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    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Molasses Slow Cooked Beans (Crock Pot) [RECIPE]

    This is my variation of a family recipe that is always a hit.  These beans can be eaten cold, but they are fabulous warm/hot.  And if you let them sit a day, they’re even better as leftovers! The flavors really get a chance to meld if they sit a day or two before serving. I'm still working on the converting the recipe from using canned beans to re-hydrating dried beans, but this version is nice & simple...and works like a charm! I made this recipe (using the canned beans) for my Civil War Event last weekend and they were a huge hit. Hope you give it a try! – Becky/MarcailGaelyn

    Pot of Molasses Beans made 6/30/2011

    Molasses Slow Cooked Beans (Crock Pot)



    1 lb of Bacon (cooked crispy & broken into chunks/pieces)

    ¼ C. Ham, diced

    1 Yellow Onion, chopped/diced

    4  (15oz) cans of Beans, rinsed & drained

      Ex.: 1 can of each of the following: Red Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Small White Beans, & Great Northern Beans

    ½ C. Molasses

    ½ C. Ketchup

    1 Tsp Mustard (my personal preference is Maille brand, “Original, Hot” which is imported from France.)

    Dash of Worcester Sauce

    Salt & Pepper to Taste. (For Black Pepper Allergies, substitute White Pepper instead.)


    1.      Brown/Cook to the crispy stage your bacon. [I prefer the oven (see below for oven method).] Once the bacon is cool enough to touch, crumble the bacon into chunks & small pieces and set aside. Reserve some of the bacon grease for cooking the onion (next step).

    a.       Oven Method for Cooking Bacon:

                                                                  i.      lay your bacon in a single layer on a foil-covered -& lined with parchment paper- sheet pan

                                                                ii.      cook for 20-30 minutes (or until done) in a 425 Degree oven. Be sure to check on it so it doesn’t burn!

                                                              iii.      Remove pieces from the fat to drain while it cools.

    2.      After dicing up the onion, sauté it in some bacon grease (just enough to lubricate the pan, not enough to deep fry the onions!) until the onions become translucent and begin to brown on the edges.

    3.      Rinse & drain the beans, then add to the crock pot.

    4.      Add in the Bacon, Ham, Onion, Molasses, Ketchup, Mustard, Worcester Sauce, Salt & Pepper and mix thoroughly.

    5.      Cover with lid, turn on the Slow Cooker to LOW and let it cook for 6 hours to 10 hours. (I often have these cooking for 10 hours while I’m gone for work on a work day.)


    Wednesday, November 06, 2013

    Molasses Baked Beans...were a disaster. (Still learning how to use re-hydrated beans.)

    So I was all excited about an 'easy' family recipe for Molasses Slow Cooked/Baked Beans that I was going to make in advance for the weekend (and bring to my Civil War event). The beans always turn out well and I even like them cold.

    This time I decided *instead of using canned beans* (what I grew up using & my recipe assumes), I'd try making this batch from scratch using re-hydrated dried beans. Something different, and a challenge for me (as I haven't had much practice cooking using re-hydrated dried beans. It's something I should get more comfortable using, so I need to make recipes using them to "practice".)

    So Monday night I got out a mix of dried beans that seamed like they'd be good together, measured them out (I measured out too much, first mistake!), and set them to soak overnight. In the morning I drained & rinsed, then set them to soak some more while I was at work.

    Tuesday I cooked up my bacon (in the oven - I like it crisp) and drained the soaking beans & put them in a resealable bag for the fridge. Wednesday morning I assembled all my ingredients (trying to estimate how much more on the sauce ingredients because I had re-hydrated a tad too many beans) and set the mixture in my crock-pot on low and left for work.

    Big Mistake.

    I didn't adjust enough for the uncooked re-hydrated beans. I forgot that on my last recipe using re-hydrated beans I had to boil them first before slow cooking, so I didn't do that this time. Nor did I put any of the reserved liquid into the crock pot (to add extra liquid to compensate for the re-hydrated beans) for while I was gone all day. They were dry and not done.


    Plus I used Great Northern Beans (which I hadn't used before) and I think they have a different cooking time than the other beans - black, red, pink, & small white beans. (Nothing against the Northern Beans, just a factor I didn't take into consideration.)

    I tried added more liquid (water plus more of the sauce ingredients - molasses, ketchup, Worcester sauce, mustard, & salt/pepper) and let it cook an hour or 2 on high last night so it was bubbling. Then back to low for overnight....they're better, but I still get a few beans not quite done...and I've got a bit of a bitter taste. Boo!

    Realistically - I think I need to toss this pot of beans and start over. I don't think I can 'pull out' the bitter taste.

    To say I'm disappointed (in the beans but mainly in myself for forgetting key steps after I did all that work) is an understatement.

    I think if I had taken the time to boil the rehydrated beans before mixing it recipe up & setting it to slow cook (and used the reserved liquid from the boiling process), my beans would have turned out. Live & Learn. :)

    At least my test batch of gluten-free pancakes this morning (testing out a mix I picked up, that I want to bring to the event this weekend) came out beautifully. One small good thing in a disappointing morning.

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Ginger-Garlic Glazed Mahi Mahi with Warmed Tomato Garnish [Recipe]

    I tried out this recipe last night...and LOVED it. And since I've already started getting requests for the recipe posted as comments on my pictures, I've written up my version of it. :) I will *definitely* make this dish again in the future!


    Ginger Garlic Glazed Mahi Mahi (pan fried), on a bed of Spinach with Quinoa & Brown Rice (and a garnish of warmed heirloom Tomtatos). 10-30-2013

    Ginger-Garlic Glazed Mahi Mahi

    with Warmed Tomato Garnish

    Notes:     1) this glaze can be used for a variety of meats, not just Mahi Mahi.
                    2) Ginger-Garlic Glaze is a recipe adapted from, which in turn adapted it from )


    3 Tbl Honey
    3 Tbl Soy Sauce (Note from if doing GF version, make sure it is gluten free soy sauce. Or if avoiding Soy, substitute a mix of molasses with more balsamic vinegar for a similar flavor.)
    3 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
    1+ Tsp grated fresh ginger root
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 Tbl olive oil
    Sea Salt, fresh ground (to taste)
    Pepper, fresh ground (to taste)

    4 (6-ounce) Mahi Mahi filets (Less is OK. You just end up with extra sauce/glaze)
    1+ Tbl olive oil
    6-8 Baby Heirloom Tomatoes (or more, depending on taste)

    1. In a bowl, mix the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar  ginger, garlic, & 2 Tbl olive oil. Transfer to ziplock bag.
    2.  Season fish fillets with sea salt & fresh ground pepper, and then place them in the bag with the mixture, being sure to cover the fish in the mixture, and then seal the bag (squeezing out any excess air)
    3.  Refrigerate fish while it marinates (at least 20 minutes.)
    4. Heat 1+ Tbl Olive Oil in large skillet over medium (to medium high) heat.
    5. Remove fish from the marinade & add to the pan when oil is hot (reserving marinade for sauce).
    6. Fry fish for 4-6 minutes on each side, preferably turning only once, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
    7. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm
    8.  Pour reserved marinade into the skillet and heat over medium (or medium-low) heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistency. It will take a few minutes.
    9. While reducing the sauce, chop baby tomatoes into bits then warm on a small non-stick skillet. (You may wish to add a dash of olive oil to the skillet depending on your pan.) Cook enough to just warm through the tomatoes.
    10. Spoon the glaze over the fish (and spinach if you are serving on a bed of spinach).
    11. Add the warmed tomatoes as a garnish.

    Serve With Suggestions: Serve on a bed of sauteed/cooked spinach (with a bit of glaze drizzled on the spinach), and a small side of brown rice. (I like serving it with a bit of Seeds of Change’s (brand) “Quinoa and Brown Rice, Garlic Flavored”.)

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    Savory Baked Acorn Squash (no sugar!) Recipe

    Savory Baked Acorn Squash (no sugar!)

    On a recent grocery shopping trip I bought an acorn squash, but after I got home I started to think: "Now what am I going to do with this? I don't want to cook it with brown sugar/maple syrup and make it uber-sweet. I want something savory!" It sat for a while in my pantry while I tried to come up with how to prepare it. My previous internet searches only pulled up recipes for the sugary version of this dish (boo!), so last night I finally just decided to try making this similar to how I prepare another squash (Spaghetti Squash) with the basic salt/pepper/butter mix (for Spaghetti Squash I add in parmesan cheese!) and see how the Acorn Squash fared.

    Once I got to the seasoning stage in my cooking experiment, I decided to try 2 different seasonings - I had 2 different halves after all! 
    Baked Acorn Squash (Savory, no Sugar) 10-27-2013

    On the one on the Left (picture above) I added a couple pinches of dried Thyme sprinkled over the cut half. On the other (Right squash half shown in above picture) I added in a sprinkling of Garlic POWDER. (I already had salt on it so no need to use garlic salt as that would over-salt it). Recipe is written up below.

    I tried the Thyme flavored half last night and I really liked it! Today for lunch I ate the Garlic flavored one today...and it was another winner. (I do like Garlic after all! Next time I might try mincing up some fresh garlic to sprinkle/spread on one. :).



    Recipe is sized for a 2 person serving (one half squash per person)...
    ...or 1 person plus leftovers for a future meal. ;-)

    Prep Time: approx 10-15 minutes (or as long as it takes for your oven to preheat)
    Cook Time: approx. 40-60 minutes

    1 Acorn Squash
    1+ cup water
    2+/- Tbl Salted Butter
    Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)
    Kosher Salt (to Taste) - I prefer to use Kosher Salt as its easier to not over-salt things. :) Plus I like the tactile feel of it.

    & one of the following Seasonings:
        - Thyme (dried) - about 2 pinches
        - Garlic Powder - sprinkle to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    2. Half the Squash (being careful to not cut yourself!) & remove the seeds/insides with a spoon.
    3. Using a knife, score the flesh around the cut side of the squash (& also poke a few holes into the backside - the outer skin).
    4. Place the squash cut side down in baking dish with about a cup of water.
    5. Microwave for about 5-6 minutes. When oven is heated, move dish to Oven (covering dish with foil) and cook for approx 20 minutes or until starting to get tender.
    6. Flip squash over so that the cut side is up and place about 1 Tbl of salted butter into each half (in the well).
    7. Rub a bit of the butter (as it starts to melt) onto the scored edges, just enough to lightly coat it.
    8. Grind fresh pepper (to taste) onto the cut squash, then sprinkle kosher salt onto the squash (also to taste).
    9. I added a few pinches of dried thyme (sprinkled) to the Squash on the Left; for the squash on the right I sprinkled some garlic powder.
    10. Return the dish to the oven for another 20-30 minutes (occasionally basting with the melted butter in the well).
    11. Remove from oven when the cut edges are starting to brown and its easy to pierce the flesh of the squash with a fork.
    12. Let sit (rest) a few minutes to cool before serving.

    To serve, I cut just inside the rind/skin with a butter knife (as the flesh is now nice & soft) and score it a few times before serving it whole. Using your fork/spoon, dip pieces of the cut flesh into melted butter and Enjoy!

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    George the Cat - Needs a New Home (ASAP)

    A bit over a week ago I got a surprise call from a friend who urgently needed someone to foster (& hopefully eventually adopt) a stray cat that she no longer could adopt herself. George the cat was being picked up from the Vet that afternoon (a Saturday) and couldn't go home with her. While George was fairly healthy (finished with round 2 of the fleas/mites treatment, 1 more to go), and has been neutered, he DOES have the equivalent to "kitty AIDs".  Unfortunately, while he's perfectly fine to be around humans (and I believe dogs), he cannot be around other cats as he would transmit the disease to them. (He's basically a carrier/transmitter and also has a compromised immune system so would get sick from other sick pets.) Thus, he could not be released back into "the Wild" (of East LA) or adopted by my friend (who already had a grown cat).

    So since she couldn't find anyone else in the short time frame (literally hours) before she had to pick George up from the vet and she didn't want to Euthanize him, I agreed to temporarily foster him.

    Which means by that Saturday evening (5/18) I had a new (albeit temporary) Roommate!

    Everyone, meet George the Cat.

    Mostly this past week he's been locked in my bathroom, but I am happy to report that he is definitely litter box trained (only 1 non-litter box incident that first day/night but no problems since that time). He's mostly been hiding in the "cave" I made from taking out the bottom drawer of a plastic 3 drawer bin and putting his bed there instead, but I attribute a lot of that to all the changes he's had recently. I know he's definitely gotten used to the 'morning routine' I started as he now braves coming out of the cave to meow at me if he thinks I'm too slow in putting his food out for him. :) About mid last week I even started keeping the bathroom door open (while I was home) to see if he would venture out and explore, but so far he sticks to the 'comfort' of the cave in the bathroom.

    Unfortunately, I cannot adopt him permanently (various reasons) so I thought I'd advertise through my blog & other social media and see if anyone I know (or acquainted with online) would be interested in adopting a really nice (& mellow) grown cat? Anyone? He just can't be around other cats and needs to stay indoors. (And he has 1 more flea/mite treatment coming up in less than a week, but then he's done.)

    Would anyone in the Orange County/Los Angeles/San Diego area be interested in adopting him? (Soon?)
    The few supplies (litter box, couple of toys, bed, food etc. ) that I have for him would definitely go with him.

    Please message me (Twitter/Facebook etc.) for more details if you're interested.
     Twitter: @MarcailGaelyn
     Facebook: rebecca.thelin.5

    Thanks!! :)