ounce) Can Condensed Cream Of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 (6 Ounce) Can French Fried Onions
  • 2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place green beans and soup in a large bowl mix well. Stir in 1 cup of cheese and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer green bean mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle with French fried onions and remaining cheese.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven until the cheese melts and the onions just begin to brown.