The Back Bone’s Connected to the…Neck Bone!


Southern, poor folk food at literally its best. Jesse decided he’d handle dinner last night and I’m quite glad he did! Neck bones (just what it sounds like…from a hog) boiled with potatoes, onions, baby carrots, and a touch of butter. He also steamed some cabbage and I made a pan of biscuits. Friends, if you’ve never eaten neck bones, go find some tomorrow and you’ll be thanking me. There isn’t much meat on them, so get several (I’m talking about a pound/person), but the meat you do get is the juiciest, most tender pork I’ve ever had. And like Jesse said last night “Everybody loves vegetables when they taste like pork!” See why I married him?

To make this glorious feast, begin by rinsing your neck bones. There’s always the concern of bone dust, and you always want to rinse meat that’s been hanging out in its own blood. Toss them into a BIG pot of salted water. Add a significant amount of pepper and a couple pinches of garlic powder. Turn your selected burner to just past medium and dump your carrots in. Now give it about a quarter stick (2 Tablespoons) of butter. Cube up some potatoes and add them to the party. Let everything just get to a bubble and add an onion, cut as you see fit. Cover and let everybody mingle for about 45 minutes, turning the heat back about halfway.

I was raised by a mother who knows her biscuit business. She swears Daddy ate hockey pucks the first year they were married, but I’m not inclined to believe that. If ever someone comments on my weight, I refer them to my momma’s biscuits and gravy. But I digress…

I got my lack of measuring from her, so I apologize. We buy 25 pounds of flour at a time, cheaper and we use a lot. I dip out two not-quite-full “red Solo cups” into a mixing bowl, add enough salt to make a small layer across the top of the flour (2 teaspoons or so?) and then add enough buttermilk to form a tacky blob of dough. I then spoon them into a greased cast iron skillet and top with a pad of butter. 25 minutes at 450 or until a knife comes out of the middle clean.

I didn’t post last night because I absolutely foundered myself and was too miserably full to form a sentence, let alone an entire blog post. Mom and I are almost to The Market on Main…pretty excited!! Wish us luck on some fantastic scores!


Inspired Meal

We loved our hot dogs so much last night we decided to do our own with things here at the house. Clearly, we knew they wouldn’t be a Super Dog, but they were pretty doggone good! (See what I did there?)


A Mexican Dog on the left with refried beans, Somernites Cruise salsa, and shredded cheese. (Jesse added Mexican rice to his.) A slaw dog with homemade slaw and spicy brown mustard. I love the spicy and sweet combo! We used Johnsonville New Orleans sausages. Yummy stuff! And we added our favorite potato side dish- Outback style baked potatoes.

And now I’m off to watch America’s Got Talent with my love! Happy eating, ya’ll!

Local Business Plug

We didn’t want to cook tonight.  Period.  It happens =)

Mom was awesome and bought dinner.  There’s a local food cart that serves specialty, gourmet hot dogs.  The proprietor is a longtime friend so we love to support him (and it doesn’t hurt that the product is INCREDIBLE.)  He’s running anniversary specials this week, too.  Tonight was buy 2 Super Dogs, get a Lemon Shake-Up for free.


On the left is my Chicago Dog, the left is the Bacon Cheese Dog.  Both were out of this world.  Jesse had a Reuben Dog and a Bacon Cheese.  The Lemon Shake-Up is a hand-made lemonade that will knock your socks off!  We got a total of 7 hot dogs between 4 people, 3 shake-ups, and service with a smile for just $21.  He also has cans of pop and a large variety of chips to choose from.  His Super Dog menu is growing and there’s something for everyone.  Or you can always create your own masterpiece for your mouth.  You really can have it your way!  He also travels to festivals and large events throughout the region- so if you see Hot Dogs -N- More out and about…it’s more than worth your time to stop in.

Check him out on Facebook:


Mexican? Italian? How about Mexitalian


I came across a recipe for Taco Spaghetti on Pinterest and fell in love with it!  Find the original recipe here:

I always just use whatever we have on hand that seems delicious.  I used Black Bean & Corn Salsa, Rotel, frozen corn, rinsed and drained black beans, and cheddar cheese.  Topped with sour cream, more cheese, and leftover refried beans.  It’s a very versatile recipe and I’m sure it’ll become a favorite of yours.

Do you have any fusion dishes?

There’s Plenty of Fish in the Sea (and Our Kitchen)

I went on a family vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC a few summers ago.  I tried a lobster taco there and have had an addiction to seafood tacos ever since.  I love seafood but can rarely afford it.  Oh, woe is Appalachia,

Fish tacos were on the menu Saturday night.  It’s definitely a new favorite!!  We paired them with refried beans (from a can, Kroger brand, they’re really good!), Mexican style Rice-a-Roni, and sauteed squash and zucchini strips.

Fish Tacos

Swai fillets (or any other mild, firm fish you prefer)
Lime juice
Garlic powder
Soft tortillas
Diced tomatoes
Cole slaw (recipe to follow)
Cut the fish into thirds and season lightly then a quick squirt of lime juice.  Place that side down in a greased grill pan heated over medium heat.  Season the other side the same as the first.  Cook about 4 minutes per side or until golden on the outside and flaky.  Remove from heat and add another dash of lime juice.  Heat tortillas in grill pan for 10 seconds per side then layer fish, slaw, and tomatoes next to each other in the center and juice again.  Fold and enjoy!

Easy, Delicious Cole Slaw

One bag of slaw mix veggies
1/2 jar Marzetti slaw dressing
1/2 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
Dump everything in large bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before use.

Sauteed Squash and Zucchini

2 medium yellow squash
2 medium zucchini
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons dried Oregano
3 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Slice squash into desired size and shape- rounds, chucks, strips and place into a pre-heated medium-high pan with the olive oil.  Season and stir occasionally until tender.

This was such a delicious meal!  I’m really looking forward to the next time I make it.  Hopefully it’ll be a hit in your home, too!

Would you Like Fries with That?

Catch up night!

We did fried green tomatoes on cheeseburgers again the other night.  It’s gonna be hard this winter =(  I did some fries from a bag (time constraints) and steamed cabbage to accompany.

I’ll post my recipes tonight.

Jesse's plate.  The mustard sputtered out on me while I was trying to dress it.

Jesse’s plate. The mustard sputtered out on me while I was trying to dress it.

Steamed cabbage

Cut a head of cabbage in half and remove “core”, that hard, impossible-to-eat part.  Then cut small strips and place in kettle.  Pour about 1 cup of water in the pot and turn to high. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your preferred taste.  Stir and place lid on pot.  Stir occasionally, checking water levels.  If water boils out, add small amounts until cabbage is at desired tenderness.  I guaranteed you’ll think it’s fried.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Firm, green tomatoes

Melt half a stick of butter in skillet over medium-low heat while prepping tomatoes.  Slice about 1/4 inch thick and dredge in mixture of about 1 cup flour, generous pinch of salt, dash of pepper, and 1/4 cup sugar.  Place in pan and sprinkle a little more sugar on top.  Fry until golden brown on both sides.  Add more butter to the pan as needed.

Perfect Cheeseburger

1/2 pound of fresh ground beef per person
Large-grain salt, such as Kosher or Sea Salt
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and form your patties.  Liberally season one side of the patty with salt then pepper and place that side down in the pan.  As that side cooks, season the other side just as liberally.  Cook 5-6 minutes per side.  We prefer our burgers a little pink, so adjust times accordingly.  Place your desired cheese on top of each burger and cover with a lid for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.  Place on bun with all the delicious toppings!  (I did a green tomato and spicy brown mustard.  YUM!)

What’s your dream burger?  Your favorite burger joint?

Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart…

16 Bean Soup. Yes, 16, not the traditional 15. You get an extra bean with store brand 😉

As I mentioned in my previous entry, we have a hog in our freezer. (Slaughtered and prepared to place there, of course.) Since a bit before Christmas, we’ve been whittling away at nearly 200 pounds of pork. No complaints, here!! I browned up some fresh pork hocks with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and deglazed with some water. Then all that delicious piggy goodness got dumped into the Crock Pot with the beans, salt, plenty of water, and some chicken stock.

Note: this product is far more difficult to look (sort through for rocks and such) than just soup beans.

I turned the slow cooker to low overnight then added the included ham seasoning when I rolled out of bed. I also added more salt, some pepper, garlic powder, and a touch of Cumin. Stir well! Turn the super-hot-functioning Crock Pot to warm, shower, and head north to visit friends and get a massage. (Omg get a massage!!! I can MOVE tonight!!)

Came home and fixed cornbread to accompany. 5 heaping large spoonfuls of self-rising flour, 13 heaping spoonfuls of meal, a generous sprinkling of salt, 1 egg, abs enough buttermilk to turn into a batter. Pour into a buttered cast iron skillet, top with pads of butter, and bake 30 minutes at 450. Check for doneness like you do a cake!

I love easy dinners!! =)

What are some of your favorite Crock Pot meals??

Catsup, Ketsup, Ketchup…Nope! Catch-Up!

I’ve given up on trying to load everything from all the days missed. I’ll do tonight’s meal and try to be more consistent again. I’ve been plagued with worse migraines lately and haven’t felt like writing.


Salsa chicken; sauteed red, yellow, orange peppers, and onions with Lime Cilantro Rotel; and hominy.

Salsa chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Garlic Powder
Your favorite salsa (tonight we used Great Value Black Bean & Corn)
Olive oil

Heat pan over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add chicken and season thoroughly, since only one side can be seasoned. Cook 4-5 minutes and flip. Cook another 4-5 and cover each breast with salsa, place a lid on pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Sauteed Veggies

1 each red, orange, and yellow peppers
Olive oil
Can of Lime Cilantro Rotel
1/2 tablespoon butter
Garlic Powder
Cayenne pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat. While oil is heating, slice peppers into thin strips and onions into thin rings. Place in oil at the and time and season as you prefer with listed ingredients. Stir. After vegetables have softened some, add drained can of Rotel and stir well. Heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add butter and stir, heat until butter has melted and reduced.

The hominy is pretty straight-forward. I like a ratio of 2:1 hominy to canning liquid. Salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir occasionally and cook until very little liquid remains.

And there ya go!! I have 16 bean soup going in the Crock Pot with some of our fresh pork hocks for tomorrow. Thankful my cousin sold us a hog this winter and had it slaughtered for us. I can’t tell you how AMAZING fresh pig product is!!

Until we eat again!!

Woah! It’s been a few!

Hey ya’ll! Cari here. So sorry to have dropped the proverbial ball. I’ve been sick (and the world takes a collective gasp of shock) and, to be quite honest, I think Jesse forgot about it. Gang up on him, he can take it 😉

We’ve had some awesome meals go on during our time away from you..about half of which were photographed. I’ll try my best to catch up in the next few days.

In the meantime, enjoy your families and be thankful for the good times! Spend dinner around the table, talk, laugh…it’s time you’ll forever cherish.

A better update soon to follow. However, it’s 12:50am and I need to be snoring with my husband. G’night everybody!

From the Grill and a First Time Thing

I’ll start with today and work my way backward, go back in time in a sense.

I’ve always had a quaint obsession with Farmers’ Markets, and I dragged Jesse into the fascination with me.  We honestly had plans to sign up for a CSA this year (more info on those programs here: but ran out of funds/time.  We have a farmers’ market about 30 miles from us that is open 2 days a week during the summer.  It’s been there for several years, but I’ve literally NEVER been!  A friend of mine from high school has also spearheaded a project to start another market on Thursday evenings- complete with music and cooking demos.  Again, not been, but it’s only happened twice =)  Well, today was the day.  We got up and headed north this morning to see what kind of delectables we could snag.  And, boy, did we snag!!

  • Free-Range Whole Chicken
  • 2 bunches of collards (ohhh how I can’t wait!)
  • Block of aged cheddar, raw milk cheese
  • Block of Havarti, raw milk cheese
  • 2 big yellow squash
  • A HUGE zucchini
  • 2 gorgeous cucumbers
  • A pint of blueberries
  • A jar of Black & Blue Jam

All that for less than $50?  Yah, that’s awesome.  Plus shopping/eating local- can’t beat that!!  I’ll try to get a picture of everything before we annihilate it.  =)

Now let’s climb in the time machine and hop back about 24 hours!


Supper last night came 100% from the grill!!  Oh my WOW was it good!  Pineapple, shrimp, and scallop kabobs marinated in a Jerk/Hawaiian mixture; grilled corn on the cob; new potato skewers; brats; and grilled sweet potatoes.

The new potatoes were probably the biggest hit of the evening.  Boil whole new potatoes into they just give to a fork.  Drain and allow to air dry a bit.  Toss the potatoes in a little oil, just to coat.  Then season with Kosher/Sea salt and pepper.  I speared 3 potatoes per skewer, as they end up pretty heavy for just a tiny stick.  Transfer to grill and turn until fairly brown all over.I loved the sweet potatoes, Jesse didn’t.  But he doesn’t like sweet potatoes, so you can’t really judge by him.  Hehehe =)  We have this perfect little veggie grill basket that has served us well both times we used it.  If you don’t have such a thing, you may want to make your sliced a little longer/wider to prevent them from falling through the grates.  As long as the slices are about 1/4 inch thick, it won’t make much of a difference how big the circumference is.  After you slice your raw potato, coat in oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Grill until tender and enjoy!!

I need to try to make my Chocolate Eclair Cake tonight so I don’t go through yet another box of graham crackers before I use them.  Wish me luck!  😉