Friday, October 31, 2014

Q & A with Debbie Matenopoulos

I have been given the opportunity to review a new book "It's All Greek To Me" by Debbie Matenopoulos. It is an exciting new book with fabulous healthy recipes.
Prior to sharing the book and a select few of the recipes I tested, I'd like to share a few Q & A with you.
I will also be giving away a copy to one lucky reader. Stay tuned for more details.

“Fall for Greek with Debbie Matenopoulos” Blog Tour Q&A
What was your favorite part about putting this book together? Most challenging?
My favorite part about putting this cookbook together was gathering all of the recipes from my family and translating them into English. There is so much history in these recipes. It was very nostalgic.  My mother gave me my grandmother’s hand written recipe books that were written in Greek along with her own. There were pages that were coming out that were obviously worn by the years of being referenced time and time again. I felt as if I was holding our most valuable family heirlooms in my hands. I feel very honored that my entire family was willing to share their treasured recipes with me and allow me to share them with the world. 

The most challenging part of writing this cookbook was translating the measurements from the metric system.  That was no easy task.  As opposed to just going by a chart, I chose to personally re-measure everything just to be certain. I have to admit that this was the one time in my life I wished they had taught us more of the metric system in school.  ;) 

What 5 items are a must in a well-stocked Greek pantry?
A Greek pantry is NOT a Greek pantry without some very key ingredients. I know you've asked for 5, but there are actually 7 that every Greek kitchen should be stocked with. They are Greek extra virgin olive oil, dried Greek oregano, fresh lemons, fresh flat leaf parsley, fresh tomatoes, and onions. Combined, those ingredients and you have the base of a lot of Greek dishes. 

The Mediterranean Diet is high in healthy fats. How do you incorporate heart-healthy oils into your recipes?
It has been proven time and time again that extra virgin olive oil is the most heart healthy of all oils.  It is all I have ever used and it is all that my family ever used growing up. Although the smoke point is much lower than it is on other oils, in my opinion, it is still the best way to go when cooking or flavoring any dish. I wouldn't consider cooking with anything else. Extra virgin olive oil has been proven to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease.  As a matter of fact, one of the leading cardiologists in the country, Dr. Michael Ozner, wrote the forward to my book and in it, he discusses this very issue.  That's why he too believes that the Mediterranean way of eating that I describe in my book is the most healthy way of eating on the planet.  

What is your earliest memory of cooking/preparing Greek food?
My earliest memories of cooking are from when I was about 4 years old and are of me being in the kitchen with my mom. I was helping her stir the bechamel for the pistachio or moussaka over the stove-top to make sure it didn't get too thick.  She would pull up a stool for me to stand on and make sure to let me know that my job was very important. She would tell me that getting the pistachio or moussaka exactly right all depended on me making sure I didn't let the bechamel thicken too much.  That responsibility made me feel so important and made me so proud when we all sat down to dinner. It truly made me feel like I was an integral part in making this delicious meal. I think that's when I fell in love with cooking. 

What message would you like to resonate with your readers/home cooks?
I would like the readers of this blog and the home cooks to not only enjoy the amazing flavors of the Mediterranean cuisine of my ancestors, but also the immeasurable health benefits.  And, I’d like them to enjoy this food with their family and loved ones, because after all, food is more than just food to Greeks. To Greeks, food represents love and family.  So here’s to you enjoying the deliciousness of this cookbook with your family!! ;) 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review - Southern Living "Christmas All Through The South"

Can you believe it is almost November? You know what that means don't you? That's right Christmas is almost upon us.
Have you started your shopping yet? I have not. Normally by now I'm almost done but this year I'm running behind due to some serious family issues.
Now, what I'd like to tell you today is this: a beautiful coffee table book by Southern Living. Here is the press release for this BEAUTIFUL book.

Joyful Memories, Timeless Moments, Enduring Traditions
By the Editors of Southern Living

For immediate release (BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – No one does Christmas like the South, and the editors of Southern Living have outdone themselves this holiday season with their inspirational coffee table book, CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE SOUTH (November 4, 2014; Oxmoor House, $40/Hardcover). Combining all the elements for which Southern Living is known and revered – food, travel, and gorgeous homes – this book is a joyous journey around the region that showcases the unparalleled hospitality, rich history and larger-than-life celebrations that are the Southern holiday way.

As Southern Living editor-at-large Kim Cross writes in the book’s introduction, “The South may not be the only region that goes overboard for the holidays, but we like to think we do it with inimitable style.” That same unbridled exuberance that Kim describes is also what makes CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE SOUTH an endless source of inspiration for decking the halls and planning this season’s festivities. This book is meant to be read, flipped through, book marked, and shared as your holiday season is illuminated by a kaleidoscope of these merry traditions.

Whether it’s finding the perfect tree at a North Carolina tree farm, watching the boats festooned with colorful lights at Homeport Marina on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, or enjoying the sparkling lobby of The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE SOUTH captures the beauty of the holidays from beginning to end. As you flip through the pages of this book, you’ll be transported on a breathtaking visual journey with over 400 full-color photos that bring to life the joyful memories, enduring traditions, local authenticity, and open-armed warmth inherent to every Southern holiday celebration.

Woven throughout the book are also menu ideas and recipes for every festive occasion:
Start the season with A Hearty Picnic In The Pines while fetching that perfect tree with a menu that includes Rosemary Scented Cold Cider, Skillet Fried Chicken, and a Caramel Drop-Banana Bread Trifle. 
An impressive Merry Christmas Eve Dinner spread of Honey-Rosemary Crostini, Spice-Rubbed Smoked Turkey Breast with Mushroom Gravy, Pecan Cornbread, and a White Chocolate-Peppermint Mousse Pie will bring everyone happily around the table.
Stacks of Hummingbird Pancakes, Red Velvet Pancakes, German Chocolate Pancakes and Caramel Cake Pancakes for a fun and festive Christmas Morning Brunch.
A Lucky Oyster Roast on New Year’s Day also features “lucky” Southern dishes like Cumin-Spiced Black Eyed Pea Dip and a Collard Green and Kale Salad.

It also wouldn't be a deliciously Southern Christmas without an abundance of sweets and the famous white cake. CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE SOUTH has more than ten Christmas Cake recipes including a Snowy White Layer Cake with Fondant Snowflakes, Bourbon Eggnog Cake, and a five-layer Red Velvet-White Chocolate Cheesecake. And after a festive evening of caroling, enjoy a Cookies & Cocktails party with Spiced Sorghum Snowflakes, Coconut Snowballs, and a Chocolate Cream Martini by the fire.
With its charming destinations, Southern Living-tested recipes, elegant decorations, and gracious hospitality, CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE SOUTH is bound to be the keepsake every Southerner will want to own and look to, year after year. As Rick Bragg writes in the foreword, “The Southern Christmas is rich in its traditions, its own beauties, its own recipes and notions and, yes, peculiarities. It is why, no matter where we live in this world, we yearn to come home as time draws near.” Just reading CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE SOUTH is like coming home for the holidays.

Southern Living celebrates the essence of life in the South, covering the best in Southern food, home, garden, and travel.  Reaching more than 16 million consumers each month, Southern Living connects consumers with the region’s rich culture through a variety of print, digital, mobile, tablet and event platforms.  Headquartered in Birmingham, AL, the rapidly expanding Southern Living brand is part of Time Inc., one of the largest content companies in the world and the largest publisher in the United States. Time Inc. is a Time Warner company.

Oxmoor House is an imprint of Time Home Entertainment Inc., a Time Inc. company, and publishes books and special edition magazines for Time Inc. brands such as Southern Living, Cooking Light, Health, and Sunset. Oxmoor House publishing partnerships also include Weight Watchers, Gooseberry Patch, and Weber.  With more than 300 back-listed titles, it is recognized as one of the leading lifestyle publishers in the country.  Oxmoor House books are distributed to the trade by Hachette Book Group and are available wherever books are sold.  More information is available at

CHRISTMAS ALL THROUGH THE SOUTH: Joyful Memories, Timeless Moments, Enduring Traditions
By The Editors of Southern Living 
Oxmoor House
November 4, 2014
400 pages
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Southern Special 30

Happy Tuesday
Happy 30th week of the Southern Special!!

This week we add another new co-host. Sharon from Blue Willow House. Be sure to welcome her, check out her social media and of course link up to our party.

My son is home and doing much better, thank you to all who have sent messages, emails and G+ comments. Thank you all, it means a lot to be part of such a fantastic community.

My favorites from last week:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Be sure to follow your host!! Thanks so much AND link back to whichever blog you posted your link through.
Cate: Random Crafty GA Girl ~  Facebook ~ Twitter

ME:  Facebook ~   Twitter ~  Pinterest ~  G+ ~ Instagram

Trish: The Decoratoraholic ~ G+ ~ Pinterest ~ Twitter ~ Bloglovin' ~ Facebook

The Rules are simple:
 Share #recipes #crafts #DIY projects #beauty #fitness #homedecor #landscapes, #architecture #homemade items and more! 
Link 2 -3 links from YOUR blog. Link back to one of your host on the post you shared OR on a party page. Visit others, share the party and ENJOY!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Beef Onion Butter Rice

Monday Monday...I'll refrain from singing to you. I'm sure if you've ever heard this song it is now stuck in your head.

So, I survived another weekend and have a busy week ahead of me. I spent a lot of my time this weekend working on new recipes and trying recipes from 2 different cookbooks that you'll see later this week for a review. OH MAN I'm so excited about them. I actually have 4 books I'm reading and working on recipes for but 2 you'll see this week.

Now, did the title intrigue you? Beef Onion Butter Rice, you may have seen it on Pinterest or on the web as Butter Rice or the best rice ever.

They are not kidding, this rice is so good. NOW let me say up front, it is NOT clean and not the healthiest stuff to eat but dad gum it's good and for a treat, potluck, church dinner or party it is a real crowd pleaser and so easy.

Here is what you do:

Beef Onion Butter Rice
1 can beef consomme
1 can french onion soup
2 cans water
1 stick butter, sliced
1 1/2 cup rice
1 cup shredded chicken (my addition)

In a 13 x 9 pan pour all ingredients except butter. Slice it and add to the top. Bake for 30 minutes with foil over the top. Then remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes. Do this at 350 degrees.
Serve with fresh veggies and a salad.

This rice is addictive, so good I could have eaten two or three servings. So if you are compelled to over eat, make sure you have a lot of folks around to eat this or you'll end up sick from eating the entire pan.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fabulous Friday - a week in review

Happy Friday y'all. I'm going to share some meals from this week with you. Not really my norm but things haven't been normal this week.

My son is home, thank you all for your prayers, comments and emails. He is improving.

Our meals have been sort of scattered, unpredictable and totally not planned out. This is NOT the way things work around my house but sometimes you have to go with the flow of things. 

A note to myself, when life gets stressful, try to eat the best you can and DO NOT stress over it. Sometimes the best meals are the simplest ones.

Breakfast has been mostly Greek yogurt with fruit, whipped lemon honey, granola and WOWbutter. I did break down one morning and have a toasted bagel.

Lunch has been salads, sandwiches and soup. This was tuna with lettuce, tomatoes, salad peppers on multi grain bread and grapes.

Supper has been tacos, Zaxby's (yes I ate fast food) , chicken and lots of veggies. Below you see last nights chicken covered in Cajun seasoning, sauteed with steamed asparagus and leftover cornbread. 
Go simple, make it easy and delicious.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Southern Special 29

It has been a long week and very stressful. My son is in the hospital and has been in ICU. He has been moved to a step down unit.
I apologize for not getting you a great recipe or fantastic post and that I did not visit our wonderful links from last week. I will try, try to do better this week.

BUT here is our party! I don't want to disappoint y'all, so let's PARTY!!

Be sure to follow your host!! Thanks so much AND link back to whichever blog you posted your link through.
Cate: Random Crafty GA Girl ~  Facebook ~ Twitter

ME:  Facebook ~   Twitter ~  Pinterest ~  G+ ~ Instagram

Trish: The Decoratoraholic ~ G+ ~ Pinterest ~ Twitter ~ Bloglovin' ~ Facebook

The Rules are simple:
 Share #recipes #crafts #DIY projects #beauty #fitness #homedecor #landscapes, #architecture #homemade items and more! 
Link 2 -3 links from YOUR blog. Link back to one of your host on the post you shared OR on a party page. Visit others, share the party and ENJOY!!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fly On The Wall - Oct 2014

It's that time again, yep, Fly On The Wall. The time when a group of bloggers share the daily tid bits, funny stories and photos of our daily lives. Be sure to check out the other post. You'll find the list at the bottom.

I'm sharing tid bits of laughter from my recent trip home. I was there for a month. I enjoyed food, fun, day trips, my Little Miss Sassy Pants, family, friends, shopping and more! Oh yeah and my 30th year class reunion...gosh that makes me feel old.

Shopping with my mom, crazy HIGH heel shoes, I click a few pics, just because. I hear "Dawn, how about these?" And turn to see my mom holding these crazy red shoes. I cracked up, "you want them?" Ugh no I'd break my neck. hahaha

Home from our weekly Wally World trip, I hear something and go in the kitchen, there's my mom with the meat drawer.
Me: what's wrong
Mom: eww the bacon drained in the drawer and left a puddle. All I could think was later I'm gonna smell nasty smoky water and wonder where the dead animal is.
Me: laughing, WELL mom, the dead animal is IN the "meat" drawer
Mom: ugh you know what I mean
On our weekly trip to Wally World I saw these items, would you buy and eat them? The maple bacon is one my husband would love, the autumn velvet was pretty but WAY too many ingredients that I can't pronounce. I prefer to bake from scratch.

EARLY on Monday mornings my son drops off Little Miss Sassy Pants, I mean 4:30 a.m. On the first Monday I was at my moms I hear them coming in the door. She's talking. Then he leaves so I'm guessing she's gone back to sleep. YAY cause I'm not a morning person.
7:20ish I hear her little feet coming down the hall and she is chatting up a storm.
I come out of the bedroom and she says:
LMSP: Gramma can cook whatever she wants cause I'm hungry and we're ALL gonna eat Pancakes YAY Pancakes with syrup!
Me: You want pancakes?
LMSP: YES with syrup, you want some too you can eat some Gramma cook some for all of us hurry I'm hungry (all in one breath)
My mom: she woke up asking if you were here
Me: yeah she was awake when her daddy dropped her off I heard her talking
LMSP: giggling - I was fake sleeping Gramma, more giggling

Have you seen these? ummm I'm think NO! These are not photo shopped, I looked around online, they are for real. Released as holiday specials in 2012.
Okay, I'll admit it, I might would try the cinnamon sugar and if the white chocolate didn't have peppermint I might would try those as well. Just because I'm a curious person.

OMGosh I'm laughing so hard, as I type this I am listening to LMSP and my mom. ROTFL
LMSP: Gramma whatcha doing?
My mom: getting dressed
LMSP: why do you have your back to me, turn around Gramma
My mom: I will. Let me get dressed.
LMSP: ugh...deep breath "GRAMMA turn around, I've seen your boobs before!"
OMG I'm dying in here!
LMSP: I've seen my mommy's boobs and my other grandma's boobs and your's too. GOSH
Oh lawd, my side hurts I'm laughing so hard.

I brought lots of clothes with me to NC for LMSP. I gave them to her one morning and I was all excited. She just sat there. No expression, nothing. THEN I came to the play shoes and she got all happy, jumping around, grabbed them and took off. Now I know the way to her heart, a true girl, pink shoes and heels at that.

Are you ready for Halloween? We don't celebrate but love some of the decorations and creative ideas I'm seeing:

My class reunion...well it's been 30 years since I've seen most of them. I would have walked right by. Balding, pot belly men or gray hair. You're who? OH jaw drops...well they look at me and go WHO? Right. I was 5'2" tall then and 100 lbs. We won't even go there.
LOTS of alcohol was consumed, some serious drunk dancing, my classmates were pure entertainment! No photos, I have to protect the innocent. 
Do you agree or disagree?

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:                          Baking In A Tornado                                  The Rowdy Baker                                Just A Little Nutty                                          The Momisodes                          Spatulas on Parade                                   The Sadder But Wiser Girl                          Follow me home                 Stacy Sews and Schools                          Menopausal Mother                             Battered Hope                         Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                 Someone Else’s Genius               Crumpets and Bollocks
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Southern Special 28

Hi everyone and welcome to another week of The Southern Special. I hope to be more active this week, last week I was packing, driving, unpacking, shopping,etc... and the week just totally got away from me.
I have had some spare time to browse through last weeks links and am so excited at what I saw! Now to try and pick a few favorites... dang y'all make it hard on me.
OH but be sure to visit the other host, as we all pick our own favorites, you might be featured on Cate or Trish's page.

TOP VIEWED LINK from week 27

Be sure to follow your host!! Thanks so much AND link back to whichever blog you posted your link through.
Cate: Random Crafty GA Girl ~  Facebook ~ Twitter

ME:  Facebook ~   Twitter ~  Pinterest ~  G+ ~ Instagram

Trish: The Decoratoraholic ~ G+ ~ Pinterest ~ Twitter ~ Bloglovin' ~ Facebook

The Rules are simple:
 Share #recipes #crafts #DIY projects #beauty #fitness #homedecor #landscapes, #architecture #homemade items and more! 
Link 2 -3 links from YOUR blog. Link back to one of your host on the post you shared OR on a party page. Visit others, share the party and ENJOY!!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chipotle Honey Chicken plus October 2014 Use Your Words:Pearl and William Installment 9

Hey y'all, if you are a regular reader you may think I feel off the earth. I haven't been online this week due to the fact I was spending my last few days in North Carolina with family and friends, then driving 9 hours and trying to unload the truck and unpack. Upon arrival life went back to normal, running errands for his cousin and his aunt. Cleaning the house, I left 2 guys home alone for a month, yeah you can imagine. I desperately need to go to the store but that will happen later today. First I need to write a menu and shopping list but that will happen AFTER I get this post written.

Today is... Use Your Words and another installment of Pearl and William. After I give you this delicious chicken recipe. Seriously good and not difficult. You can adjust the heat in it.

Your words are: 
Venue ~ forum ~ event ~ celebration ~ tragedy ~ ending
They were submitted by:     

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Chipotle Honey Chicken
3 large chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/3 cup apricot preserves
2 TBSP honey
1 TBSP chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Chop or dice the chicken, rub with the chili and cumin powders. Saute in olive oil. Prior to starting this you might want to put your rice on to cook as it will take longer than the chicken, you don't have to serve it over rice that is up to you. While the chicken is sauteing, mix the apricot, honey and chipotle in a small bowl. I put mine in the mini food processor to blend it well. Once the chicken was done I poured the sauce over the chicken and allowed it to simmer and reduce down. This was served over long grain and wild rice as well as a salad.
Simple, quick and delicious, you can add more peppers if you like to amp up the heat. I used 2 peppers and that was plenty for me.

** Previous installments:
Installment 1 :a love story
Use Your Words: Installment 9 of Pearl and William

With Cousin Sarah's memory back after the horrible tragedy and turn of events that led to her memory loss, Pearl was hoping to find a venue or forum to hold the perfect event, her wedding to William. (she shook her head at these strange words in the wedding planner. Sarah meant well giving her the book, but an Englischer wedding planner??) What a celebration she had hoped for, Cousin Sarah standing by her side, marrying the perfect mate that God had provided and having a happy ending. Alas, it did not look like this would be.

Oh there will be a wedding and a glorious one, but the ending did not look happy for Abe and Sarah. Cousin Sarah is just so ferhoodled and ashamed of her actions while not knowing who she was or what she was doing, plus Abe was having such a hard time forgiving her of her actions. She had defiled their marriage bed by being a harlot, he was ashamed to go into town and mad as a hatter when she accompanied him because men would smile at her in that knowing way.

Having to sit on watch with Sarah was taking it's toll as well. The town doc was concerned she might kill herself and they would loose her all over again.
Oh God, Pearl prayed, would it have been better if she had of died? What if we never found her and went on with our lives. The children had adjusted to not having her, now her being back and withdrawn was taking it's toll...sighing she got up from her journal and walked to the window.

Things looked so different now than a year ago. Then she caught sight of William over by the barn and smiled. What a blessing he is, such a handsome man, loving, kind and so good with the children. She blushed because she was thinking of having more children and well...that brought thoughts she did not need to concern herself with now. She was still an unmarried woman. Standing straight and brushing off her apron she decided to set about her morning routine. Mama would chide her for standing around.

There are many preparations to set about this week, the wedding is only two weeks away! Oh she was giddy, she must not appear too happy but how could she help herself?

Abe had spoken to William and thought it would be best for he and Pearl to take the children for Abe still was not sure what to do with Sarah and she was so disconnected and withdrawn. They would all live on the farm together but Abe and Sarah would move into the Dawdi house leaving William, Pearl and the children in the main house. A blessing and upsetting turn of events all at once.
Pearl's family or at least part of them would be traveling to Ohio, not the original plan but it was best for the children and all that had gone on. A celebration was about to happen and she prayed, oh how she prayed, that nothing else would happen to ruin her day. Then she prayed for forgiveness for being so selfish and set about kneading the dough for the days bread as the sun rose and the beams filled the kitchen with light.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Southern Special 27

Another week has flown by and I am on my last day in NC...I leave first thing in the morning for GA. Not real happy about it but I guess it's time to go. Back to life, cooking and my kitties who I have missed.

If you are new, welcome, if you are a faithful reader or linking blogger: welcome back and thank you!

This week we have a guest co-host, Nancy from Neatly Packaged will be joining us the FIRST Tuesday of each month. I'm so excited for her to be with us! She is such a sweetie!
Bio: My name is Nancy and I am a lifestyle blogger here at :) I am newly engaged, a BlackBerry user, and Nook lover ♥ I am always trying to document all the excellent moments in this new chapter of my life. I currently reside in Texas. 

Now, the hard part, picking just 2 or 3 links from last week that are my favorite...y'all make it so difficult to pick just a few.

Be sure to follow your host!! Thanks so much AND link back to whichever blog you posted your link through.
Cate: Random Crafty GA Girl ~  Facebook ~ Twitter

ME:  Facebook ~   Twitter ~  Pinterest ~  G+ ~ Instagram

Trish: The Decoratoraholic ~ G+ ~ Pinterest ~ Twitter ~ Bloglovin' ~ Facebook

The Rules are simple:
 Share #recipes #crafts #DIY projects #beauty #fitness #homedecor #landscapes, #architecture #homemade items and more! 
Link 2 -3 links from YOUR blog. Link back to one of your host on the post you shared OR on a party page. Visit others, share the party and ENJOY!!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic