Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This Shrimp Recipe is Light and Easy.

So, there I was at the City Market in Cortez, Colorado picking up the ingredients to make an Alfredo sauce. I had already purchased pappardelle elsewhere; now I wanted to combine it with shrimp, broccoli, sugar snap peas and cover it all in Alfredo sauce. That was the plan, until I got home and decided, "I don't want Alfredo sauce, I want something different!"  Now what, was the question indeed.

I still wanted the shrimp, definitely the sugar snap peas, but broccoli and pasta just didn't seem enticing at the moment.  Digging around the fridge, I found a red bell pepper and diced it up; in the pantry I found a jar of chopped shitaki and oyster mushrooms in brine (drained that off).  Hmm, now what, I thought, perhaps a stir fry?  Rice, sigh, rice is a bore; but wait, instead of water, why not cook it in broth and soy sauce...and a new plan was finally born.

The dish I ended up with was so light and yet, packed with flavor; it was hard not to eat the entire skillet full.  It was also very, very easy to put together.  The ingredients in the skillet finished cooking up just as the rice was done; no waiting for one, while the other got cold.  I love when a plan, turns into a plan which ends up delicious!  Oh, the other ingredients I had purchased to make an Alfredo; you know I'll come up with something else eventually.

Shrimp, Vegetables Over Rice


2 Tbsp. canola oil
½ cup diced red bell peppers
1 cup chopped mixture of shitake and oyster mushrooms
½ lb. sugar snap peas
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Ingredients for the Rice:

1 cup rice (white, long grain wild, brown)
1 Tbsp. butter (or butter substitute)
1 and ¾ cups vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce



In a medium saucepan, on high heat, bring the rice, butter, broth and soy sauce to a boil.  Stir, reduce heat to low, cover, let simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat, uncover and fluff up rice; any excess moisture will evaporate.


While rice is simmering, heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat; add in bell peppers, mushrooms, snap peas, garlic powder and ginger; mix and cook for 3 minutes.  Add in shrimp, cook for 5 minutes; shrimp will begin turning pink, stir in lemon juice, cover and remove from heat.  Let mixture settle for 3 minutes; serve over rice.

Makes four servings.

Mary Cokenour

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tillamook Expands Products into the Freezer.



Located in Tillamook County, Oregon; this dairy co-op has been providing quality dairy products since its founding in the 1800s.  Cheese, butter, sour cream and yogurt can be found in any market's (large or small) dairy aisle.  Now Tillamook has jumped from merely cold products to the land of ice and snow....the freezer section.  That's right, Tillamook now has ice cream products and they are so decadently good, you won't mind the sinfulness of it at all.

Now while our local market is not carrying the Tillabars yet, it does have half gallon cartons of flavors like Banana Split, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Oregon Strawberry and so many more (Tillamook has 28 flavors)!  White Chocolate Raspberry Yum and Mountain Huckleberry are two flavors that sit in my freezer; we just can't be without them!  Usually, I find that fruit sometimes overwhelms the entire flavor of an ice cream product, but not with these.  Instead, the raspberry enhances the rich white chocolate and the huckleberry brings out the vanilla goodness.  These ice creams are not just rich, but smooth in texture; a few spoonfuls go a long way in satisfying the palate.

These ice creams are not just excellent alone, but add them to a warm dessert, such as my Glazed Donut Bread Pudding and heaven is now in your dessert bowl!

This product is made in the USA; is a high quality product and once you try any of the flavors, you'll be in ice cream love with it too.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, November 24, 2014; A Review by my Dogs.

Disclaimer: The taste testing done for this review was done by my dogs. The opinions expressed within are solely based upon how fast they ate the treats, who grabbed what toy, and the condition of said toys currently. In no way did I influence their opinions by tasting the dog treats myself. That's a big, "Oh hell no!" from me.

Phone: (855) 520-BARK (2275)


I saw so many ads about this home delivery system for dogs on Facebook; and I decided to try it out.  There are four sizes of dog; less than 10 lbs., 10-20 lbs., 20-50 lbs. and over 50 lbs.; you pick the package deal (monthly, six months, 18 months); and there are discounts for multiple dogs.  Even though I have multiple dogs, I purchased for one; let them share and see what they all think of it before I go for the gusto!

One of the most important issues of Barkbox; 10 percent of all profits goes directly to animal rescue shelters.  The more you buy, the more the company profits, the more money goes towards saving animal lives.  I most certainly agree with this!

What kind of quality are the treats and toys?  Here is a direct quote from the company "Frequently Asked Questions" guide:


Where are items made? Are they safe for my pup?

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2014 03:45PM EDT
We totally understand your concern for your pups health, we feel the same way! We have extremely high standards for all of the edible items we select for the boxes. All treats are sourced from the USA and Canada, and chews are sourced from the USA, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Rest assured, we would never send items we would not give our own very spoiled pups.

Here are our head product tester Scout's standards when testing edible items: Minimal processing; no glycerin whenever possible; wheat, gluten, soy, corn, filler-free whenever possible; organic whenever possible. We are moving toward limited, if not single, ingredient products.

Our toys, grooming products, and hygiene products are sourced from around the world and are all approved by our office dog product testers. We want everything we include in BarkBox to be high quality and safe and the thorough testing we do on our own dogs allows us to feel confident about the standard of quality of goods manufactured here or abroad.


I receive an email every time a box is shipped out, so I know when to expect it.  When I received the first box, I opened it up, arranged the items and let the dogs sniff it up.  My Australian Shepherd, Tippy, pulled the "Loopies Fish Bones Toy" out of the box and began playing with it immediately.  I was a bit worried as all the dogs usually tear open these type of toys and pull the squeaky noise maker out.  It's been two months now, and the toy is still intact!  In fact, the "Mummy Squeeky Toy" that came in the special Halloween box, is still intact too.  They love these toys!!!

 Now here is the really fun part; my dogs know the Barkbox.  Whenever I pick it up from the post office, as soon as I bring it inside the house; there is a flurry of excitement!  They're jumping up and down, trying to knock it out of my hands, so they can get to the treats and toys inside.  Of course, I portion out the treats daily; I'm not having any of them get sick by pigging out.   Each box comes with a description card of the items; reorder codes are printed if you want to special order any of the items.

Depending on the plan you purchase, full payment is made via credit card.  You can easily change your plan, and receive back a refund if you decide not to get the monthly shipments anymore.  But why would you do that!?!

I'm a good mom to my four legged children; the snacks are healthy, the toys are safe; what else could I ask for?  Try out for your furry children, and see what they think.

Mary Cokenour

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mexican Rancher's Eggs, My Way.

Rancher's Eggs, or Huevos Rancheros in Spanish, has become a common breakfast item on the menus of many Southwestern restaurants. This dish, traditionally a large, mid-morning meal on rural Mexican farms, originated in northern Mexico; bringing it over the border into the southwestern United Stated was not unexpected. The basic dish consists of fried eggs served upon lightly fried corn tortillas, topped with a tomato-chili sauce. Refried beans, Mexican-style rice, slices of avocado or guacamole are usual accompaniments, but salsa, cheese and sour cream are becoming more common in USA located restaurants.

So, what do you do when you have extra shredded potatoes, no tortillas, and don't want to run out to the local store? You make do with what you have and create Huevos Rancheros in your own style!

Huevos Rancheros Skillet


2 Tbsp. butter; divided in half
1 cup shredded potatoes
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup diced ham
2 eggs
¼ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (or Mexican mix)
¼ cup salsa (mild, medium or hot dependent on taste)
1 buttermilk biscuit
1 Tbsp.  butter, divided in half


In a 10 inch skillet, medium-high heat, melt one tablespoon butter; spread shredded potatoes inside pan and cook for 5-7 minutes; till potatoes begin to brown.  Sprinkle black pepper, salt and diced ham over potatoes.  Carefully lift potatoes, add one tablespoon butter into pan before flipping potatoes over; cook another 5-7 minutes.

In a smaller skillet, prepare eggs over easy; do not break yokes.  Carefully place eggs over browned potatoes; spread cheese all.  Turn heat off, place cover on skillet to allow cheese to melt quickly and evenly.  Slid onto plate; pour salsa over middle.

Cut buttermilk biscuit in half; lightly toast and spread a half tablespoon of butter over each.

Makes one serving.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Turkey or Chicken, This Stir Fry Works for Both.

Whenever I can find turkey tenderloins on sale, I buy up several packages which go towards turkey paprikash, tetrazzini, pasta bake, pot pie, even soup.  This time I wanted to do a little twist on the usual chicken stir fry, but with turkey instead.

Turkey Noodle Stir Fry


2 lbs. turkey tenderloin, cut into 1/4” medallions
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tsp. cornstarch
4 Tbsp. canola oil, divided in half
3 (3 oz.) packages chicken flavored Ramen noodles
4 cups water
1 (12 oz.) package frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
1 (15 oz.) can straw mushrooms, drained
½ cup Hoisin sauce




In a large bowl, combine the turkey with the five spice powder and cornstarch.  Heat two tablespoons of oil, medium-high heat, in a Wok or large skillet; brown the turkey until no longer pink; remove.


Prepare the noodles according to package directions, in the same Wok or skillet, using only four cups of water plus the mixed vegetables; drain any excess liquid, if any, when finished cooking; remove.


Heat remaining two tablespoons of oil, medium-high heat, in same Wok or skillet; pan fry the noodle/vegetable mixture, plus the straw mushrooms, for five minutes.  Add in the browned turkey plus Hoisin sauce; mix thoroughly and let cook another five minutes.
Straw Mushrooms


Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, November 10, 2014

Navajo Fry Bread Demonstration.

Recently, at the Monticello Welcome Center, a demonstration was given on the making of traditional Navajo Fry Bread. I wrote up the event for their blog and now want to share it on my own.  For the recipe I originally posted on this blog, click HERE.

One food item we always encourage visitors to try out is Navajo Fry Bread; a traditional bread made simply of salt, baking powder, water and flour; then fried on both sides to a golden deliciousness. On Friday, November 7, 2014, local Navajo Weaver and Jewelry Maker, Anita Hathale, introduced locals and visitors to the art of making Fry Bread. Using an electric skillet and a deep fryer, Anita was able to show us the dos and don’ts of preparation.

Melt shortening in skillet; or put one quart canola oil into deep fryer; temp must reach 375 degrees minimum.

Add salt and baking powder to flour.

Mix together dry ingredients.

Add warm water little by little; mix as you add.

The dough will form into a large, soft ball.

From the large ball of dough, portion out 1/2 cup smaller balls of dough.

Begin to stretch the dough using knuckles on hands.

Flatten and continue to stretch the dough using a flip-flop motion between the hands.

The 1/2 cup ball of dough becomes a 10 inch flat, round.

Yep, looks right and ready to be fried.

Now Anita shows us what happens when the melted shortening in the electric skillet could not reach that minimum 375 degrees.
Carefully place flattened dough into skillet.

Even though the oil is bubbling around the dough, it is not hot enough for frying, so the dough only absorbs the oil and does not puff up.

The result...a hard, browned Frisbee.

Monticello local, Kim Young, came in specifically to learn about this traditional Navajo food item; Anita was not one to disappoint and happily educated us all on this art.

The correct way; flattened dough goes into a 375 degree hot oil for frying.

Immediately large bubbles form in the oil, while the dough begins to puff and brown.

One side browned, a quick flip to brown the other side.

Hot fry bread...oh, so yummy!

Anita loves making fry bread!

Navajo Fry Bread

Navajo Taco

Even Monticello Welcome Center Manager, Dorothy, couldn’t resist Anita’s fry bread.

Anita’s husband, Rick Jim, waits impatiently for his lunch. Sorry Rick, but we want the good stuff too!

Again, when you’re traveling through the southeastern end of Utah, tasting Navajo Fry Bread is a must if you want to have the full Southwest experience!  Thank you Anita for putting this wonderful demonstration on for us; providing us with delicious eats, and see you next year for the 2015 season!

~ Mary Cokenour ~