Monday, August 29, 2011

Dairy-free Homemade Bread Muffins

Some symptoms of lactose intolerance can include abdominal pain, bloating and other associated discomforts to the digestive system. (I stay away from dairy products for that reason.)

It doesn't mean we must sacrifice all the things we love to eat, however, just because they usually contain dairy products -- like homemade bread, for example.

There is something about the aroma and taste of fresh homemade bread muffins in the morning for breakfast that refreshes the soul. The hot steamy middle just begs to become slathered with our favorite jam or jelly, (or butter for those of us who aren't lactose intolerant).

This recipe was handed down to me several years ago by a dear friend and co-restauranteur, Ms. Marry Richard, who is now retired in blissful peace near the Gulf of Mexico in south Louisiana.

I baked a couple dozen of her bread muffins yesterday for a handful of visiting friends. I started serving around 2 P.M and by four they were all gone. Zilch. zero, nada -- not even one left over. That is inviting news to a cook.

Today, I'm going to share this easy to make bread recipe... and you don't even have to be intolerant to enjoy these delicious muffins.


4 cups self-rising flour
2 cups warm water
1 packet yeast
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 egg, well-beaten
1 Tbsp. sugar


  1. lightly coat the inside of your muffin pan with oil (I used bacon drippings which added more flavor to the bread muffins)
  2. in a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of warm water and stir-in 1 packet of yeast
  3. add the oil and beaten eggs and mix well
  4. while stirring, slowly mix in the 4 cups of sifted self-rising flour and blend together thoroughly
  5. place the mixing bowl and prepared dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour
  6. remove from refrigerator and spoon the bread dough into the muffin tins (about 3/4 way up)
  7. cook on high heat (450 degrees F.) for about 12 - 14 minutes or until the tops of the muffins begin to turn slightly brown
  8. allow to cool down for a couple minutes then pop 'em out and serve.
Note: You might want to hide a couple of these muffins for your personal consumption before they disappear.


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Eating Cheap in Hard Times | 10 Delicious Low-cost Cajun Meals

Listed below are 10 gourmet-style Cajun recipes that can be prepared on the cheap during hard times without sacrificing flavor, taste and the piggy bank.

Long grain rice, dried beans, inexpensive meats, (hamburger, chicken, bacon), potatoes, onions, bell peppers, celery, butter, eggs, and a few basic spices make-up the majority of ingredients in these ten simple recipes.

During hard times, we must often cut back on some of the more expensive foods which we like, and have grown accustomed to, during the good times.

This is especially true if our recipes call for special meats (seafood, prime cuts of pork and beef, etc.), and exotic add-ins. But, it does not mean that we have to sacrifice flavor and taste when cooking gourmet-quality low-cost meals.

Spices are the first things which come to mind. Since I grow most of my own herbs indoors or outside on the patio, I have a constant stock on hand and that saves me money. When I must get spices from the store, I will usually wait until I see them on sale before I buy.

Most of the time, however, spices purchased from the grocer will cost, on average, about $3 to $5 for a small container of the dried stuff (at today's prices). Growing your own herbs makes a lot of sense (and cents). Fresh herbs will intensify the already delicious taste of these meals.

As you consider these KT (kitchen tested) recipes, you will notice that the costs to prepare these foods are relatively low, but the quality is deliciously high. Bon appetite!

10 Low-cost Cajun Meals

Breakfast Fried Rice (video)
Add cooked white rice, stir fry until hot. Stir cooked onion and bacon mixture back into the rice. Push the rice, bacon, and onion to the outside of the pan. Pour beaten eggs into the middle of the pan. ...
Chicken Gumbo (a good winter meal)
Ingredients | 1 cup all-purpose flour; 1 cup cooking oil; 1 (4 to 5) lb. chicken, cut into pieces; 1 cups onion, chopped; 1/2 cup celery, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced; 1/2 cup green onions, chopped; 1/4 cup parsley, chopped; Water ...
 Cajun Rice Dressing (a/k/a Dirty Rice)
Brown ground meat. Add onions, bell pepper and celery. Cook until tender. Add ½ cup water, onion soup mix and seasonings. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add mixture and green onion tops to cooked rice. Stir and mix well. ... 
 Red Beans and Rice 
Ingredients | 1 lb. dry red kidney beans (large or small); 2 medium onions, chopped; 6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped; 3 ribs celery, chopped; 1 cup chopped bell pepper; 2 tsp Colgin liquid smoke ... 
 Hamburger, Cheese and Potato Casserole (video)
This meal is a kid-pleaser without a doubt. Not only very tasty, it is simple to prepare.
Ingredients|1 large green bell pepper, chopped, 3 stalks celery, chopped, 2 large onions, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 cup green onion, chopped, 2 Tbsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp red pepper, 1/2 cup oil, 2 cups long grain white rice...
 Chicken Stew
Ingredients |1 four to five pound hen cut into pieces (never use fryer); 1/2 cup oil; 1/2 cup all-purpose four; 2 cups onions, chopped; 1/2 cup celery, chopped; 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, chopped; 2 cups water
 Crock Pot Beef Stew
Ingredients 2 lbs. beef stew meat 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 Tbs butter 1 can beef broth (10.5 oz.) 1 can cream of mushroom soup (10.5 oz.) 1 cup onions, chopped 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped 1/2 cup celery, chopped ... 
Cajun Hobo Dinner 
The reason I called this meal a Cajun Hobo Dinner is because I added the vegetable 'trinity' to the meal, i.e., onions, bell pepper and celery, as well as the other vegetables and seasonings outlined in the list below.  
 Combo Salmon-Tuna-Potato Patties
This is a simple combo meal you can whip-up in just a few minutes. I use a combination of two kinds of canned fish and a couple boiled potatoes to make these yummy ...

    Look around our site, you will find several more recipes for low-cost meals which may help to get you through rough times. Bon Appetit! 

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    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    St. Florian's Fire--Stewed Pears and Habenero Pepper Preserves

    St. Florian is the patron saint of putting out fires. He organized firefighting brigades for that purpose around (250 - 304 C.E.), in Rome, where he was later killed for his Christian beliefs...learn more

    Creating this dessert is my way of remembering the good saint.The heavenly taste of the slowly-cooked sweet cinnamony-flavored pears is gently overshadowed by the subtle flavor of the habanero peppers. The after-taste is unique and almost indescribable, but pleasantly memorable. I call it Sweet Fire.

    If you like sweet, but not too sweet; and hot -- but not too hot, you may want to try this recipe out for size -- especially if you've got a lot of extra pears on hand, and you want to do something different. It makes a great topping on hot sourdough bread, or over Cajun-fried ice-cream.

    • 1 1/2 dozen pears, peeled and cut-up
    • 2 mature habanero peppers, seeds removed and cut into tiny pieces
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
    • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
    • pinch of salt


      1. bake the pears in your oven at 350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes and allow to cool before peeling
      2. once peeled, slice or cut small chunks of the pears to the core, discard core and seeds
      3. remove the seeds and chop the habanero peppers into very small pieces
      4. add everything together in a stew pot and mix well
      5. cook on medium heat for 2 hours or more, stirring occasionally, until pears have softened
      6. store the preserves in a glass vessel and refrigerate

      Note: Wearing gloves when handling habanero peppers to protect your hands is a good idea. Do not rub your eyes and thoroughly wash your hands with soapy water immediately after handling the peppers if gloves or not used.

      The reason for chopping the peppers into very small pieces is to evenly spread the heat throughout the preserves.

      I hope you enjoy this dessert. Spread the word about it and please support your local firefighters in any way that you can. Bon Appetite!

      Announcement: I am under a little 'pear pressure' to come up with a Cajun joke concerning (you named it) -- pears. I don't know any, so I need some help.

      If you have a joke or humorous anecdote that you would like to share, concerning pears, please submit it in the comment section below. Keep it clean, okay? The best one will be published with proper credit given.

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