Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Not So Traditional Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a great and thankful day. We had lots of fun with my parents, brother, and a friend. We broke from the traditional and decided to have something different. My dad has gout which means he can eat no red meat. This means he eats a lot of turkey and chicken. We thought he might like something not so traditional and went with a pork roast, he can have pork occasionally, but never ham. Mom is pretty sure there is something in the curing spices that sets off the gout. Kroger had pork loins on sale for $1.99 a lb. so we went with that. I looked through all my cookbooks and did not find any recipes I particularly liked or, particularly, had the ingredients for. So, I got brave this morning and did my own thing. It came out pretty good and was super easy so I thought you might like it for special occasions or maybe even Christmas dinner.

Meriam's Pork Roast

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 boneless pork loin (any size)
1 bulb garlic (you will only use about half, depending on size of roast)

Place pork loin on sheet of aluminum foil. Stab all over with a sharp knife. Peel garlic cloves and halve larger cloves. Insert a garlic clove segment into each hole. (You will use about 15 segments.) In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. Pampered Chef Barbecue Rub and Seasoning
1 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix well and then rub into pork loin. (Just dump it on pork loin and rub it all over.) Wrap tightly in foil. Roast for 30 minutes per pound. Remove from oven and let stand 30 minutes. Check temperature with a meat thermometer to make sure the roast is 160 internally. Slice and serve.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Sorry about not posting as well as I wanted. Go back to the broccoli casserole day though and read the comments. My brother posted his absolutely amazing cheese cake recipes. The dark chocolate cheesecake is absolutely incredible!

Monday, November 19, 2007

One Quick and Easy Appetizer

If you need a quick and easy appetizers to have on hand for when guests arrive or for a party, these are very easy and sure to be a hit. I make them every year for the Green Room at the Tennessee Christian Teen Convention. It's a recipe that has endless possibilities because it has a basic ingredients that are very interchangeable. I'll start with those basics and then give you some possibilities. Then you can take it from there. Make sure you make these a few hours before serving. They are easier to slice if you let them chill for a while. If the tortillas are cold they will crack and tear.

Tortilla Roll-Ups

1 package flour tortillas, room temperature
1 large tub spreadable cream cheese
1/2 Ib. thin sliced sandwich meat
1/2 Ib. thin sliced cheese

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a tortilla. Add one layer of meat, starting on one end, leaving the far end bare. Top meat with cheese. Starting at the end with the most meat coverage, roll towards the bare end. Repeat until you run out of an item. Place in a storage container or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Using a good serrated knife (the kind with teeth) slice into 1 inch slices and return to storage container to serve later or place on lettuce lined platter to serve.

For the tortillas use plain flour or any of the flavored and colored tortillas. Spinach tortillas are pretty and the tomato basil taste great.

For the cream cheese there are tons of options. Try mixing half a package of dry ranch dressing mix with a large tub of soft cream cheese. Or, use any of the flavored cream cheeses. Even pineapple cream cheese is really good with ham and swiss. Ron likes cream cheese and chopped green chilies.

For the meat and cheese use anything you like on your favorite sandwiches. Roast beef and cheddar, turkey and swiss, ham and colby jack, chicken and pepper jack, you name it.

Have fun with this, they are lots of fun and great to do with the kids.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Mom Makes the Best Baked Apples!!!

It's true. They really are the best. And they are a must if ham is served. Last Easter we had ham and after we sat down at the table Ron looked around and said, "Where are the apples?" Mom and I were trying to simplify the menu and left them out. That won't happen again. She very graciously shared her recipe with me today. It uses cinnamon red hots in the syrup and Mom said she has not been able to get them to melt completely lately. They must have changed the formula. After they are mostly melted just carefully spoon out the little pink pieces that are not melting. They are a beautiful pink color which look pretty on a holiday table.

Cinnamon Baked Apples

1 cup sugar
1/3 - 1/2 cup water (Mom doesn't measure)

Bring to simmer in a small saucepan. When slightly bubbly add:

3/4 cup cinnamon red hots

Bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently, and boil until red hots are mostly melted. Remove from heat.

12 golden delicious apples, peeled, halved, and cored

Arrange apples in a 9 x 13 pan core side up. Carefully ladle syrup into center of each apple. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until apples are soft. If using the oven for more than one dish just bake for less time if temperature is higher and more time if temperature is lower. These are good hot or cold so they are great if you need to do them a little earlier or just for leftovers.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Meriam's Ultimate Comfort Food

Okay, so I'm behind already. Sorry about that, but my husband has great connections and last night he got us into the Chris Tomlin concert for free! Okay, it was in Johnson City, but it was sooo worth it. Christ was great and I love his music but I would have gone to hear Louie Giglio alone.

On to the food! This recipe is something my grandmother made a lot, not just on the holidays. I don't remember many times when it was not on the Sunday dinner table. Of course, after she found out it was my favorite she probably planned to have it whenever I was there. She was that kind of grandma. I don't make it very often now but Mom or I do every holiday and when I was pregnant with Aiden I ate a lot of it. It fit into my gestational diabetes diet and I craved it big time. Some people hear about it and make a face, but I think it's fabulous! Plus a good way to get some kids to eat cottage cheese for an extra protein punch. It needs to be chilled so you can make it the day before and it just gets better.

Grandmommy's Cottage Cheese Salad

16 oz. cottage cheese
1 small tub whipped topping, thawed
14.5 oz can fruit cocktail, drained (use the kind with lite syrup)
1 bag multi-colored marshmallows (DO NOT substitute with white marshmallows)

Combine cottage cheese and whipped topping until well combined. Add fruit cocktail and 3/4 bag of marshmallows. Combine well and sprinkle remaining marshmallows on top. Chill for a few hours before serving.

Add a box of Jello for some added sweetness and color. Any flavor works, add it with the cottage cheese and whipped topping.

Sometimes Grandmommy would forget my deep hatred of coconut and mix it in and sprinkle it on top. It's wrong, but if you like coconut, to each his own.

It's not exactly a traditional holiday fair, unless, of course you are a Calhoun, but it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Here Come the Holidays!

Here we are once again with another Turkey Day on the horizon. For some this is a build up of excitement to see people who aren't around on a regular basis. For others it's a feeling of dread of more work, more expense, and more exhaustion. For a few it's a feeling of great sorrow because there will an empty place at the table. Which ever category you fall into, I hope the peace and love of our heavenly Father will fill you to over flowing and you can find many things to be thankful for.
At our house my mom and I say every year we are going to tone it down and not do so much. Every year we eat our words and end up with too much food! Why? Because we have so many favorites we can never decide which ones to leave out. So, for the next week I am going to attempt to do a post a day to share some of the Calhoun-Bull family favorites.

The first I am going to share is my world famous Broccoli Cheese Casserole. Okay, maybe it's not world famous, but it is for my brother. So much so that it has become the great bargaining chip. I have been known to bribe him with it to get what I want and he has been known to with-hold his fabulous cheesecake if I show up at his house without it. The only family member who does not like it is Aiden, he likes his broccoli plain. Maybe he's adopted.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

1 stick margarine (divided)
1 pound Velveeta cheese
20 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, steamed and drained well
1 stack Ritz crackers, crushed

Chunk Velveeta cheese and 1/2 stick margarine in a microwavable glass bowl. (Don't use plastic, trust me, I learned the hard way.) Microwave on high until melted, stirring every minute. Add broccoli and stir until well coated. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole. In the same bowl used for the cheese mixture, melt remaining butter in microwave and mix in Ritz crackers. Spread evenly on top of broccoli and cheese. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

If you want to make a 9 x 13 pan, just double the recipe. You should do this if my brother is coming over.

Hope you all like it. If you have a recipe you would like to share email it to me at meriam(at sign)followjesus(dot)org. I told Heather I was determined to post a holiday recipe every day until Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is iffy but I'll do my best!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More about the Mocha Punch

I know, some of your are in shock. Two posts in one week! I wanted to finish something I had started telling you about in the last post. Through one of my favorite blogs I found out about Google Reader. It's for people like you who read blogspot blogs but get tired of checking every week only to be disappointed that the person who writes the blog is too lazy to think up something to post (like me). What you do is you go to and make a list of all the blogspots you like to read (it only works with blogspots). Then the next time you get online, after you check your email you only have to go to Google Reader where you can see instantly whether or not your friend has posted anything that day. Pretty cool and it saves you some time as well.

Well, on to the Mocha Punch. After the open house where I served the punch I put the leftovers in my jug and brought it home just to see if it was any good left over. I thought if nothing else I could throw some in the blender with some ice. Well, Monday morning I took the kids to school then came home to crash on the couch with a cup of punch and a movie to enjoy some peace and quiet after an insanely busy weekend. You know those bottles of Starbucks Frappaccino you can buy from the cooler at the grocery store? This stuff puts that to shame. It's thicker and creamer and I didn't have to do anything to it. I haven't tried it yet, but tomorrow I am going to half the recipe and see how it turns out. I would also like to try it with nonfat frozen yogurt. I'm not brave enough to use Splenda or sugar free Quick, but that is also an option. I'm also going to have to get some decaf instant coffee because my boys loved it. While I'm not very strict on what they eat, they already have more energy in one day than I do in a week.

Let me know if you have any recipe requests. Right now I'm stuck in a "30 ways with rotisserie chicken" rut. My family would love it if you would help me get out of it. (It's great in a quesadilla, by the way.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Starbucks, shmarbucks, let's save a buck! (or four)

Howdy! For some of you, pick your jaws up off the floor. Yes, I am posting a recipe the day you asked me to. I really didn't want forget, so I'm doing it now. Today some very good friends had the dedication and open house for their new ministry to single moms. You can check out their website here Daniel and Mandy are amazing people who have a real heart and passion to help moms who are parenting alone succeed. If you live in the Knoxville area check out their site and get involved! If you don't, please remember the Watsons and The Restoration House in your prayers.

Mandy helps me every year at TCTC so I was excited to help her with the food for the open house. We made two punches that were delicious and easy! Punch recipes can be daunting because usually you just want something fast and easy but a lot of them require a lot of steps and more work than necessary when you just want to have fun at your party. There also are usually only two or three recipes per cookbook and it can be exhausting to look through a bunch of books.

This first recipe is light and refreshing and so easy you don't even have to think about it:

Apple Cider Punch

2 quarts apple cider
1 pint orange juice (2 cups)
2 liters ginger ale

Mix in a punch bowl (or just a gallon pitcher) with some ice. Garnish with thick slices of a green apple, a red apple, an orange, and a couple of cinnamon sticks.

This next recipe could put Starbucks out of business. Okay, not really, but if you like a frozen drink, it's close. I'm going to play with it and see if I can't figure out how to make it a serving at a time at home. This would be great for a morning bridal or baby shower, just use decaf coffee for the new mommy.

Mocha Punch

1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup instant chocolate drink mix
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
1 small tub Cool Whip
chocolate curls

Boil water in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat and add drink mix, sugar, and coffee. Stir until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or over night.

To serve: Thirty minutes before serving place coffee mix in punch bowl and add ice creams. Stir frequently until the ice cream melts. Top with dollops of Cool Whip and chocolate curls.

Since I am so horrible at posting, check out It will allow you to make a list of all the blogspot blogs that you read. I love it!